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#17

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $23,550 - $29,720
Invoice: $22,020 - $27,787
MPG: 24 City / 31 Hwy
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Toyota RAV4 Review

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 ranks 17 out of 22 Affordable Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota RAV4, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 is ranked:

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 offers a smooth ride and plenty of cargo space, test drivers say, but rival SUVs offer more powerful engines that make them peppier off the line.

Reviewers say that the 2014 RAV4’s four-cylinder engine has sufficient power for daily driving, though a few say that acceleration is leisurely. Some reviewers point out that rival crossovers like the Volkswagen Tiguan offer more powerful engines. Reviewers like the standard six-speed automatic transmission for its smooth shifts. The base RAV4 gets an EPA-estimated 24/31 mpg city/highway, which is competitive with the fuel economy of other affordable compact SUVs, but not as good as class leaders like the Mazda CX-5. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the RAV4 achieves 22/29 mpg. Auto writers say the 2014 RAV4 has composed handling and a comfortable, balanced ride, but that other compact SUVs like the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape are sportier behind the wheel. The RAV4 comes standard with eight air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag, which isn’t available in some rivals.

Most auto writers agree that the Toyota RAV4's interior is stylish and modern and one notes that a reinforced windshield keeps the cabin quiet. Some test drivers say that the use of hard plastics in the cabin detracts from the design. It's easy for drivers to find a comfy position and the rear seats offer plenty of room for tall adults, test drivers report. Cargo space is excellent for the class and reviewers say the optional power liftgate is very convenient, as it can be programmed to open to a specific height. There’s a bevy of standard features, reviewers say, including a six-speaker stereo with a touch-screen display, a backup camera, Bluetooth and a USB port. Optional upgrades include dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, navigation, a premium audio system, a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring and lane departure alert.

  • “Another area important to consumers is fuel economy, and while not bad, the RAV4's EPA numbers are bested by competitors such as the Mazda CX-5 and all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester. Likewise, the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape offer a more dynamic driving experience, while the Subaru Forester and VW Tiguan offer more powerful turbocharged engines." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “The latest version of the RAV4 - that's short for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel-drive - isn't the most stylish or exciting CUV around, but it does provide the space, comfort and efficiency that buyers prize." -- Left Lane News
  • "Acceleration is just average as we merge back onto the Loop 101 freeway, but in most other respects, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 has made the trip convenient, comfortable and enjoyable. This supreme ease of use is exactly what's drawing everyone to compact crossover SUVs in the first place and that's what this RAV4 was designed to do." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "As ever, its on-road ride and handling are competent but not sporty, the powertrain is smooth and efficient and the price is reasonable." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "Toyota has made transformative changes to the RAV4. In both style and substance, the company's smallest crossover has gone from stodgy to sporty. The new RAV4 is finally fun to drive and has become one of the best-looking vehicles in the class." -- Popular Mechanics (2013) 

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Other SUVs to Consider

Reviewers say the Mazda CX-5 is thrilling to drive, has a spacious cabin and a decent amount of cargo space. It also gets excellent fuel economy. Push-button start is standard on the CX-5, but optional on the RAV4. 

The Buick Encore receives high praise from reviewers for its upscale interior, and like the RAV4, it comes with numerous standard features, including a backup camera. The Encore also gets good fuel economy for the class.

Compare the RAV4, CX-5 and Encore »

Details: 2014 Toyota RAV4

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 seats five and has standard front-wheel drive. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The RAV4 comes in three trims: LE, XLE and Limited. The Toyota RAV4 was completely redesigned for the 2013 model year and sees few changes this year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 and 2014 model years.

See the full 2014 Toyota RAV4 specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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