2008 Toyota RAV4 Review
This review was written when the 2008 Toyota RAV4 was new.
The RAV4's high ranking is based on its delivery of one of the best combinations of power, performance and interior comfort in its class. Compared to the class-leading Honda CR-V, it is generally considered to have a more attractive exterior appearance. Its few shortcomings, however, include an awkward cargo door and a higher-than-average base price.
The 2008 Toyota RAV4 gets kudos from the auto press for its staying power. More than 10 years after it was first introduced, the compact SUV that started the class still maintains a strong reputation for reliability, safety and interior comfort. Reviewers appreciate the RAV4's ability to evolve, especially with the introduction of a V6 engine and a third-row seating option. The RAV4 beat out several other compact SUVs, including close competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, in a rough terrain comparison test by Car and Driver. In addition, Car and Driver selected it as one of its 5Best Trucks for 2007 and even recommends it to older drivers in a feature on "Rides for the Retirement Set." IntelliChoice gave the 2007 RAV4 an award for "Highest Retained Value" in its class and AAA and Parents magazine named it one of the "Best Cars for Families."
Despite its award shelf, the RAV4 has not threatened the sales leaders in the compact SUV segment through the first half of 2008. Its fuel economy places it in the top half of its class, but it can't compete with its most efficient rivals. With gas prices reaching record highs in 2008, the RAV4's 21/27 mpg rating is nothing to be ashamed of, but may be hurting sales somewhat. Still, it ranks highly within its class and within Affordable Crossover SUVs.
In addition to the base model, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 comes in a performance-oriented Sport and top-of-the-line Limited trim. It's available with a four-cylinder or V6 engine and four-wheel drive is optional.
- "The RAV4's combination of compact size, plentiful and practical interior space, excellent powertrains, solid and substantial feel, and fine road manners makes for a sensible real-world SUV. The fact that pricing starts at barely over $20 grand is just icing on the cake." -- Car and Driver
- "The RAV4 is among the most versatile compact crossover-type SUVs." -- Truck Trend
- "It's very much in tune with what buyers now expect from any new utility. That is the biggest possible versatility in the smallest, most efficient package possible." -- Motor Week
- "It should have been called the RAV4 XXL or the RAV5, something to let people know that Toyota's entry-level sport-utility vehicle has grown up -- in a big way." -- Chicago Tribune
- "The ride is settled; it's quieter and more comfortable inside; it's easier to get in and out; it's still economical; it's more carlike behind the wheel." -- The Car Connection