in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $16,327 - $20,780
Original MSRP: $22,475 - $28,785
MPG: 22 City / 28 Hwy
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Used Car: 2011 Toyota RAV4 Review

Review Last Updated: 7/26/12

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 offers a V6 engine and one of the few third row seats in the class, making it a great choice for growing families who don’t want to get left in the dust.

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 is ranked:

When it was new, critics praised the Toyota RAV4 for offering more power than most competitors and for its refined driving feel and spacious interior. Some did note, though, that its suspension can feel a bit harsh over rough roads. Testers appreciated the availability of a third-row seat that bumps seating capacity to seven, even though most admitted it isn’t suited to anyone other than small children. Aside from rivals like the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander and 2011 Dodge Journey, the RAV4 is one of the few compact SUVs that offer a third-row option. The RAV4 also has an above-average reliability rating, though its safety scores fall short of the class average.

The RAV4 is available with either a four- or six-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder makes 179 horsepower and the six-cylinder 269, and you can choose from either front- or all-wheel drive. Critics found that the four-cylinder engine makes ample power, but most preferred the V6, which they said makes the RAV4 feel significantly faster without taking a serious toll on fuel economy. A four-cylinder model with front-wheel drive averages 22/28, while opting for the V6 drops that to 19/27, both of which are fairly good for the class.

Inside, critics said that the RAV4’s cabin isn’t the most luxurious place to spend time, but it has good fit and finish and offers plenty of space and comfort. With the rear rows folded, the RAV4 can carry up to 73 cubic feet of cargo, which is very good for the class. The RAV4’s rear cargo door is side-hinged, so rather than swinging up, it swings to the side, which some critics remarked can make it difficult to open in a crowded parking lot. Base models come equipped with cloth seats and a CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Higher trim levels add features like dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, a power sunroof, leather upholstery, a JBL stereo, Bluetooth, navigation and a backup camera.

See the full 2011 Toyota RAV4 specs »

Other Cars to Consider

An alternative 2011 compact SUV to consider is the highly-ranked 2011 Honda CR-V. Reviewers liked the CR-V for its refined ride and ample passenger and cargo space, and the CR-V carries one of the highest reliability ratings in the class. The biggest gripe critics had with the CR-V is that it isn’t available with a V6 like the RAV4 is. Also keep in mind that the CR-V isn’t available with a third-row seat.

Another alternative you may like is 2011 Hyundai Tucson, which has an outstanding safety score. Critics liked its roomy interior and long standard features list. However, the Tucson is also not available with a third-row seat.

Compare the RAV4 to the CR-V and Tucson »

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