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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2011 Toyota RAV4 Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 boasts plenty of cargo room and an optional third-row seat. While reviewers used to think the RAV4’s interior quality was good for the class, the competition has stepped up its game -- many say interiors on the Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox make the RAV4’s cabin look cheap by comparison.

  • "The RAV4's interior boasts a clean design with large, simple controls and lots of storage space. Overall interior quality is acceptable, but the Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V make the RAV's interior look too insubstantial and budget-oriented." -- Edmunds
  • "The interior of the RAV4 is OK -- neither impressive nor stark. The mix of textures on the doors and dashboard is nicely done and doesn't look cheap." -- MSN
  • "The two-level dash is high sculpted with lots of curves and furbelows and it's definitely not boring. The instrument panel is equally stylish with overlapping dials. The heater/air conditioning controls are unconventional but surprisingly easy to use, and we found that the HVAC system maintains a constant temperature without continual fiddling." -- Washington Examiner


Reviewers find the RAV4's first and second seats comfortable enough, and several praise the kid-friendly, optional third row -- a rare feature within its class. However, several others find that row too cramped, so it's best to try it out for yourself. The Mitsubishi Outlander also offers an available third row at an even more affordable price - but it lacks the raw power and interior quality of the RAV4.

  • "The seats look expensive and are comfortable for hours. Same with the back seat, where the Honda [CR-V] and the Toyota -- the two lightest vehicles in this group -- tied for two- and three-man comfort." -- Car and Driver
  • "Nevertheless, the Toyota RAV4 is a model of practicality. The rear seats recline and can slide fore and aft to optimize passenger space or cargo capacity. Normal seating capacity is five, while the optional third-row seat bumps it to seven. Though this seat is meant only for children, it is at least reasonably sturdy and spacious."--Edmunds
  • "Just keep in mind that the third row rests on the vehicle floor. So, when I sat back there, my knees were up near my chest. I didn't have any forward view, but at 5 feet 4, I had better headroom than I expected." -- MSN
  • "Ample headroom and legroom for 2nd-row occupants on a comfortable bench. Entry to the 3rd row requires a high step-in, and only the passenger-side 2nd-row seat folds forward to provide access. The 3rd-row is a convenience in a pinch, but it fits only small children." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The rear seat is second class -- it keeps the kids from getting uppity -- but comfortable. Our tester did not have the optional third row of seating but gauging from the available room it wouldn't be useful for other than kids and it would take all of the erstwhile cargo room." -- Washington Examiner

Interior Features

The 2011 Toyota RAV4 offers lots of standard equipment, but with the exception of the third row, it doesn't offer too many family-friendly features. Although all but the base trim offer an optional navigation system, you might save yourself some money by choosing a portable device instead. 

  • "The gauges have large, legible markings. The controls easy to locate and simple to use." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The nav system works well enough and has a large, highly visible screen but it interferes with radio operation. There are no presets available when the nav screen is active." -- Washington Examiner


Cargo space is plentiful in the 2011 Toyota RAV4 -- 73 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down, 36.4 cubic feet behind the second row, or 12.3 cubic feet with all three rows in use. These figures beat nearly every other compact SUV, including the Honda CR-V's 72.9 and 35.7 cubic feet of space. A downside, however, is the side-swinging cargo door. Many reviewers find it difficult to use when loading cargo.

  • "There are useful storage spaces throughout the interior and the rear seats flip down to create a cargo hold more capacious than even the midsize Ford Edge." -- Edmunds
  • "The RAV4 not only has more cargo room than the redesigned Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and other compact SUVs, it has more room than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and upcoming Ford Edge, both of which are larger vehicles overall. Toyota can honestly tout its 'best in class cargo room' because nothing else comes close." -- Cars.com
  • "Impressive cargo room in five-seat versions, which have two convenient storage wells in the rear floor area for added utility. Lightweight split 2nd-row-seat sections are easy to fold. Seven-seaters have better than expected space behind the 3rd row, which folds fully to create a flat load floor. ... Ample cabin storage includes a bi-level glovebox." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The second row folds easily with a pull of a latch and goes back up easily too. The load floor isn't completely flat, however, which we find makes large items harder to load." -- Washington Examiner

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