2012 Toyota RAV4 Review
Test drivers like the 2012 Toyota RAV4 because it has a ton of cargo space, a powerful optional V6 engine and an optional third row.
The compact SUV class is pretty large, and the 2012 Toyota RAV4 has two features that make it stand out: an optional third row, which is one of few in the class and a powerful V6 engine.
If you’re considering another SUV that offers more cargo space than the RAV4, you should keep in mind that only one model in the class, the Honda CR-V, has as much overall cargo space as the RAV4. That means the RAV4’s combination of loads of interior space and optional seating for seven make it one of the best family vehicles in the class. However, if you’re not shopping for your family, test drivers think shoppers looking for a greater dose of luxury are better served by rivals.
Fancy or not, test drivers can't deny the RAV4's practicality or its powerful V6 engine. That’s why the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is our 2012 Best Affordable Compact SUV with 3 Rows for the Money.
Other SUVs to Consider
Reviewers consider the Honda CR-V the family-oriented and more refined alternative to the Toyota RAV4. While it doesn’t have an optional third row, the CR-V does come standard with a conversation mirror, which helps the driver monitor children in the second row. It also has about as much cargo space as the RAV4 with its rear seats folded. Shoppers who don’t mind giving up the RAV4’s more rugged-looking exterior and optional third row in exchange for more family-friendly features should be pleased with the CR-V.
For a crossover that doesn’t look quite as frumpy as the CR-V or RAV4, consider the GMC Terrain. Reviewers like that the Terrain breaks the mold with its boxy, truck-like exterior styling, yet still manages to handle family duty. The Terrain doesn’t have as much cargo space as the CR-V or RAV4, but it does have a versatile cargo storage system and a very comfortable rear seat that slides forward and back.
Details: Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 comes in base, performance-oriented Sport and top-of-the-line Limited trims. Four-wheel drive is optional, as is a third row. For 2012, the RAV4 sees few changes. It offers a new audio system with Entune services. Entune-equipped models have a three-year subscription to apps and services that owners can use by pairing their smartphone to the RAV4. With Entune, drivers can access Pandora Internet radio, for example.
- "Its size makes it a great errand runner, even if the rear cargo door opens from the wrong side for a U.S. audience. There is the Toyota promise of quality construction and long life. Plus, if you can hold the line on options, you can get one for a reasonable price." -- MarketWatch
- "With an available powerful V6 engine, impressive cargo room, and fine road manners, RAV4 is a Recommended choice. Base prices are reasonable, but stickers skyrocket with options, so choose carefully. Several test models also have disappointed with unacceptable quality gaffes. Shop around, but don't leave the RAV4 off your list." -- Consumer Guide