in 2012 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $18,635 - $23,962
Original MSRP: $22,650 - $28,650
MPG: 22 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Toyota RAV4 Interior

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

The 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 the newer interiors in 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
  • "Cabin materials are solid, if nothing special for appearance and tactile feel." -- Consumer Guide


Reviewers find the RAV4's first- and second-row seats comfortable enough, and several praise the fact that there is a kid-friendly optional third row, which is a rare feature for the class. However, several others find that row too cramped, the seats hard and rear visibility poor.

  • "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. Long-legged drivers may want more rearward seat travel. Testers are divided on RAV4's seat comfort and driving position. Some say the seat needs more lumbar support, others say it's over-bolstered. A low, close steering wheel and the dashboard position are lauded by some testers for creating a commanding driving position with fine visibility. It is panned by others for creating a ‘big-rig’ style driving position. Visibility is compromised by wide rear roof pillars. Entry and exit are easy." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

The 2012 Toyota RAV4 doesn't offer too many family-friendly features. The Honda CR-V has a lot, such as a conversation mirror, which helps parents monitor the back seat. 

Standard on the RAV4 is a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and an auxiliary jack. Bluetooth, steering-wheel mounted controls and a USB port, which are all standard on many models in the class, are optional. Navigation is also optional, but reviewers say it complicates the audio controls.

  • "The gauges have large, legible markings. The controls are easy to locate and simple to use. The available navigation system absorbs most audio functions, complicating some adjustments that would otherwise be simple." -- Consumer Guide


Cargo space is plentiful in the Toyota RAV4. There is 73 cubic feet available with the second and third rows of seats folded down, 36.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 12.3 cubic feet with all three rows in use. A downside, however, is the side-hinged cargo door. Many reviewers find it difficult to use when loading cargo, preferring instead a traditional top-hinged liftgate.

  • "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
  • "Impressive cargo room in 5-passenger 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. The cargo door is hinged on the passenger side, which hurts curbside loading. Ample cabin storage includes a bi-level glovebox." -- Consumer Guide

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