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#16

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $23,550 - $29,720
Invoice: $22,020 - $27,787
MPG: 24 City / 31 Hwy
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Toyota RAV4 Performance

Play 2014 Toyota RAV4 Performance Review Video Video: RAV4 Performance 2014 Toyota RAV4 Performance Video Review

Most reviewers praise the 2014 Toyota RAV4’s accurate steering and composed handling, though some say it still isn’t as nimble as rival SUVs like the Mazda CX-5. Test drivers report that the engine offers sufficient power, but that other SUVs feel faster. 

  • "If you’re looking for power, handling or off-road ability, the 2014 RAV4 won’t impress you." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The RAV4's suspension has received plenty of tuning adjustments, but it's still geared toward smooth running in lieu of sporty handling and road feel." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "The new RAV4 drives as though Toyota had borrowed a bunch of Mazda engineers and told them to zoom-zoom the entire vehicle." -- Popular Mechanics (2013)
  • "The combination of the updated powertrain and revised suspension (beefier stabilizer bars, revised spring and damping rates, and tweaked struts and bushings) results in a RAV4 that is much more fun to drive than the outgoing model." -- Truck Trend (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 RAV4 has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 176 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The RAV4 has three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), which alter the RAV4’s throttle response and transmission behavior. The base 2014 RAV4 gets an EPA-estimated 24/31 mpg city/highway, which is comparable to what other affordable compact SUVs get. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the RAV4 gets 22/29 mpg.

The automotive press says the Toyota RAV4’s four-cylinder engine provides sufficient power in most situations, though a few reviewers note acceleration is sluggish from a stop. Sport mode adds some pep for passing at highway speeds, they say. A six-speed automatic transmission was introduced for the 2013 model year and most critics say that it is smooth and responsive.

  • “Acceleration is tepid but acceptable, with the RAV4 making the 0-60-mph run in just under 10 seconds. To help when passing or merging, Toyota equips the RAV4 with a Sport mode that quickens throttle response and holds shift points longer; the Sport setting also firms up the steering feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We miss the V6, but the four-cylinder is refined and adequately powerful. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly and right at the 6,200-rpm redline under full throttle." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The new powertrain combo isn't noticeably peppier off the line, but shifts are dramatically smoother, exhibiting none of the extreme jumps in engine RPMs experienced with the four-speed." -- Truck Trend (2013)
  • "The problem is that there's not a lot of grunt in reserve, and with what should be a svelte 3,500 lbs. to lug around, the RAV4 feels a bit pokey." -- Left Lane News (2013)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the RAV4 provides responsive steering, composed handling and a smooth, quiet ride. However, some point out that it isn’t as fun to drive as rival crossovers like the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5. Equipped with all-wheel drive, test drivers say the RAV4 is even steadier.

  • "A short time behind the wheel of the Toyota's RAV4 for 2014 reveals a vehicle that is well-balanced, quiet at highway speeds and smooth riding over most surfaces.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Steering is linear and sharp across all modes (Eco, Sport, and normal)." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "This doesn't add up to Mazda-style athleticism, but the 2013 RAV4 is well balanced and impressively stable going down the freeway." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Our first impression of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 can be summed up in one word: Balanced. Our test models felt more dynamic than the Honda CR-V (though a bit less comfortable) but not as sporty as a Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "The assist is very subtle, but the AWD RAV4 does seem a bit more composed through fast turns than the front-drive models." -- Truck Trend (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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