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Toyota RAV4 Review – What the Auto Press Says
The 2011 Toyota RAV4 ranks 1 out of 23 Affordable Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 76 published reviews and test drives of the Toyota RAV4, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Reviewers call the 2011 Toyota RAV4 one of the most practical and family-friendly SUVs you can buy. While the interior feels cheap compared to the competition, the RAV4 makes up for it by offering seating for up to seven and a powerful V6 engine option.
While Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships, the Toyota RAV4 has the combination of size, fuel economy and utility that launched a thousand compact SUVs. Most reviewers regard the RAV4 as the model that took compact SUVs from a niche product for off-road enthusiasts to family-friendly station wagon alternatives. The 2011 Toyota RAV4, reviewers say, continues that tradition.
“Spacious, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 is a top pick for a small-to-midsize crossover SUV, especially if you want a V6 or a usable kid-size third-row seat,” says Edmunds. While some reviewers say its design is starting to date (a redesign is rumored for 2012), most agree that the RAV4 offers some features competitors can’t match. In particular, reviewers like the optional V6 engine. It’s more powerful than most other engines in the class, but still gets pretty good fuel economy. The optional third-row seat also helps the RAV4 stand out. Reviewers say it’s cramped and best for kids, but it does give the RAV4 a leg up on the competition when it comes to carpool duty.
- “Available with the most powerful engine in the compact-SUV class, seating for seven, and impressive cargo room, refinement, and road manners, RAV4 is an easy choice. Toyota’s reputation for resale value is another asset.” — Consumer Guide
- “The RAV4’s combination of compact size, plentiful and practical interior space, excellent powertrains, solid and substantial feel, and fine road manners makes for a sensible real-world SUV. The fact that pricing starts at barely over $20 grand is just icing on the cake.” — Car and Driver
- “The RAV4 is among the most versatile compact crossover-type SUVs.” — Truck Trend
- “It’s very much in tune with what buyers now expect from any new utility. That is the biggest possible versatility in the smallest, most efficient package possible.” — Motor Week
- “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
While the RAV4 launched the segment, the competition is starting to catch up. Several other options in the class offer nicer interiors, more interior features and lower prices. If you like the RAV4, reviewers say you’ll likely be happy with it. Just make sure you shop the competition as the RAV4 is no longer the only compact SUV game in town.
Other SUVs to Consider
The RAV4 is most often compared to the Honda CR-V. While the CR-V doesn’t have an optional third row, it does have a nicer interior. Plus, reviewers say the CR-V’s cargo area is easier to access. If you’re considering the V6 RAV4, note that the CR-V doesn’t have a V6 option. Hovever, compared to a four-cylinder RAV4, the CR-V is tough competition.
Though it starts at about $1,000 more than the RAV4, many reviewers say the Chevrolet Equinox is worth the extra money. It beats the RAV4’s base highway fuel economy and has a more up-to-date interior, with more standard features. Like the RAV4, it has optional all-wheel drive and an optional V6 that’s good on gas – if V6 power is a priority, make sure you check out the Equinox.