For 2013 Toyota delivered all new generation of RAV4 and when a vehicle like that comes to the market we do expect to see a lot of activity and changes. Compact crossover segment is a market that is growing rapidly and competition in that segment is pretty strong simply because of the fact that we are getting vehicles that are larger than sedans but still offers better fuel economy than larger crossovers and SUV’s, this is where 2014 Toyota RAV4 could significantly improve sale results.
If the selections in the marketplace were still mainly restricted to the Honda CR-V, as was the case when this market niche was green, the Toyota providing might in fact appear like the interesting choice. However with brand-new players providing better dynamic delights (Mazda CX-5), cool turbo motors and elegant innovation (Ford Escape), and even crispy cred (Subaru Forester), the small crossover shopper is actually spoiled for option in 2013.
2014 Toyota RAV4 Review
With Mr. Korzeniewski’s outstanding First Drive review covering the granularity of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 spec so well, we chose to focus our notes this time around on coping with the Toyota in its natural suburban environment for a longer stretch. Exactly what’s even more, we’ll try to mark out where the CUV wins, loses or draws with the rest of the strident section.
We rarely get stopped by questioning members of the public when driving small crossovers of any kind (well, except for the Range Rover Evoque), however we were still a little surprised to see not so much as an eyebrow raised at the 2014 Toyota RAV4. Older versions of the Toyota are all over the place, but not a head was turned all week while we drove some 200+ miles. That’s hardly scientific, however anecdotally, we need to admit that this brand-new Toyota design blends right into the background.
With around 5,000 miles on the odometer when we grabbed the keys, our 2014 Toyota RAV4 XLE was still an infant in terms of the 200k+ mile Toyota life expectancy. We’ve got no reason to believe that this vehicle will be anything less than mechanically bulletproof as the years roll on, but we do have some concerns about the durability of the cabin materials. While your author took slightly less offense to the milieu of structures and surface areas in the 2014 Toyota RAV4 cockpit than have various other reviewers (I quite liked the cloth seat fabric, and the leather-clad swathe of dash), there’s no question that there are already some wear issues.
The less-than-premium feeling extended to the driving experience, too, at least in part. We in all honesty anticipated the Toyota to be a class leader in terms of in-cabin quiet, and were surprised to discover that it’s even more like “simply as excellent.”.
It had not been all bad information for the loud powertrain. As our earlier report pointed out, when driven in Sport mode, the six-speed and four-cylinder transmission work truly nicely together to make use of every one of those 176 horsepower. Throttle tip-in was well managed in this mode, too, with great starts resulting from an extra couple degrees of boot. Eco mode does kill a lot of that buzz– the drivetrain feels slow and strangely rubbery thusly configured– but it also helped return fuel economy close to the EPA quotes. On the highway, even without Eco mode, we scooted along at or above the expected 29 miles per gallon (for the all-wheel-drive RAV4). The city rating was a bit harder to match; our heavy-footed driving style got us closer to 19 or 20 mpg most of the time. But with the magically dull Eco button pushed, 22 and 23 mpg was no problem. You won’t like it, but it’s good for you.
With practical considerations leaving the RAV4 on more-or-less even footing with its competitors, the question ends up being, “What do I get, and for how much?” Our 2014 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD is the mid-level trim of the lineup and, with the $1,030 navigation/Entune/touchscreen added, has a last price tag of $27,585. The CX-5 in Touring trim is just $25,865 before destination; however adding navi to the Mazda demands adding a sunroof and Bose Audio, bringing the final price to $29,275. Honda’s pricing looks very similar on the surface ($26,145 for and CR-V EX AWD), but again asks that you jump into a much more expensive model to get navigation. In the CR-V’s case, that means you end up with a fully loaded, leather-trimmed crossover for $31,125. Kia’s attractive Sportage, meanwhile, offers attractive value, too. $26,800 gets you a Sportage LX with 17-inch wheels, UVO infotainment with navigation and a backup camera. A Ford Escape AWD with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost and comparable equipment is $28,930. A 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5 i Limited with leather, CVT and a power liftgate starts at $27,995, but you have to jump up a few rungs to obtain navigation. You could make a genuine argument for Subaru’s a little smaller sized XV Crosstrek as an interesting option– just $24,990 will get you similar devices levels and all-wheel drive– but you’ll have to accept a substantially less effective engine, and a smaller quantity of cargo space (interior volume for humans is surprisingly close to the larger RAV4, however).
In brief, the 2014 Toyota RAV4 is middle of the pack, all the way around. It’s not the most beautiful, greatest, biggest, tiniest, most or least fuel effective, most inexpensive or most costly little crossover you can buy.