Reviews

2014 Toyota RAV4 Introduction

All-new for 2013, the Toyota RAV4 adds new safety features and four levels of Entune connectivity for 2014.

Toyota pioneered the crossover/SUV segment with the first RAV4 (for Recreational Active Vehicle, 4WD) in 1996. This latest, fourth-generation RAV4 handles better than before, and squeezes more miles from a gallon of gasoline. The new styling is more fluid: less truck, more car. The fourth-gen RAV4 is also more focused than its predecessor. The V6 option is gone, as is the optional third row of seating. The RAV4 is now strictly a four-cylinder five-seater. Take it or leave it.

Of course, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that remains features all of Toyota's usual high-tech hardware, including four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides (VVT-i, in Toyota-speak). It boasts 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission (also new for 2013), with the top two cogs being overdrive gears to aid fuel efficiency.

City/Highway EPA ratings are 24/31 mpg with front-wheel drive and 22/29 mpg with all-wheel-drive, representing about a 10 percent improvement over 2012 and older models.

As we said, the latest styling is more car than truck. It's been tweaked to create more emotion. The spare wheel is no longer stored on the tailgate but in the more commonly used location under the trunk floor. Yet despite these changes, it still looks remarkably uninspiring and bland.

The fourth-generation interior is upgraded as well, including a SofTex leather band that runs the entire width of the dash. While the feel doesn't scream luxury, it does stack up well against the competition; and comfort is good, too.

On the road, the fourth-gen RAV4 is a nice step forward in terms of handling. It feels far firmer and more planted than before. The steering is a touch rubbery, but braking is good. Yet, again, despite the improvements, the car still fails to engage the driver. It's better, but not fun.

Overall, the 2013-14 RAV4 is a solid improvement over the outgoing model. But it is still a means of transportation, and not a vehicle that you will particularly enjoy driving. In true Toyota fashion it remains remarkably vanilla.

It is, however, practical, efficient and competitively priced (starting at $23,550), making it a car that will sell like a Lightning McQueen toy at Christmas.

All vehicle specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice. See above for information on purchase financing and lease program expiration dates. Prices and payments (including the amount down payment) do not include tax, titles, tags, documentation charges, emissions testing charges, or other fees required by law or lending organizations. The estimated payments may not include upfront finance charges that must be paid to be eligible for the purchase financing program used to estimate the APR and payments. Listed Annual Percentage Rates are provided for the selected purchase financing or lease programs available on the current date. Program expiration dates reflect currently announced program end dates, but these programs are subject to change at any time.

Lessees will be financially responsible for mileage beyond the elected quantity and for vehicle maintenance and repairs and excessive vehicle wear. Option to purchase at lease end for an amount may be determined at lease signing. Payments may be higher in some states. You may not be able to combine other incentives with the purchase financing or leasing programs presented above. Residency restrictions may apply. See dealer for details.

Listed APR, down payment, payments, incentives and other terms are estimates for example purposes only. Information provided is based on very well-qualified buyers or lessees. The payment information provided here is not a commitment by any organization to provide credit, leases or other programs. Some customers may not qualify for listed programs. Your terms may vary. Lessor must approve lease. Credit approval required.

Incentives & Offers

  • AdChoices