Is the Toyota RAV4 Really That Bad?

Recently, hosted the $29,000 SUV Shootout, and the Toyota RAV4 finished last. Then a few weeks ago, we got a 2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport, and all I can say after testing it is perhaps the Shootout was unfair to Toyota's cute-ute.

For detailed opinion of the RAV4, you can read my expert review here.

If you line up the RAV4 with a bunch of other small SUVs that have been redesigned more recently, the Toyota will suffer because it looks frumpy. It hasn’t been significantly updated in several years. But when you live with the car for several days, you start to notice attributes that are more important than a pretty dashboard or stylish exterior.

For starters, there’s the mileage.

The bulk of my driving was on the highway to a triathlon in Wisconsin, for a total of 398 miles. My average fuel economy was 30.8 mpg, and that’s not bad in the days of high gas prices, especially considering the RAV4 is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Also, the RAV4 is kind of unremarkable. I go into why in my review, but basically while there’s no stand-out “Wow!” feature (that might help it in a Shootout), there isn’t a glaring flaw that annoyed me to the point that I hated the car. For my money, if I’m just looking to put miles under my belt, I’ll take less “Wow!” in favor of an easy drive. That’s what I got in the RAV4.

Then there’s the issue of family testing. I’m glad we test our cars using grocery bags, child seats and generally skew our coverage toward real-world families and the issues they’d face trying to cram child-safety seats into some of the cars that are on the road today. The Shootout is a reflection of that.

But for my uses, none of that matters. What I want is something that’s easy to carry stuff like bikes rather than stuff like grocery bags. The RAV4, which has one of the largest cargo areas of any compact SUV, stands out.

This is not to say the RAV4 is perfect. It is frumpy, it does need a refresh and, c’mon Toyota, it wouldn’t kill you to spruce up the interior just a little bit. I also am not a fan of the swing-out tailgate, a point on which I agree with my co-workers.

It wouldn’t win the Shootout if I were the sole judge, but after living with the car for a bit, I feel like it was invited to a keg party when it was expecting to spend the night studying for finals.



Almost every vehicle is competent today. If you ignore features, interior quality and design every new car is great. That's why we pay attention to the details. Btw, that swinging door is a deal breaker. Very poor idea.

It's not bad, it's just not great. I owned a new Toyota RAV4 from March 2006 until July 2010, and was generally pleased with it.

The biggest flaws were the bland interior (compared to the up and coming vehicles in its class), the lack of connectivity options and the awful swing gate. The back door made it really difficult to find a bike rack that would work with the door - many options being just a few inches off.

Bought a 2010 Subaru Outback. A big step up, IMO. The RAV4 can still compete well, but it needs to be given an overhaul.


When the Camry got the 2.5 (same engine as in the Rav4), it also got a 6 speed auto. why Toyota did not put the six-speed in the Rav4, I do not know. A full redesign with a nicer interior, modernized powertrain, and move from swing to tailgate will help bring this to the top of the class again. The Rav4 does alot of things well...its just it doesnt have the polish of some other vehicles in its class.


Excellent review as it struck a cord. Five months ago we traded my wife's 2006 RAV for a 2011 Equinox and now have buyers remorse. We miss the RAV for it's better gas mileage, more powerful engine, and additional cargo room. Our Equinox is more polished however the six cylinder feels a lot less powerful. Our dealer said once the engine breaks in it'll have more power. We've since learned the Chevy dealer lied. If Toyota increases the current RAV incentives we'll consider trading the Equinox. As I write this our Equinox is at the dealer for another check engine light. Like the first one it's probably nothing but it's annoying. In five years with the RAV we never once had a check engine light come on.


How can you possible think the RAV-4 doesn’t stand out from the crowd? The 6-cylinder, 269 hp engine, smooth 5-speed auto tranny is a HUGE stand-out and it gets great mpg. Don’t like the interior? I love mine, including the highly criticized round HVAC buttons for I can make adjustment to the knobs and don’t have to look down while driving. Can’t say that for those confusing push-buttons on other vehicles. Yes, the swing-out door can be a pain at times, however I don’t have to worry about hitting my head on it like some lift-gates. Own a RAV-4 and in no time you’ll not only be glad you bought it but smiling down the road. Oh, did I mention the great Toyota reliability? Sure, the RAV-4 is due for a re-design, but I don’t regret buying this incredible SUV.


I feel compelled to add my 2-cents worth to this thread because several members of my family own RAV4s and all love them, have bought them again and again, and will buy them again if there is no better alternative to the RAV4. If you own a RAV4 you know what to expect if you buy a brand new one. The feel, ride and handling remain the same. But what is most endearing is that they are reliable, quality vehicles that offer excellent value for your money. The CR-V is a totally different animal when it comes to ride and handling, as are all the other offerings in this class. The RAV4 may not be as fancy as some domestic offerings, but the RAV4 continues to draw buyers because of what it is, and what it's been since it was introduced. The downside is that RAV4s sell for a lot more money than anything else, if you can find one that meets your wants and needs. That pretty much says it all since buyers are willing to pay extra to get a RAV4.

Oh yes, the resell value is great on a RAV4. I sold my four year-old RAV4 for $8,000 even, above blue book value given that it was in one accident not-at-fault.

While the engine was adequate, the lack of a 6-speed or a CVT made mountain driving a real pain. I couldn't use paddle shifters to manually downshift a grade to prevent burning the brakes, nor could I use it to give more assist going up a hill. It is like a hunting game of gears.


In my area the RAV4 retains about 63% after five years, more if traded after 3 years, like a lease-vehicle. Used RAV4 vehicles, with either engine, are pricey at best and never sit on a dealer used car lot very long. My relatives who traded their RAV4s have told me that their trade was sold the same day in many cases, after a sprucing up, wash and wax. In the case of trade-ins the value is just a paper exercise but what really matters is how much you have to pay for the new one after all the paper shuffling is done. When I went to trade my 2006 F150 it was worth less than 43% on my 2011 Tundra 5.7 because the F150 is so common. There's glut of them. IOW, not worth my effort so I sold it on my own for a lot more real cash money. When I go to trade my wife's 2008 Highlander we hope to find it has retained more than that in value. Ditto when I go to trade my 2011 Tundra in 2016.


Sherman is a liar. A four year old RAV has way more value than $4,000.


RAV-4 is one of the finest vehicles on the road, which happen to have bland interior and somewhat impractical rear door. Other then that, the RAV-4 is still a great choice.


You folks are easily offended. No one said th rav4 isn't a practical, reliable vehicle. The point is its been surpassed by newer competitors. Its not the best right now- that doesn't mean there aren't many happy existing customers. The statements highdesert made about the rav4 selling for far more than rivals in bs. Rav4 has had significant incentives for a while now and its still losing marketshare. There is no evidence that it sells for more than competition and the reality is equinox is priced higher and yet is still selling better. When a vehicle is losing share and selling incentives you don't claim its beating up on the competition. Rav4 is great to toyota faithful but objectively speaking its just average.


You might want to do research next time. Equinox has 3l engine with only 222lb-ft of torque and its heavier than rav4. Its common knowledge that rav4 v6 is fastest in the class. If speed was your primary concern I don't understand your equinox purchase.


The Chevy dealer lied and said the engine would have more power as it 'breaks in'. While I'm no car expert (I'm a Pediatrician and my wife is a Teacher) we've never been lied to by any of the car dealers we've bought from. Then again this is our first Chevy.



The engine WILL have more power after it breaks in. You weren't lied to at all. It's very common for many cars, which is why most long term review vehicles will test the 0-60mph and 1/4 mile speed both at time of purchase and at the end of the test.

Now, how significant this difference is, that's a separate point. If you feel the power is "inadequate" now, then the small difference from break-in probably isn't going to satisfy you.



If power is insufficient you should have noticed it during your initial test drive. Why is it now an issue? It should have been an issue before you bought.

ye smy pet peeve is the RAV 4 (and others) that have the rear gate open into the curb. I beleive the Ford Escape either opens up or to traffic side. This is important when parked along the side of the road, especially if lots of traffic, you wanna step off side of road and load w/o risk getting hit. Also never a fan of looking at spare hung on the rear door. Although latest RAV looks like they might have moved it?? I like a clean look.


Sheth, your posts are BS. I have brothers in the new car retail business who happen to sell, among other brands, Toyota and Hyundai, and those are the figures that they use (on average) for trade-ins in good condition with average miles on them. I also pointed out that trade-in values are mostly magic on paper because no real money changes hands. The only thing that matters is what the customer has to pay for that new car and many are happy doing that, including Buick/GMC customers, many that are very loyal repeat buyers. Sales for GMC and Buick products are not that whoopee, but the Ford products do pretty well. Still, they attach more retained value to Toyota products (in good shape). If you are in the business or associated with the business you should already know this.


"...buyers are willing to pay extra to get a RAV4."

63% residual after FIVE YEARS?



Dan -
After more than five thousand miles the engine apparently is already broken in. I called my old Toyota Service Manager who told me such and I believe him as the guy has never misled me. Ironically he had nice things to say about the Equinox. He said it's a good vehicle but the engines are not best in class compared to the RAV's six cylinder. He suggested we give it another six months to get used to the vehicle.

"WTF" - We bought during the winter months so we didn't run the AC when test driving and since we had three people in the car we thought the power would be fine as most of the time there's only one or two. Boy have we been wrong as you load up our Equinox with some gear (hiking, camping, or mountain bikes) and have two people inside with the AC on the car is slow and achieves pretty poor mpg's compared to our RAV. We wish Chevy would have made the vehicle weigh a little less and gave the engine more power. It makes no sense that our old RAV had more power and got a lot better mpg's while being able to carry more stuff. Maybe it's the engineering.

Tonight over dinner my wife and I decided that if the Equinox has to go back to the dealer for any more warning lights in the next six months we're going to trade it in. I have feeling it won't and the cars positives do outweigh the negatives so it's not like we're super disappointed.


Who cares if it's broken in? Only people who don't have enough money to buy a different car. Get a clue.


I have a 2009 Limited AWD Rav-4. Its front seats are extremely short (front to rear) causing backaches when driving just short distances. Longer drives are unbearable. The power seat tilt doesn't angle upwards enough to give any relief. The throttle from a stop is jumpy and Toyota would not correct this. The Nav system has never found us a correct address yet. Rear under floor storage area & rear seat fold-down levers are nice.


Edit previous comment - "I have a 2009 Limited V-6 AWD Rav-4."


WTF, seriously. In the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets the RAV4 and CR-V are very much in demand. Hard to get, too. The Scottsdale market is a little more conservative and more moneyed so more people opt to buy new but there is lower demand for RAV4. The Dallas and Houston areas need a lot of incentives to sell the RAV4 because demand is much lower for them there, and even less in the Huntsville, AL, area. At least that is the experience of the people I know and trust. Mostly it depends on which part of the country we're talking about. The dealership in El Paso, TX, where I bought my Highlander and Tundra keeps at least 10 RAV4s of various configurations and trims in stock and has no problem selling them. In my part of the country, they sell well. An Equinox in El Paso goes for around $24K. A RAV4 similarly optioned and equipped goes for at least $27K, more if they can squeeze it out of you.


Toyota's sell for more because they are more reliable and thus retain more value when resold. The Detroit brands cannot compete because their past reliability records were poor and they still sell tens of thousands of their cars to rental companies which kills resale value.



Yeah, by 5,000 miles it should be pretty well broken in as long as you followed the procedure laid out in the manual. I wouldn't expect any further increases in power going forward.


To Brad:
maybe you do miss your Rav 4 over the Equinox. But i have a new Equinox myself, the V4 definitely lacking power, but the features i use everyday including one bottom push tail gates, bluetooth connection to my cellphone, tire pressure reading, and your rav 4 would probably never be able to do that. well, sorry to hear your car is there for check engine light on, but mine is over 1 year over 10,000 miles still runs great and not yet any problems. wish you luck. But you should have gotten the V6 instead.


oh, to Brad again:
please go to to see if others have the same problem like yours.


It think it was that clueless Joey kid that had something against Toyota and picked the bloated Chevy Equinox.

Every other auto publication adores the RAV4 and all that comparison did was make you guys look out-of-touch.


James -
Our Equinox is a six cylinder and our RAV did have Blue Tooth and TPS.



Lots of bs being posted.

1. Gm band ford resale values are up and competitive with toyota. Toyota has eroded resale via fleet sales and discounts. Not one person has offered any objective date to support the idea that rav4 has far superior value.
2. Anyone buying a car these days should do research. Do not blame a salesman for your lack of research. The rav4 has a larger v6 and more power than equinox and its common knowledge that its one of the fastest crossovers on the market. The equinox is larger, heavier and less powerful so its no shock that its slower. I've seen no reviews suggesting the v6 is underpowered.
3. Equinox beat rav4 and all comers in edmunds mini comparo. Whomever says every source but loves the rav4 is wrong. It finished near the back of the pack in the edmunds comparo.
4. The equinox costs more than rav4 and tops out $6k higher than the toyota with all otpions and yet its one of the fastest to turn in dealer inventory. Gm hasn't had any notable incentives on it since launch and its still outselling the 5 year old toyota.
5. Reliability is only one factor in buying a car. We can't say for sure if the rav4 is more reliable than equinox but we can say the chevy has more features, better interior, better styling and better warranty and that's likely why its doing very well.


Sheth -
1. I just came across this, the RAV4 does have superior resale value. Click on 'residual values tools' and compare cars.

2. We did sufficient research but made the mistake of trusting a Chevy salesperson who turned out to be liar along with his Sales Manager. I've recently found a lot of complaints on the internet about the engine being under powered and achieving consistently poor gas mileage. Chevy should have done a better job engineering the car so it's lighter.

3. I've read several comparison tests that put either the Equinox or RAV ahead of the other.

4. 'Notable incentives'? Sounds like a phrase a politician uses when he's attempting to avoid the truth. One of the reasons we bought our Equinox was b/c it came with 2.9% financing for 60 months and a $1,000 rebate. I guess you'd claim that's not notable. We did cross shop against a new RAV and the best incentive was $500 rebate. Comparing comparable cars the RAV was on average $1,100 more expensive.

5. Yes I can say the RAV is more reliable than the Equinox because in my experience it is. Consumer Reports now also states the same.

It's now obvious you're a very biased individual. Sad.



After 3 years rav4 and equinox have same value. After 4 years the rav4 is projected to retain 2% more value, keep in mind these are projections. I suggest you search for used current gen equinoxes and see what you find.

A dealer cannot lie to you about hp and torque and weight. Its all public info and the toyota has a 3.5l engine with considerably more torque. The rav4 is light because its somewhat dated and built off a small car platform. The highlander and rx are built off camry platform and weigh 500lbs more than rav4 in spite of being only slightly larger on the outside.

2.9% isn't a great rate, I got that from bank. The rav4 is clearly a cheaper vehicle and it tops out at around 31k vs 37k for loaded equinox. Under no circumstances is a rav4 cheaper with the same equipment. At this point I do not know why you even got the chevy if you love the toyota so much. And you didn't explain the rebate so I preume the 1000 was some sort of special offer. Was it a conquest offer? Equinox has has very small incentives since launch and they had to add production at 2nd plant to meet demand. Since that happened it has outsold the toyota and nothing you can say will refute that.

What mechanical failures have you experienced? No, I'm not biased- everything I've stated is fact based. You just don't likebthe facts I am presenting and its sad that you can't admit you may not know as much as you thought on this subject.



If curb weight is a sign that better engineering what do you say about the fact that a lexus rx is about 300lbs heavier than a v6 equinox? Do you think lexus engineering is lacking? Your tone suggests you never intended to like the equinox and have been convinced of toyota superiority from the start.


For the record an eqinox ltz v6 with sunroof is 32,030. Rav4 limited with sunroof and backup camera is 31,725 per this website. How is the toyota 1100 more on average?


Why do you insist on proving to everyone that you're a blow-hard? You're a very immature and insecure individual.


William, maybe he just has no capacity for believing other people's experiences, and no tolerance for the belief of others.

He thinks he's right from his perspective. Trouble is, the rest of us are not situated behind his keyboard.

Hence, differing views.


My perspective is irrelevent. Brad claimed the rav4 is priced at a premium compared to equinox and that is not true. He also said data on showed rav4 has superior resale value and that is only true under certain circumstances. Taken as a whole, the two vehicles have about the same projected resale.

The pricing data isn't even debatable. The fact that specs on both vehicles are widely available for anyone interested in research before a purchase isn't debatable. The fact the the chevy is selling better also isn't debatable. These aren't opinions, they are facts.


Sheth posted - "He also said data on showed rav4 has superior resale value and that is only true under certain circumstances. Taken as a whole, the two vehicles have about the same projected resale."

YOU LIE! If you compare the same model from both the Equinox and the RAV the RAV has higher resale value. I may not be a car expert but I can spot a lying punk from miles away. Go crawl back under your rock you lying punk!



Using the tool on this site I compared awd models and after 2 or 3 years they had virtually the same value. After 5 years the rav4 is projected to retain 41% vs 38% for the chevy. The crv and rogue whip both of them if you believe alg data. The rav4 and equinox were so close that chosing one over the other strictly for resale would be stupid. Don't be mad because I used the source you provided.



you are still full of BS!


Sheth, you fail to take in account market (region) variables. The guidelines you used are just that, guidelines, something to go by, universally. Different regions or markets add or subtract accordingly based on demand for a given product locally.


My wife and I traded our NOX today and are very pleased to have unloaded it as it was turning into a problematic headache. Friday morning the engine and ABS light came on (again) and we just got it back from the dealer. Enough was enough as we decided to bite the bullet and go with quality so we bought a Highlander. Boy what a difference it is to be back in a Toyota! We will never again buy another Chevy as they're still unreliable when compared to the Japanese.
Now I have a better understanding why trolls like sheth are so insecure they feel the need to defend the poor reputation that Chevy has. To bad he's not educated enough to comprehend that an old model like the RAV has higher resale value than a new model like the NOX is not considered an achievement for Chevy. I'm willing to bet he probably works for some state/local government outfit as he clearly struggles with even the most basic concepts. What a sad way to go through life.

Dr. Brad

Jordan L

@ Dr Brad. I see that simple logic is beyond you. You claimed that you where lied to by the Chevy dealer. Guess what, the dealer was right. Do some research and you will find that when a vehicle is broken in it has more power. Most of the time it would not be enough to notice from the seat of your pants but it is measureable with the proper equipment. You bought a heavier less powerful vehicle and complained about having less power. Go figure. As for resale and residual value, why do you care? As a person who can afford to trade when check engine lights get too annoying, you obviously have plenty of disposable income. Now I can sympathize with you for having a lot of problems with a new vehicle but did you try another dealer at least? I'm a mechanic at a dealer, and if I do work on a vehicle to repair a problem and the problem is not repaired or comes back then the vehicle comes back to me to fix. One has to think that if the same guy can't figure it out the first 2-3 times chances are he isn't going to. Not trying to offend, glad you got a vehicle your happy with. Just some things to think about.


"As for resale and residual value, why do you care? As a person who can afford to trade when check engine lights get too annoying, you obviously have plenty of disposable income."

That ignorant statement ranks right up there with "Mission Accomplished".

Jordan L

@ Greg Please explain your comment. Are you taking Brad's side in this arguement? I'll make it real simple. If you trade in a nearly new vehicle on another new vehicle you will take a huge hit on the trade in value. That money will have to be payed and this will likely be done by including the it in the financing of the new vehicle. If you don't include it in the financing then you'll have to pay it out in cash/credit. If you finance it you will be making a monthly payment that is way higher than the vehicle is worth. If someone decides to use their money this way then they likely have plenty, so why complain or comment about resale value? If I could afford to trade off a brand new vehicle with a ton of warrenty just because the check engine light was annoying me, resale value would be the last thing I'd worry about.


I don't even know if I believe anything brad said. Why would a lifelong toyota fan who claims the rav4 is better than the equinox go out and buy an equinox? Why not just get the toyota in the first place? Btw, a check engine light isn't a reliability problem. Its an annoyance and it should be remedied but to trade in a brand new vehicle strictly because some warning lights went off is absurd. In addition, brads statements about how great it is to be back in a quality vehicle are just obnoxious. The rav4 nor highlander really feel substantial in terms of interior quality. The rav4 feels like a 20k econo car inside. The highlander is better but the quality still isn't on par with other crossovers in that price range.



I do wonder if you're even a doctor because you don't seem all that bright based on what's been posted here. You are the stereotypical ignorant import fanboy. Your poorly informed, very emotional, somewhat irrational, biased and arrogant. I find that most people that bow down to toyota and honda aren't satisfied unless they insult those that don't drive their favorite brand. The thinking goes that anyone who doesn't drive a toyota or honda is too dumb or too poor to do so. As for your assertion that recognizing the value of equinox proves that I'm lacking intelligence I would just point out that the chevy has been outselling your beloved rav4 for some time now. Apparently many thousands of americans agree that the chevy is a superior product. I would ask why you brought one in the first place if in fact only the ignorant an uneducated would drive a chevy. Nothing is a bigger turn off than blatant hypocrisy. btw, people that are truly happy with their vehicle don't have to waste time insulting anyone who doesn't drive the same brand they do. Why not spend your time enjoying your perfect highlander as opposed to insulting me simply because I pointed out the chevy equinox is a top seller?


That's funny a Troll calling a Doctor a 'fan boy'. You General Motor apologists need to get a life!

Even if you are the only one who wants to save your troubled marriage you can do it alone once you know what you need to do. So, relax, take a deep breath and let's get started with some things you can do to get started on saving a troubled marriage.


Just thought I would add my 2 cents... I absolutely love the swing-out tailgate. It is for that reason alone that I bought the toyota rav4 instead of any other SUV make/model. Dislike gas mileage but absolutely love the back door! :-)



I have rav 4 2010 model. The rear door may suck, but I had a lift piston die on my minivan, the biggest problem I had for about 120,000 miles. It was 1 month past the bumper to bumper warrenty. They looked at the car and fixed it free, then it died again 15 years later, (cost me 150 for after market with install)now the car is ready for recycling.

I hate the rav 4 (uncomfortable), love my old Dodge minivan, but it needs a bullet in the block and off to the knockers it goes.

I want to know about Rav4 tires if anyone has an idea, we want milegage and safety on the road with good wear (and the 6 numbers to the lottery as well)


Walter Lee

I like my 2011 Rav4 V6 Sport 4X4 overall. The only things I would like different are a switch to turn on/off AWD to save gas and also a bigger gas tank.

Phillip North

Wife has one (Aug 13 model), great car on every front except bluetooth. So bad it is unusable. Landcruiser is similar - wouldn't buy another Toyota unless they fixed this. Can't see why they are so inferior compared to other manufacturers on this front?


You wouldn't buy another Toyota because the Bluetooth doesn't function to your standards? Wow...

John Smith

Reading lots of info on RAV4 V6 and its has a lot of problems. Tranny whine after 40k. Rear end bearing subject to rust. VVT failure. Intermediate steering shaft failure. Water pump failure. Stereo dies. These are common failures.


Idk y but every toyota rav4 I see on tye road drives slower then any other car and tries to go to the last lane like its a fast car. I have been looking at drivers and no meter on age or gender same story. Now when I see one on the road in my lane and everyone is going slower in this lane then others am 99.9% rights its cuz that rav4 is going 5 miles lower then speed limit. Eather the engine sucks or its that scary to drive at 55 on it cuz as I said gender or age every driver I see drives this car the same. Get it of the road it's causing traffic!!!!!!! Talking about gas savings lol 22-28 on a 4cyl u guys suck. I got a v8 and get same gas mileage plus power and its a luxury car all comfort comes with it as well and all leather of course and its about the same price. Drove my frieds 2006 rav4 7 miles to dealer thought I was going to die. No power no comfort visibility sucked. I thought my back will break in 2 or 3 before I get to the dealer. I don't see a reason to buy junk like this


Kjs post.
Lol all the confusing buttons? They exist to make ur car more comfirtable and easier to use while driving. If u dont understand how to use them then then maybe u should buy something like 1980s cars? (No bottons there I promice) its called technology which is a growing field if u didnt learn how to use buttons then go lean how to but wait then did u type ur msg? Oh u used buttons full its tye same simple in the car


My rav4 2010 it's not so great in snow I have to drive so slow anything else is great but hey I live in the north snow days suck for me.


I drive an 09 rav 4 base 4WD and there are some things I like and a few I dont....the stereo isnt too great, the air condition or heat doesnt completely shut off while driving meaning even tho the knob is on 0, while driving I still feel air coming out of the vents and its incredibly is pretty fast, I used to drive a jeep grand cherokee and its was a 6 and the acceleration and speed of the rav4 is noticeable. I dont mind the tailgate bc i umpire and it helps me get dressed easier. Im 28 by the way and not all rav 4 drivers drive like slopokes!

I have a 2003 rav4 and have driven it for 12 years - 183,000 miles, and it has never had a problem. In northeast winters, I put studded snow tires on, and don't have a problem. The only problem is someone rear-ended me at 60+ mph, and the insurance company is totalling the car due to its age and mileage. I was not badly hurt - the car protected me. Now, a car I love is not replaceable for what the insurance offers, due to high resale value of rav4's. There are few used ones of this vintage for sale, and I can't touch one without putting out an additional $2500. Gas mileage was great - 24 around town and 33 highway, consistently, all 183,000 miles. The only feature I didn't like was the side-swing tailgate. It should be an overhead tailgate. It swings shut too easily and can hurt someone. Otherwise, toyota should keep making these and keep the price affordable. A real workhorse. I've lugged loads of rocks in the cargo area, bikes, tools, wood, etc with ease all these years. Miss that car like crazy. I heard that 80% of older rav4's are still on the road...I understand that completely. My goal was 300k miles, and my mechanic and everyone I know thought the car would do that. Now I don't get a chance to find out due to being hit. For me, a car is about reliability and cost savings. My 2003 rav4 nailed that. Wish I could afford a new one.
trffls in CT

deb s

We just got a 2011 Rav4 V6 and love it. It is fast, it goes 0-60mph in 6 seconds and 1/4 mile in 14 seconds. The gas mileage is unbelievable. The swing out tailgate works great in the garage. We are in love with our first Toyota!


I think people who LOVE GM will gobble down anything they make and smile, whether it is garbage or not. Same goes for Toyota or any other manufacturer. My dad worked for GM, retired from GM and still complains about his GM car. He wasn't going to buy anything but GM (Chevy), so it is what it is.

My Chevys have been okay vehicles. Not great or bad, but our old Toyota with 300,000 miles could be my favorite car I have ever driven. It just feels "right". It's wimpy now and rusty but it has a reputation in the family for the car that just keeps going.

My wife's family used to drive all Fords, whether good or bad, a Ford something was in their driveway. Now Ford has been replaced with Nissan and they couldn't be happier.

My trouble is I'm leaning for the first time going from a Chevy to a Honda in a couple years or less. Our Impala is nickel and diming me, and the Camry is getting up there now. My dad recently told me, "Buy whatever makes you happy and you think is the best deal". A new Honda might be in order soon. Sorry GM, but I'll have my Silverado for awhile I hope yet, but the rest of the family has moved on to American made "imports".

If someone tried a Chevy and it sucked, sell it and buy something else. Same goes for a Toyota model. The Equinox looks nice, but GM's automatics are far from great. If the Rav4 has an Aisin transmission in it, that is worth it right there.


Idk, but deciphering how gr8 u r @ car stuff, lol is hard 2 follow. u have 2 reed btween tye lines to get it. ha ha 2 funny. Toyato sucks!!

Meaningful posts here!


I've owned my 2006 Rav 4 for about 6 months. I decided I have to keep it. I need to put all season tires on it for the winter. A Minnesota winter! REAL snow. Can't afford snow tires. Does anyone recommend a certain brand? They need to be quiet, not a truck tire.


I have a 2003 Rav 4 which I bought 3 years used in 2006. I replaced a belt, a water pump and that computer chip for the tranny (got it on ebay for $125 instead of at Toyota for $1000), with regular maintenance it now has almost 250,000 and is running just fine. The back seat is a bit small for 6' teenage boys, but I didn't have them back when I bought it. I haul all my photography equipment to photo shoots no problem (can actually fit two full sets and that is a LOT of stuff!)I am usually in the fast lane doing 10 - 15 over. I travel all over WI for my work and have never had an issue in winter snow here. I love the tailgate swinging OUT OF THE WAY! Plus I can back it up to the garage and it can be opened. This is a great vehicle with low maintenance, great gas mileage, and a great ride.

Recently bought my first RAV4, have had Toyota´s before.

I absolutely hate the car! It is unstable, it is very noisy, interior is very very plastic, of the bad kind. It uses much more gas than my earlier Subaru, which was also AWD.

It had a broken break pump, so much for quality, and the boot is rusted on the bottom.

I have 3 kids, they complain in the back because there is no room for them. This is basically a Corollo on steroids!

I will sell the car and never buy a "cheapish" Toyota again.


I live in norther canada with a lot of snow ice and -40 temps my 2013 rav 4 is by far the best I've had on the roads up here only a few months old but shofar so good


I have a 2011 rav 4 4wd. In 12 inches of snow I got stuck in so I pushed the 4wd button and it is like the car shuts down and doesn't want to take gas.I went to work and everywhere came home and got stuck in my drive way. Are the rav 4 supposed to do this and what can I do to keep from getting stuck.


yes, the north american rav4 is really that bad! i bought a used 2010 with 18k miles on it. in 3 months i drove it another 10k miles during an extended cross country roadtrip in u.s. and canada. when i got home i sold it. it creaked and groaned on every turn, the seats create lower back pain after 3 hours and it poops out before 70 mph with its ancient 4sp a.t. toyotas used to be great, still are overseas, but toyota usa gives american customers junk. i now drive a cpo 2013 passat s 2.5, which is great. sayonara toyota.

Jon Gordon

I recently picked up a 2009 V6 Rav4 AWD (Limited, 37k miles) from a private party after selling my old 98' Honda Accord. Have to say, this is the best car I've owned up to this point and my favorite compact SUV to drive out of all the ones I've driven. I have friends who own a Forester, an Element, a CRV, and an Equinox of various years and option types. I've spent a decent amount of time driving their cars before making the decision on what I wanted to buy. It was pretty much a no-brainer; the engine and transmission on the Rav4 are head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. The Drive is fun and zippy while comfortable. The 2009 doesn't have the fancy features that some of the newer crossovers do, including Toyota's own 2013 RAV4 revamp, but I find it significantly more fun to drive due to the springy V6. I also don't need a lot of fancy features, and although the bluetooth would have been nice, that can be added through aftermarket sound which is among the easiest things to replace on a car. The new CRVs and Rav4s and other compact SUVs with only 4-cyl options were unsatisfactory to me; they wheeze along at higher speeds and their acceleration is sluggish and uninspired.

Toyota never should have taken the V6 out of the Rav4; it's one of the things that made it stand out from the crowd. For those who want a smaller SUV that can fit a lot of stuff, go fast, and still tow a boat or a trailer if need be, the 2006-2012 RAV4 (with V6) is still the belle of the ball.

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