2015 Toyota RAV4

Utilitarian runabout. Practical and functional small SUV.

  • Likes
  • cargo space
  • interior
  • infotainment system
  • fuel economy
  • steering
  • Dislikes
  • acceleration
  • braking
  • handling

Toyota's small SUV is roomy, practical and reasonably modern, a pleasant people and cargo mover, even if not the most excitement-filled choice in the segment. The Toyota RAV4, one of the first compact, car-based SUVs, was refreshed for 2013 and carries only minor changes into the 2015 model year. The XLE model we tested featured the optional Entune premium audio system, with a 6.1-inch touchscreen and backup camera display. The Bluetooth music streaming was easy to set up and worked seamlessly, and the sound was pretty good. The RAV4 XLE's interior featured lots of stitching both real and fake, and a design-y multi-piece dashboard. We liked the leather on the dash and the rubberized plastics on the shift knob and HVAC controls. The overall impression of the interior, however, was marred by some out-of-place swaths of fake carbon fiber.

Power comes from a 2.5-liter inline-4 good for 176 horses and 172 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is adequate. Steering feel from the electric power steering is surprisingly good, turn-in is sharp and the throttle response is pretty immediate. The brakes on our Classic Silver metallic test car, however, felt soft and didn't inspire confidence. Handling of the all-wheel-drive RAV4 is predictable and secure, with moderate amounts of body lean to let you know you're driving a tallish vehicle, albeit one with a sporty three-spoke steering wheel and a "sport mode" button. There's also an "eco mode" button which helps sip fuel by dialing back throttle response.

While it may not be particularly sporting to drive, the Toyota RAV4 does provide surprising utility. Thanks to a low-ish cargo floor, it's easy to load heavy items in the RAV4, making it a great errand-runner. It's also reasonably efficient for the class it's in. We recorded 21.9 MPG overall in our LA circuit, including some stop-and-go segments where the RAV4 averaged 18 and a few freeway stints where we saw as much as 34 from the Toyota's onboard computer readout.

Warranty/Service: 2-year/ 25,000-mile maintenance, 2-year/ 25,000-mile roadside assistance, 3-year/ 36,000-mile basic warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty

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Specs

Base Price: $26,640

As Tested: $26,640

  • 22 / 29 mpg
  • EPA
  • 8.2 sec
  • 0-60
  • 176 hp
  • Horsepower
  • Engine: 2.5-liter inline-4
  • Horsepower: 176 hp
  • Torque: 172
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc with ABS
  • Suspension: N/A
  • Traction: traction and stability control standard
  • 0-60 mph: 8.2 sec
  • EPA City: 22 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 29 mpg
  • Combined MPG: 25 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Safety: IIHS: P,G,G,G,G. NHTSA: 4-star overall

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