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2010 Toyota RAV4 4X4 LTD Review

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Model: 2010 Toyota RAV4 4X4 LTD
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 269 hp @ 6,200 rpm/246 ln.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.7 in.
Length/Width/Height: 181.9 x 71.5 x 68.7 in.
Tires: P225/65R17
Cargo volume: 36.4/73.0 cu. ft. (behind 2nd row/behind 1st row)
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21.9 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gal.
Sticker: $30,973 (includes $800 delivery, processing and handling charge; $4,363 in options; less $2,000 value package discount)

The Bottom Line: The RAV4 is small on the outside with plenty of room on the inside to carry almost anything you'd want. With a new larger engine, there's more than enough power to get anywhere quickly with decent fuel economy.

As one of the first crossover sport utility vehicles (CUV), the Toyota RAV4 (and the Honda CR-V) set the bar the others must try to reach. In true Toyota tradition, the bar is kept high.

My first experience with a RAV4 was when the car was first introduced. Dick Milham Toyota loaned me a RAV4 and we drove to Maryland for a 4Runner introduction. As it turned out, the RAV4s did better in the snow than the 4Runners and we drove back home with the smaller vehicle.

That RAV4 had a 4-cylinder engine. And although it was competent, the new 269 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 in the current version is more than adequate for any use. We found that we had no trouble maintaining (or exceeding) the posted speed limits, and needed cruise control to keep the money in my wallet. The engine has some noise on acceleration, but it isn't objectionable.

The engine drives all four wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission. There's no manual mode, and that isn't necessary.

As a solid endorsement, my wife said she felt the RAV4 was easy to drive and had great visibility. She prefers to use the inside rearview mirror and she said she felt the view out the back was fine. She's usually reluctant to drive test cars, but she felt very comfortable behind the wheel of the RAV4. The power seats easily converted from me (longer legs, lower ride height) to her (shorter legs, higher ride height).

The seat fabric is wonderful; we spilled coffee and it wipe dup easily.

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The ride is comfortable. It's more trucklike than sedanlike, which is odd for a CUV. The front seats are comfortable with some side support. The rear seats are flat. There's a nice cargo area (36.4 cu. ft.) behind the second row. It's even better (73.0 cu. ft.) with the second row seat backs down.

The rear seat backs fold flat, but there's still "stow and go" space on the floor. The seats can be released and lowered form the cargo area. There's also small concealed storage behind the rear seats.

While the present generation RAV4 is larger than the original, it's still small enough to fit in the garage with room to spare. It's still large enough inside for 4-5 passengers and a lot of cargo.

The RAV4 has true keyless entry. All you have to do is keep the key in your pocket and the doors unlock when you push the right button and you have a start/stop button to, well, start and stop the engine. This was the first of several keyless vehicles we drove, and the "hangover" is horrible. I never have a key in my hand when I need it and I'm always looking for the start/stop button. I'm certain that as soon as I get reprogrammed to using keys again I'll get a spate of keyless cars coming my way.

Rear access is through a real door, not a hatch. It opens with the hinge on the curb side. The spare tire is mounted on the door, but the added weight didn't seem to hinder the operation of the door.

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There's a simple instrument panel with a large tachometer and speedometer and an information center between them. There are two cup holders at the base of the center stack, water bottle holders in all the doors, a pair of cup holders in the rear, and a practical dual-level glove box.

All in all, the RAV4 has remained true to its original purpose of being an entry level SUV/CUV that's practical and useful.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate