CAR REVIEW: 2014/2015 Toyota RAV4 By Larry Nutson
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Trucks and SUVs are hot. They are the big drivers of monthly auto industry sales increases. October just came to a close with the auto industry up 6 percent and Toyota up 7.5 percent.
Toyota’s RAV4 continues to be one of the industry’s hottest vehicles with October sales of 21,500 units. That’s up 22 ½ percent. And with more than 223,000 RAV4s sold through October it has surpassed its total for all of last year.
The RAV4 was first introduced over fifteen year ago. Toyota’s fourth-generation RAV4, introduced for the 2013 model year, debuted a new Entune Audio lineup for 2014. The RAV4 Limited grade model added a new Technology Package option that includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert and Auto High Beam.
The latest model combines a fuel-efficient 176HP, 2.5-L four-cylinder engine mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. The two-row seating is for five and the RAV4 is available in three trim levels -- LE, XLE and Limited each with the choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Pricing for the 2015 model starts at $23,680 for the front-drive LE and climbs to $29,850 for the AWD Limited.
I spent a week with a 2014 RAV4 XLE all-wheel drive model that topped out at $29,136 with about $2700 in options included in this price.
Along with its five-passenger seating the RAV4 has 38.4 cuft of cargo space behind the rear seat. When the rear seat is folded that grows to 73.4 cuft. I helped my daughter move some household items on a recent move of hers and the RAV4 is perfect for that kind of household hauling. Combined with its 180 inch length, the RAV4 is not only versatile but also very maneuverable in urban, big-city environs.
- Dual stage advanced driver and front passenger airbags
- Front seat-mounted airbags
- First and second row side curtain airbags
- Driver knee airbag
- Front passenger seat cushion airbag.
The Star Safety System also includes:
Traction Control (TRAC)
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Brake Assist (BA
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS
Smart Stop Technology (SST)
With vehicles being kept longer in these times, Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty is important to have. It applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The 2015 RAV4 also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Admittedly I’m more of a car fan than a truck fan. However, the versatility, functionality, maneuverability, fuel efficiency and ease of ingress and egress of small SUVs makes them a highly desirable vehicle. Obviously a lot of folks feel the same way given their very high popularity. If you’re having just one, this may be the one to have.
© Larry Nutson