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Toyota RAV4 (2014)

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The RAV4 has been a big hit for Toyota. Competing in the ultra competitive compact CUV segment, Toyota has sold 1.7 million RAV4s, in 150 countries. and 80% are still on the road.

For 2014, the RAV4 receives a big makeover. This fourth generation RAV4 is easily the one of the most visually engaging vehicles Toyota has built in years. A new aggressive grille, sharp looking hood and projector beam headlights with cool LED headlight trim sure help the looks. However, the big deal is the signature RAV4 swing away rear door and rear mounted spare tire are gone! Hallelujah! There is now a handy liftgate just like most of the competition has had for years. Works fine, and you can get a power one of you want it.

2013 RAV4 LE AWD_016Inside, the interior has been brought out of the 90’s with the addition of quality soft touch interior pieces to replace that old hard plastic from the last generation. This is a very upscale interior for the segment. This brings the RAV4 from back in the pack to running at the front of the compact CUV segment.

The telematics and sound system have been upgraded, the sound deadening is improved, and acoustic glass is now used in the new RAV4 to make the ride one of the quietest in its class. Ok, lets see…. Better looks, better interior, better electronics, better sound system, better controls, and a quieter ride. What about the powerplant? Glad you asked, because the old, noisy I-4 and the V6 have been tossed in favor of a new 176 hp 2.5 liter I-4 and a great shifting six speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 runs great and gets much better fuel economy from last generation. EPA estimates are 24 city and 31 highway. Best of all, it is fun to drive with simple driving dynamics and good performance.

The RAV4 is available in three trim levels; LE, XLE, and Limited. The LE starts at $23,200. The XLE goes for $24,290 and will be the big seller. Those looking at the $28,410 Limited model will be surprised how nice it is. AWD is available in all trim levels for $1400 more. Anyone looking for a compact CUV needs to have the RAV4 on their short list. I give it a 4.0 out of 5 stars.

 

Mike Herzing

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