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2014 Toyota RAV4 Photo
7.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$22,020
BASE MSRP
$23,550
Quick Take
The 2014 Toyota RAV4 is sensible and spacious; but if driving fun is a priority, you can do better. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

funky shelf-shaped taillamps that protrude from the body and an oversize spoiler above the rear window.

Autoblog »

Whereas the old RAV4 felt like economy transportation, this one has enough crisp lines, stitched surfaces and contrasting colors to appeal to the hipsters we saw shopping in the stationery aisle.

Edmunds »

the RAV4 has now become surprisingly handsome, the best-looking vehicle with a Toyota nameplate that you can buy - not that the bar is very high at Toyota, of course.

Automobile »

Toyota says triathletes inspired the styling, but one staffer said the front end reminded him of an Angry Bird.

Motor Trend »

the interior has been gussied up with details such as a soft-touch panel with "French stitching" that runs across the dashboard.

USA Today »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$23,550 $29,720
MSRP $23,550
INVOICE $22,020
Get Price Quote
FWD 4-Door LE
Gas Mileage 24 mpg City/31 mpg Hwy
Engine Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
EPA Class Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Sport Utility
See Detailed Specs »
7.2 out of 10
Shopping for a new Toyota RAV4?

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Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
STYLE INVOICE MSRP
2014 Toyota RAV4 FWD 4-Door LE (Natl)
FWD 4-Door LE
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 22,020 $ 23,550
2014 Toyota RAV4 FWD 4-Door XLE (Natl)
FWD 4-Door XLE
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 23,375 $ 25,000
2014 Toyota RAV4 FWD 4-Door Limited (Natl)
FWD 4-Door Limited
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 26,478 $ 28,320
2014 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4-Door LE (Natl)
AWD 4-Door LE
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
All Wheel Drive
$ 23,329 $ 24,950
More Styles »

The Basics:

The Toyota RAV4 has come a long way, evolving from what the niche activity vehicle that it originally was in the 1990s to what, for many buyers, is a primary family vehicle—a substitute for a mid-size sedan. Yet with a more limited lineup in this latest iteration of the RAV4, introduced last year, and redesigned versions of the Ford Escape and Subaru Forester arriving in the past couple of years, the competition is especially strong.

With last year's redesign, the Toyota RAV4 became better-equipped and more value oriented; but at the same time it lost some of the features that had made this model so popular in its last generation—like its optional V-6 and third-row seat.

Also see:  Recall effects 2012 Toyota RAV4

Taken in perspective, the 2014 Toyota RAV4 leaves room for the larger Highlander, which had been squeezed upscale by the last RAV4, and it brings its bearings back firmly to the compact segment. But last year's redesign did bring some important new changes, in the way of updated transmission, better safety features, and updated safety gear. As it stands, the RAV4 is the middle-ground pick for pragmatists: with more room than the perky Ford Escape yet road manners that are just a little more alert than those in the Honda CR-V.

Last year's redesign purged one of the remaining vestiges of the RAV4's history: the tailgate-mounted spare. This year it's history, and the more hatchback-style flow and lower stance, pitch the RAV4 headlong into a lookalike bin filled with the Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, even Mazda CX-5. Arguably, the RAV4 has a more carlike face than them all, but it doesn't pull off such a clean design in back as the CX-5. The taillamps er XT. are pointy and shelf out, all in the name of meeting safety regulations. Inside, there's some discord in the cockpit; this is a case in which the RAV4 limited and its many trims and surfaces leave us admiring the basic RAV4 LE's simplicity.

Once upon a time—just a couple of model years ago—there were V-6 models of the RAV4 that were surprisingly quick; but the current RAV4 gives up those chances of a transcendent upgrade in favor of a better ride and more carlike handling. There's only a 176-horsepower four-cylinder under the hood now, but the six-speed automatic with sport-shift mode saves it. Consider the 0-60 mph time of under nine seconds, and the RAV4 isn't quick, but it's quick enough for most family needs. The new RAV4 is responsive, although never sporty in the same way as a Ford Escape or Subaru Forester XT. Yet at the same time, the RAV4 rides lower, with well-weighted electric power steering and a good sense of center. All-wheel drive is just a $1,400 upgrade, and we like how the system works not only for inclement weather conditions but also for on-the-road handling. There isn't much of a range in the way the RAV4 rides and handles, but for a slightly better ride we'd stick with the 17-inch tires on LE and XLE versions.

The RAV4 didn't become significantly larger with last year's redesign, but smarter packaging made it more passenger-friendly. Base versions come with a cheaper upholstery and seats that are less supportive, while XLE versions include more firmly bolstered seats and nicer fabrics that we wish were standard across the board. The synthetic leather upholstery in Limited models looks great from a few feet away, but up close it looks shiny and cheap. Seating space in the RAV4 is about on par with the CR-V—definitely more generous than the Escape. But there are some flaws: The back bench is less supportive than adults will expect, and its flip/fold mechanism is one step shy on slickness, although cargo space is excellent. Limited versions get a power tailgate.

Safety ratings are top-notch for the most part, but the RAV4 has one unforgivable blemish: a 'Poor' rating in the new IIHS small overlap frontal test. Otherwise, the RAV4 ups its safety ante with eight standard airbags, including knee airbags. Bluetooth is also standard across the board; a rearview camera is also included, while Limited models include blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts.

LE, XLE, and Limited models of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 are offered. At the base level, the RAV4 LE comes with power locks, windows, and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering; steering-wheel audio and phone controls; and an AM/FM/CD player controlled, through a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen. We tend to think that the base RAV4 LE or mid-range XLE models are the best deal. The XLE adds dual-zone automatic climate control; a sunroof; and fog lights, to which the Limited adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Limited include a power driver seat and those 18-inch wheels.

Major options on the RAV4 include navigation on the XLE and Limited, with Entune app connectivity and satellite radio; and on the Limited, a JBL audio system with 576 watts of power and 11 speakers.

Audio systems are noteworthy in the RAV4. For 2014, there are four different levels of Entune touch-screen audio, with the top two levels incorporating the App Suite—Bing for search; iHeartRadio and Pandora for audio streaming; MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Yelp for going out; and real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.

 

Likes:

  • Pert shape and clean styling
  • Responsive six-speed automatic
  • Standard rearview camera and Bluetooth
  • AWD that works well on the road

Dislikes:

  • Lacks a V-6 or turbo option
  • No third-row seat
  • Back seat feels flat
  • Mismatched trims in Limited
Next: Interior / Exterior »

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