Driver and front passenger front-seat-mounted side airbags and first- and second-row roll-sensing side airbags are included in all 2011 RAV4s, along with electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. All-wheel drive, stability and traction control, and electric power steering come together in Toyota's VSC system. Models equipped with the third-row seat also come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC)—two features that are derived from what Toyota offers in its off-road-worthy vehicles and would come in quite handy for negotiating a steep, snowy driveway.
That's all good news, but when it comes to crash tests, the RAV4 hasn't done unanimously well. It achieves top "good" ratings for frontal, side, and rear impact from the IIHS, but an "acceptable" rating in the new rollover-critical roof-strength category. And in more stringent federal NCAP testing introduced this year, the RAV4 earns only a three-star rating overall, including three-star frontal impact results and four stars for side impact protection.