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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
Testers are divided on RAV4's seat comfort and driving position
while the controls and materials are certainly not luxurious, they are not cheap
At idle, the V-6 proved so velvety that several of us tried to start an already running vehicle.
Car and Driver
The rear seats recline, and can slide forward or rearward 6.5 inches to optimize passenger space or cargo capacity.
The RAV4 teeters between compact and mid-size, but in any case, it's one of the few vehicles of its stature to offer a third-row seat. And with well designed seating, good seating comfort, and top-notch assembly quality, along with a tight, quiet cabin, the RAV4 has covers all the bases. Some subpar interior materials remain our only significant gripes.
Front-seat comfort is good in the RAV4 for most drivers, although taller drivers will find the lower cushions a little short and lacking support. The second row is comfortable enough for adults, and folds forward neatly as well as reclines.
Cargo space in the RAV4 is quite impressive, with extra storage wells in the rear floor and a third row that folds completely flat. The side-opening rear door and rather tall cargo floor are features that family shoppers might not find as friendly as top-opening hatches.
The third row officially expands the RAV4's capacity to seven, but you certainly won't have much luck trying to get adults to ride in the RAV4's third row. For that, you'll need to move up to the larger Highlander. But the seat design doesn't eat up much if any cargo space; when they're not occupied by children, they stow nicely in a recessed area of the cargo floor. Small third row seats and cheapish interior materials are about all there is not to like inside. Otherwise, well designed seating, good seating comfort, and top-notch assembly quality, along with a tight, quiet cabin, the RAV4 has covers all the bases.
Sport models with the larger 18-inch wheels tend to ride a little harder and more vocally. Overall, the RAV4 rides well, without much road or wind noise.
The RAV4 has a well-designed interior, although the third-row seat isn't quite adult-sized.