Editors at TheCarConnection.com find that the 2009 Toyota RAV4 offers drivers a pretty nice-looking vehicle that's been newly retouched.
MyRide.com notes that "fewer superfluous curves and less cladding" than the previous RAV present "a more finished appearance." "Toyota says the third-generation RAV4's exterior styling follows a 'modern-rugged theme,'" reports Cars.com. Kelley Blue Book decides this makes it "more substantial and less 'cute'" than the previous generation, but discovers that typically clean, play-it-safe Toyota styling is the rule, with the exception of "the triangular rear C-pillar and vertically-wrapped taillamps." The 2009 refresh mainly includes small tweaks to the front and rear ends, but offers a nifty Sport Appearance Package that does away with the exterior spare tire. As Edmunds reports, the package "will get you [...] a different rear door without the mounted spare tire."
On the interior, Kelley Blue Book explains that "the center cluster, door trim and steering wheel spokes are brushed metallic-look plastic," again lending the RAV4's interior an air of modernity. Toyota opts for carefully modern on the inside, with a sweeping two-tier dash whose "swollen protuberances at first look Jetson-ish," says Car and Driver, "but in fact break up what would otherwise be a dull sea of plastic." MyRide.com is critical, calling it a "horizontal gash running the width of the car," and finds its only redeeming feature to be "a bi-level glove box."