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STYLING | 7 out of 10
funky shelf-shaped taillamps that protrude from the body and an oversize spoiler above the rear window.
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.
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.
Toyota says triathletes inspired the styling, but one staffer said the front end reminded him of an Angry Bird.
the interior has been gussied up with details such as a soft-touch panel with "French stitching" that runs across the dashboard.
The 2013 Toyota RAV4 has shuffled its powertrain and seating, but change doesn't just come from within. The RAV4's appealing new body is the latest in a string of new Toyotas (like the Avalon sedan) that have taken some interesting styling turns.
This time, the RAV4 drops the last trace of any SUV realness it once had--the tailgate-mounted spare tire--and fairs in a new set of cues that aren't shy about borrowing from Toyota's best-looking crossover, the Venza. The RAV4 has a real underbite, and the nose has the same sharp corners and taut fender lines. The usual kick to the rear roof pillar rests on a muscular shoulder so pronounced, it could have come from a Volvo. It's not entirely a win--pointy taillamps sit high like the ones on a Scion xD--but it's a long way down the runway from the amorphous, anodyne first-gen RAV4.
The cockpit flips through some classic 1980s Toyota catalogs. The gauges have a Tercel-like simplicity, and the gimbaled vents are pure, early MR2. Look right, and the big LCD screen and pushbutton start on high-end models are plainly trimmed--not flanked by wide planks of silver-painted plastic. Top models even sport two-tone, stitched and padded upholstery across the midline, in what looks like the most tasteful cabin in the segment in photos, but renders a little differently in person, where the actual materials are more obviously a lower-cost way to dress up the design.
Like the Escape? The Santa Fe Sport? The new RAV4 touches the same styling bases, and it's mostly a good deal.