2015 Toyota RAV4 Styling

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Styling

The current generation of the RAV4, introduced for 2013, looks quite a bit different all around than previous versions. Instead it borrows styling cues from Toyota's other crossovers, namely the Highlander and Venza, and has adopted a more conservative silhouette.

The differences are most pronounced around the back. While RAV4s used to wear a hatch-mounted spare tire, the latest version tucks it under the cargo floor, a more conventional location also does a lot to clean up the lines. The hatch itself is now top-hinged, replacing the side-hinged unit present before. With these changes, the RAV4 truly enters the mainstream, for better or worse. It's far more of a tall hatchback than it used to be, with the profile and stance much more in line with the current norm for the Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and Mazda CX-5.

The RAV4 has smoothed away all the former SUV cues; now it's pleasant enough if a little inexpensive inside.

The RAV4 has a real underbite in front, and the nose has the same sharp corners and taut fender lines. The shoulder lines look muscular, thanks to the expected upkick in the rear. Pointy taillamps sit high like the ones on Scion's xD. Altogether it adds up to a vehicle that communicates its mission but is by no means voluptuous. If we had to nitpick, we'd focus in on the RAV4's tailgate: the taillamps are pointy and shelf out, all in the name of meeting safety regulations.

Inside, it looks like Toyota looked for some inspiration from its 1980s products when laying out the current RAV4's interior. 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; unfortunately there's a reality check involved, as up close these materials reveal themselves as painfully low-grade. There's some discord in the cockpit too--not in the clash of lines and surfaces, but in the plastics that form them. It's rare we like cheaper plastic better, but too many kinds of trim turn us away from the Limited and its synthetic leather.

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