2010 Toyota RAV4 Sport: Cleaner Look, More Convenient Layout

October 28, 2009
2010 Toyota RAV4

2010 Toyota RAV4

Enlarge Photo

2010 Toyota RAV4

2010 Toyota RAV4

Enlarge Photo

Last year the Toyota RAV4 got a little bit of a facelift, with a refreshed front and rear appearance, a stronger and more refined base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and an upgraded feature set.

But it was a little surprising—as it had been when the RAV4 was last fully redesigned for 2006—that Toyota didn't address the RAV4's most controversial feature: It kept the spare tire hanging off the side-hinged tailgate.

In Europe and some Asian markets, the RAV4 has for several years already been offered with no spare mounted in back, so it was a little mysterious as to why Toyota stuck with this arrangement here—a rugged cue that hints at off-road ability, in a vehicle that has never been much of an off-roader. Back in the days before utility vehicles were used for everyday family transportation, it was a much more common arrangement.

Last year, Toyota began offering a Sport Appearance Package that finally brought that more sophisticated, street-savvy look to North America. Including run-flat tires, special badging, and a chrome exhaust tip, along with heated leather seats (power-adjustable for the driver), leather door trim, a cargo mat, and more chrome brightwork inside, the package yielded a completely different appearance for the RAV4. Like a makeover that addressed a particular sore point, the package didn't change much but somehow painted the RAV4 in a new light, making it seem from some angles more like a tall, sporty wagon than a chunky SUV with some off-road-wannabe cues.

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