2017 Toyota RAV4
Entry Price: $23,680
Price as tested: $33,246
This week, we’re driving the 2017 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD, which received a styling revamp in 2016 resulting in a more aerodynamic look. RAV4 is still one of the most popular compact SUVs in existence, as Toyota has stayed true to its marketing philosophy.
Expressly, through the years Toyota has not “messed with” its model names or added unnecessary and confusing nomenclature to its model designations. All of Toyota’s popular cars, trucks and SUVs are still known to consumers as they were at the beginning, ala RAV4, 4Runner, Highlander, Camry, Avalon or Tundra, with senior citizen Corolla dating all the way back to 1966 and now in its 11th generation. This model name longevity allows Toyota’s brand names the needed time to impact consumers … month after month, year after year. When you wrap this marketing philosophy around well built cars with excellent reliability reviews, you end up with a winner.
Now 5 years into RAV4’s fourth generation debut in 2013, Toyota has sold well over 1 million units the last 4 years and looks to continue its excellent sales numbers. RAV4’s North American history dates all the way back to 1995 and started winning some nice awards, including Automobile Magazine’s overall “Car of the Year” in 1997. And if you ever wondered what RAV4 stands for, it’s Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD, even though there are 2WD models available nowadays. (Again … don’t mess with success.)
For 2017, RAV4 adds standard driver safety assistance items that include forward collision migration, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Pricing starts at $24,910 for the entry LE; then escalates to the mid-class XLE at $26,840; SE at $29,985; Limited at $31,830; and a new top line Platinum at $34,750. If you want an AWD RAV4, add $1,400 to the base price and there’s also a Hybrid Rav4 that starts at $29,030. (No wonder they sell so many.)
Under the hood, all non-hybrid RAV4s come powered by a 176-horse 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 172 lb. ft. of torque. RAV4 transfers power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission that replaces the last generation’s four-speed automatic. The additional two gears help deliver better fuel mileage with 23/30 2WD and 22/28 AWD the EPA estimate numbers.
The AWD system on our XLE is automatic and features Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control component that merges with a fully independent suspension and driver activated Sport or Eco driving modes. On the road, our AWD RAV4 is nimble, easy to park and fun to drive. The ride, too, is much improved as it rides quiet and smooth on most all surfaces.
The RAV4 XLE arrives well-equipped as standard fare includes a power moonroof, safety backup camera, privacy glass, roof rails, fog lights, SiriusXM satellite, and heated outside mirrors.
Cabin features are noteworthy, as you’ll find features like a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls that direct your liking to Toyota’s heralded Entune Premium stereo system. This standard stereo features a 6.1-inch touch screen and lots of goodies. However, our tester added the $525 Entune Premium stereo upgrade, including Navigation, multimedia bundle, voice recognition, USB, six speakers, Bluetooth with steering wheel control, HD radio and much more. Your Toyota dealer will fully explain this option and also any 2017 incentives currently available.
All XLE models come with 17-inch tires on nice alloy wheels, room for five, split and reclining fold flat back seat, dynamic radar cruise, pedestrian alert, all the powers, dual zone air conditioning, privacy glass and much more.
Other options that brought the final tally to $30,088 are a $90 Tonneau Cover and a $303 Preferred Accessory Package with carpet/cargo mat, cargo net and a first aid kit. Delivery and processing is $940.
The aforementioned enhanced safety items compliment the other standard safety fare resulting in Five Star overall crash ratings. Included are four-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution and Smart Stop technology with brake assist. All of this safety results in a 2017 IIHS top safety pick.
Important RAV4 AWD numbers include a wheelbase of 104.7 inches, 6.1-inch ground clearance, 34.8 ft. turn circle, 3,605 lb. curb weight, 15.9 gallon fuel tank, 1,500 lb. tow capacity and from 38.4 to 73.4 cu. ft. of cargo room.
The 2017 RAV4, with its standard high tech safety features, offers consumers the Toyota legacy, reliability and consumer satisfaction the competitors all strive for. I still opine that potential buyers start with the entry RAV4 LE in 2WD or AWD dress because a $33K RAV4 puts you in Toyota Highlander land, where the entry is $30,630 and it might be your better buy.
Likes: Legacy, fuel mileage, easy to park/drive, cargo space, owner satisfaction.
Dislikes: No major changes since 2013, acceleration just so-so, V6 no longer available.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test Drive: 2017 Toyota RAV4
2017 Toyota RAV4