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My Better Half needs a new car. She's pretty much (99.99%) has her heart set on a Toyota RAV4. Now, with the economy the way it is, rates are really low, financing is low as well, so now is the time to buy.

Anyone here (including wife, kids...) own a Toyota RAV4?
Any problems with them? Anything to look out for?
It's a daily driver, and the weather here in Chicago with the snow in the winter, we're thinking AWD vs FWD.


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Posts: 6034 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I drove one for 9 years until a few months ago when young lady rear ended me on the highway and got it totaled.

It was a 2011 with the 6 cyl engine and a sunroof, I bought it new. It was 4WD (OR AWD) that was really FWD until a computer decided to switch it to AWD. I put a LOT of miles on it, and had no serious issues at all. None.

It had plenty of power. Being a 2011 it didn't have lots of today's bells and whistles, but it did have a backup camera hidden in the rear view mirror. I found that annoying. I also hauled a lot of stuff, since my daughter was in college I frequently moved her from school to home to summer apartment to school. Mine had a roof rack and carried bicycles well, and I would put a roof carrier on also.

I miss that car. It was paid for and the taxes were very low. The biggest complaint I had about it was that the road noise was more than I liked, by far. I have found that the Honda CRV is more quiet. Both are good cars, but my personal experience with the RAV-4 was that it was very reliable and versatile.


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Posts: 2104 | Location: Greenville, RI US | Registered: May 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife bought a new 2019 RAV4, maybe half year ago. It's a Hybrid Limited. My understanding is that all RAV4 Hybrids are 4WD (AWD?), and the Hybrids are the fastest accelerating, compared to the straight gas engine RAV4s.

Wife loves the car. She says it's the best car that she has ever had, in 55+ years of driving. She is an ("ahem") vigorous driver and she finds the car to be very responsive on the street, as well as easy to maneuver in tight parking lots.

She wanted the Hybrid because most of her driving is in stop-and-go traffic during commuting hours -- home to office in the morning, return in the evening. This is worst case for fuel economy in a conventional vehicle, it's where hybrids really shine. She gets high 30s, touching on 40 mpg, commuting, and approximately the same on the highway, including a trip from the Orlando area, where we live, to northeast Ohio to visit the kids.

No real complaints to date. Two minor problems, both in electrically actuated door thingys: the trunk lid (hatchback?) has started going most of the way up, needs a bit of a nudge to go all the way, and the front passenger side door lock has stopped locking automatically. All doors should lock when you start driving, three out of the four do, she has to press the switch on the driver door to get the fourth door to lock. I'm sure that Toyota will take care of these two items properly, at no charge, next time she's in for her free oil change. They are not enough of an annoyance for her to take the time to make a special trip back to the dealer for these two items.

She also states that the Toyota service people, in fact everyone at that dealer, are very pleasant and she has confidence in them (as opposed to the Ford dealer that serviced her last car, an Escape).

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Posts: 22768 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Rented one from Hertz this past September for a 2 week trip in South Dakota...

First thing I noticed was the car was loud... going down the road it seemed loud to me, not well insulated. The next thing was it steered weird on the long straight stretches..... I finally figured out that it was some kind of internal computer thing that did not like the way I was steering... it also would not let me tail gate... I started to get too close to a car in front it would slow down and stay back on its own......

I'm sure all the computer making you safer stuff can probably be turned off but the road noise would be an issue for me.
Posts: 1486 | Location: Greenville, SC | Registered: January 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife and I have a 2015 front wheel drive XLE.
So far the only major thing (knock on wood) is the rear hatch as V-Tail has mentioned. It is a power hatch and either opens 2/3 of the way or some times not at all. Sometimes it will unlock start to open then stop after only an inch or two. We have reset many times and still does it. Unfortunately it started doing this after the warranty expired.
My wife also says the interior of the Rav4 is noisy from road sounds and the speaker for the Bluetooth is a problem. She says when she uses the cars Bluetooth people have a hard time hearing her. Because of this she has gone back to a wireless Bluetooth.
Gas mileage for a SUV is pretty good at aground 26 mpg.
It handles pretty good. I drive a Scion F-RS and when I drive the Rav4 I sometimes forget i am in it and drive it like my FRS.
This is the car my wife drives the most and so far she is pretty happy with it except for the rear hatch and other minor things.

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Posts: 1509 | Location: Central Florida, south of the mouse | Registered: March 08, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Don't Panic
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My wife bought a 2016 Hybrid RAV4. After a year of driving it occasionally, I bought a 2017 for myself. Smile

Can't recommend it highly enough. Great gas mileage for its size, modern safety features, well-designed. If you're looking for that size of an SUV, it is a great option.

The 'weird steering' is probably a safety feature (one you can turn on and off as you like) which, when enabled, gives a gentle nudge when you cross a lane marker without signaling. It's intended to correct small errors in driving (a turn signal would tell the car that you're intending to cross a lane marker) and the effect is minor. A related feature (again, one you can enable/disable) would quietly beep at you when this is being done.

One optional feature I got that turns out to be surprisingly useful was the 'lookdown camera.' Want to know how close you are to the edge of the parking stripe? One button and the display screen shows a 'gods eye' image of your car and its immediate surroundings.

It's not magic - uses four cameras (the one in back used for the backup camera, the one in front used the cruise control/emergency brakes, and two added for this option that live in the outboard rear view mirrors) and some image processing.

Anyway, it's a well-thought-out car, and well-executed.
Posts: 12896 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: October 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wife has an 07 sport model with the v6. It has been a solid and reliable vehicle. The only complaint about the newer models is that the spare tire is no longer mounted on the back door. I'd buy another one, if that's what she wants.

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Posts: 2371 | Location: Chiraq | Registered: February 28, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We rented a 2019 from Hertz for about 2 months. Wife drove it most of the time. Gas economy was good and overall she liked it. Easy to park,power is adequate,looks ok and everything worked....
Posts: 1899 | Location: Florida | Registered: March 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2017 hybrid here, bought for the kids to drive. Excellent car; safe, good gas mileage, etc. AWD when needed. When in “Sport” mode a noticeable injection of power. Would like the new generation as the hybrid is the fastest off the line. Would really like to compare ours to the new one in that respect.

Only downside is during summertime the rear portion of the car does not feel the a/c. Am looking for a fan to place in the rear outlet to circulate the cooler air.

Just my 2¢

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Posts: 7530 | Location: Raleighwood | Registered: June 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Co-worker (different department) has one of the new ones. A more base model, IIRC.

It's been trouble free for her, apart from getting rear-ended by a Porsche Macan & taking 3 weeks for repair (hatch had to be replaced).

It's a good looking little CUV, and the new Rav4 Prime looks pretty appealing.

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Posts: 7724 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Daughter is still driving our 2008 6 cyl Sport.

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Posts: 6582 | Location: IL, due south of the Arch | Registered: April 20, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have a 2008 in the family fleet that our son drives, knocking on the door of 200,000 miles (we have not owned it since new).

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Posts: 5738 | Registered: September 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My daughter has a 2012 with about 112K miles on it. Zero issues so far....

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Posts: 3757 | Location: SouthCentral PA | Registered: December 05, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I bought a 2019. Had it about 8 months. All tha5 stuff about following distance and lane control is easily turned off by button on steering wheel. And adjustable as well. I don’t like the lane departure inputs very much. Turn them off unless I’m tired. Love the cruise control following distance. Keeps you from screwing with the cruise on long hauls.

I don’t know about loud. I think that’s a personal thing. I tend to drive with radio off or sometimes a podcast. Never noticed anything particularly loud. Easy to test drive for yourself.

I got the Adventure line. Slightly lifted. Outlet in the back for camping. Some extra doodads electronic traction wise. No real snow in MD this year so don’t know how it is. Suspect it’s not as good as my Subaru but good enough.

I would have gotten the hybrid if it had not cost an extra 4K for same basic car. I bought non hybrid for economics. If the price is more in line now I would get the hybrid. It’s multi generations better than the first Prius and can go 25 miles just on battery. And the mileage is fantastic. 41 I think in town. Not 4K good though. Lol

I really like mine.
Posts: 2591 | Registered: June 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We purchased my wife’s ‘16 RAV4 Sport AWD, my older daughter’s ‘16 RAV4 XLE and my younger daughter’s ‘16 RAV4 XLE AWD back in May of ‘16.

Overall, everyone is happy. We like the look of my wife’s Sport, but the low profile wheels and possibly any suspension differences make the ride less pleasant as the daughters’ XLEs.

Like most Toyota’s, they are driving appliances that rarely have any mechanical problems. To add, the new styling just doesn’t do it for us, and we still like our storm trooper helmet styling better.

Posts: 652 | Location: Texas | Registered: March 03, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wait two or three weeks to see what kind of deals they'll be making. The RAV4 and Honda CRV sell like hotcakes, so dealers may not be willing to deal. However, in light of the economy being shutdown for a few weeks, they may be more motivated to move current inventory.

Posts: 2953 | Location: Sacramento, CA | Registered: November 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife had a 2016 Limited which I drove some. We never experienced any problem with it and it actually rode and steered nicer than the 2012 Camry it replaced. She loved that car, the only thing that bothered me was the sides of my back would start aching after riding in it a couple hours. After my wife passed away I sold it to my sister-in-law and she loves it.
The current RAV is a generation newer than what we had so probably improved.

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Posts: 5050 | Location: Northern WV | Registered: January 17, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have a 2017 Hybrid. The only problem was a ewar hatch motor failure (from the comments a fairly common issue) that was fixed under warranty. We get 33 mpg no natter how we drive as a minimum; often 36. The newer models do even better, touching 40 routinely. In local driving in Santa Fe it got 46, its' best. It is not as quiet as our 2019 F-150 Platinum, but wasn't nearly as spendy either. It's not objectionable. As others have noted the lane departure warning is weird at first, but can be switched off. I wish the seat had a lumbar support - maybe the higher trim level has that - but for $8K more, not worth it. I don't ever want a car again that doesn't have following distance speed control. Lastly, it has a CV auto trans so you don't hear shift points, just a change in RPM with load. You can "shift" manually with the up/down buttons on the gear selector which simulates the feel and sound of a manual trans. Another manufacturer made a hybrid that actually used a traditional auto gearbox (Nissan - Mazda ?- I forget) but I'm not sure if it is still made. On its' inaugural trip to Sante Fe from central Texas we made it there, drove all over New Mexico, and got back on $90 in gas in the summer of 2017. Not bad.

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Posts: 326 | Location: Central Texas | Registered: July 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2008 V6 Sport model FWD. Only needed routine maintenance. I'd have no problem buying another but I'd check the competition too just to cover my bases.
Posts: 3613 | Location: Peoples Republic of Berkeley | Registered: June 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Anyone here have a Toyota RAV4?

Nothing against the RAV4, but has she also looked at the Highlander?

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Posts: 17663 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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