2014 Toyota RAV4 XLE

2014 Toyota RAV4 Review

The RAV4 is everything it needs to be, and that's ok.

By: David Merline

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: September 24th, 2014

The RAV4 was the first of its kind, so it makes sense that it should do everything a crossover is supposed to do, and do it extremely well. As a suburban family hauler, its primary mission is to provide space and utility, and it does both in comfort and style, and even a modicum of efficiency, if you'd like.

  • Exterior

    The RAV4 remains unchanged from the previous year, but its sharp, angular looks have held up well. Its beltline crease and sloping roof line give it a sleek, aerodynamic look, and the front end is minimal but manages to convey a hint of aggressiveness.

  • Interior

    Toyota was wise to upscale the Rav4 a bit with this latest model. American tastes are going ever more upscale, and the lines between mainstream brands and luxury brands (i.e. Toyota and Lexus) grow ever blurrier, legacy vehicles like the RAV4 look increasingly attractive.

    Toyota is perhaps the best brand when it comes to threading the needle between rugged-looking, sporty-looking, and not cheap-looking, and the RAV4 is a much nicer looking car now than perhaps at any time in its long history.

    As with the exterior, the RAV4 's forward looking design keeps the interior from looking desperately in need of a refresh. The nav/infotainment screen is nicely integrated into the dashboard, a trick even the most upscale brands have yet to quite perfect, and the stitched-leather lower lip of the console is clean and useless enough to feel fancy.

  • On the Road

    The RAV4 's less upscale beginnings are evident when you drive it, thanks to the fact that it retains the body-on-frame layout that most subsequent crossovers eschewed in pursuit of better mileage and a more car-like driving experience.

    The truck-like drive is far from a deal-breaker, however. In fact it may even evoke a sense of nostalgia in drivers of a certain age.

    There isn't a ton of fun to be had in the RAV4 , but of course, the Sport in Sport Utility was never intended to refer to the sport of auto racing. No, SUV were vehicles to utilize while going to play a sport, like volleyball, or tennis.

    The ride in the RAV4 is comfortable, and the handling is decent, if not exactly sporty. But there's adequate speed and good sight lines, and its 25 mpg average is not too shabby either.

  • Conclusion

    Although crossovers and SUVs are going through a bit of an identity crisis, with some yearning to be off-roaders, and others longing for the race track, the RAV4 stays true to its purpose. It's a roomy, comfortable car capable of packing for a road trip or configuring for bringing a wide-screen TV home from Best Buy. It's not going to impress the neighbors, and it isn't going to win any time trials, but if you cared about those things you'd be shopping in a totally different segment.

  • Specs & Prices

    Engine:2.5-liter four-cylinder

    Transmission: 6-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive

    Power Output: 176 hp / 172 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg):22 city / 29 highway

    Price (base): $26,4000

    Price (as tested): $28,772 (includes $860 delivery fee)

    Available Features: Entune premium audio with navigation and app suite, USB port, hands-free-phone capability, HD radio, SiriusXM, V.I.P. security system, first aid kit, interior light kit.

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