While the Honda CR-V might have been the pioneer of the compact SUV market, there’s no question that the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is king of the class. Not only does the RAV4 come with your choice of either a four-cylinder or V6 (the CR-V isn’t available as a V6), but it’s also very attractive with a long list of great standard and optional features.

Key Features

Getting started on a hill can be a real worry for SUV owners, especially on those camping trips up to the mountains, but with the 2012 Toyota RAV4’s Hill Start and Downhill Assist control, your SUV will never roll backwards when you start. Likewise, the Downhill Assist will help you keep your speed down on steep descents to maintain better control.

The RAV4 also has a number of other safety features included in its Star Safety System, including but not limited to enhanced electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and increased vehicle stability control (VSC). These features will help you avoid accidents and other dangerous situations, keeping you and your family safe on the road.

Changes for 2012

All 2012 Toyota RAV4 models come with standard Bluetooth phone connectivity for hands-free talking and music streaming. If you go with the RAV4 Limited, you can also get Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with navigation.

What We Like

The RAV4 is very fuel efficient, and it’s definitely versatile. We like that it’s designed to feel great when driving around town but also to stand up to really rough terrain, as well.

What Concerns Us

While the V6 option is great and the fuel economy is very attractive, we wouldn’t recommend this vehicle for anyone who has a large family or if you think that you’ll need a third bench. You don’t want to find out that you need the extra space after you buy your SUV.

Available Models

Though you can choose from different features in different trims, the big decision with the RAV4 is the engine:

  • 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder

  • 179 HP at 6000 RPM

  • 172 lb-ft at 4000 RPM

  • 22/28 MPG (city/highway)

  • 3.5-liter V6

  • 269 HP at 6200 RPM

  • 246 lb-ft at 4700 RPM

  • 19/27 MPG (city/highway)

Major Recalls

There have been a few recalls for the 2012 Toyota RAV4 due to issues with the occupant sensing system’s calibration, an inaccurate label for the load carrying capacity, a potentially malfunctioning brake actuator assembly, and an inoperative windshield wiper. All of these issues can be addressed with a Toyota dealer.

Common Issues

The most common problem reported by 2012 Toyota RAV4 owners is the vehicle surging when coming to a stop. In most cases, this is covered by the recall and is not a problem after you take it to your Toyota dealership.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Toyota RAV4 and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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