2018 RAV4 New Car Test Drive
The Toyota RAV4 is roomy and popular, a compact crossover built on the front-wheel-drive Camry platform, with all-wheel drive available.
For 2018, RAV4 Adventure, a new model, joins the line with a very lightly lifted suspension (half an inch). The 2018 Toyota RAV4 marks the sixth year of the current-generation model. The exterior and interior were freshened for 2016.
RAV4 rivals include the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It's a competitive segment. The RAV4, CR-V, Rogue, and Escape are among the top 12 best-selling vehicles in the U.S.
Every RAV4 except the RAV4 Hybrid is powered by 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 176 horsepower, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a sport-shift mode. It's not quick, as it takes nearly nine seconds to accelerate to 60 miles per hour; and it's not thrifty, as its EPA fuel rating is a below-average 26 miles per gallon Combined.
The all-wheel-drive Hybrid, which gets 33 miles per gallon Combined, uses a 154-horsepower version of that 2.5-liter engine; connected to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, it brings 194 total horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard, with a separate electric motor driving the rear wheels. At very low speeds, it can run in electric-only mode.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the RAV4 a Top Safety Pick Plus, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives it five stars overall, with four stars in frontal-crash and rollover testing.
The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is available in 16 models. RAV4 LE ($24,410) comes with front-wheel drive, air conditioning, fabric seats, 17-inch steel wheels, and AM/FM/CD audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen.
All-wheel-drive ($1400) is an option on any model. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.
RAV4 SE AWD ($32,185) upgrades with SofTex seats, paddle shifters, firmer suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, cleaner grille and bumper, black headliner, heated front seats, power driver's seat, pushbutton start, LED headlamps and taillamps, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
RAV4 Limited adds Entune Premium Audio with navigation and app suite, a 7-inch touchscreen, driver's memory, and also Forward Collision Warning with automatic braking, Lane Departure Alert, adaptive cruise control, a pedestrian pre-collision system, and automatic high beams. A new four-camera Bird's Eye View Monitor gives a 360-degree view surrounding the car.
Also available: RAV4 AWD Adventure ($28,400); RAV4 XLE Hybrid AWD ($29,030); Hybrid Limited ($34,030); Platinum AWD ($36,150).
Eight airbags and a rearview camera are standard.