Our review score: 8 / 10
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 may not be a perfect vehicle, but it does deliver enough goods to stand out in a very crowded market – particularly when it comes to interior comfort and fuel efficiency.
Despite what certain other reviews are saying about the vehicle, we like the new Toyota RAV4. It offers enough space to fit a family, while making them comfortable in every way you can imagine. Some of the interior tech gadgets are also worth a look, particularly the Entune infotainment system and the standard rearview camera, which are neat to see on a compact SUV for this price.
The main flaw that many reviewers cite is the vehicle’s mediocre four-cylinder engine since it seems to lack power. While we agree that this is indeed a weakness, the RAV4’s solid ride and responsive handling more than compensate for it.
If anything, we would at least recommend taking it out for a test drive. Here’s why:
Plenty of Space and Comfort
When Toyota introduced the current generation, along came several important changes to the cabin. One of them was the removal of the third seating row to increase the amount of cargo space. The good news is that those seats were too tight to be useful anyway, so this wasn’t a big loss. The amount of cargo space you now get, however, is 38.4 cubic feet, and you can increase it to 73.4 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats.
The back seats are just as comfortable as on the Honda CR-V, which means that they are both spacious and adjustable. You can easily recline and fold forward with just the flip of a lever – and thanks to the tall and wide doors, it’s easy for passengers of any age to slip in and out. At the front, the driver seat offers power adjustment and memory options as well as lumbar support. In addition, both front occupants get to enjoy heated seats.
If you want to benefit from the best interior materials and seat adjustment options on offer, then we recommend the Limited trim. Here you get plenty of contrasting colours, which add an upscale look to the vehicle for a very reasonable price. We especially liked the synthetic leather called SofTex, which makes the seats look more expensive than they are.
The lack of a tailgate-mounted spare is a nice change too since it makes it easier to access the cargo area than ever before. On top of this, the Limited trim comes with a standard power liftgate that you can program to open at a specific height in case your garage ceiling is low.
The Entune Infotainment System
The Entune infotainment system is another wonderful perk that the RAV4 has to offer thanks to all the available options. It comes with four different levels of touchscreen audio, with the highest two offering the App Suite that includes Bing, iHeartRadio, Pandora, OpenTable, Yelp and MovieTickets.com. The Suite also provides real-time traffic, weather, fuel price, stocks and sports updates that we are sure you will appreciate.
Even the base version of the system is no pushover, serving up a 6.1-inch display, Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/CD system with six speakers as well as auxiliary and USB inputs. The XLE version adds satellite and HD radio, and the Limited trim comes with navigation.
Solid Fuel Efficiency
While the RAV4 is not the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the world, it’s definitely fuel-efficient by family-vehicle standards.
Front-wheel drive models deliver 10 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. However, if you upgrade to all-wheel drive, then you will raise those numbers to 10.5 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 8.2 litres on the highway.
Thanks to its sharp corners and taut fender lines, the RAV4 is noticeably more aggressive than its predecessors. It’s not voluptuous like certain other crossovers, but it’s not blocky enough to be called a traditional SUV either. What we can say with certainty is that it’s very nice to look at – even if it’s not particularly outstanding.
2015 Nissan Rogue vs 2015 Toyota RAV4
Many car buyers tend to compare the RAV4 to the Nissan Rogue, which makes sense, given their similar nature and pricing.
We have noticed that the Rogue does seem to offer more features for less money, especially when it comes to lower trim levels. For instance, the base RAV4 lacks satellite radio, a rearview camera and an illuminated vanity mirror, all of which are present on the Rogue. The Limited trim does manage to surpass the Rogue though – but for a price.
For a more detailed comparison, be sure to check out this page.
The Toyota RAV4 is imperfect, but it looks prettier than the Mazda CX-5 and has more features than the Nissan Rogue – at least on higher trim levels. Its true rival is the Ford Escape, which surpasses it in almost every way, but we are sure the RAV4 will eventually match it.