The Bottom Line
- Solid build quality.
- Surprising performance.
- Chunky good looks.
- Some interior surfaces feel cheap.
- Too big to be small, too small to be big.
- Available third row is tiny.
- Base prices from $22,485 to $30,750
- Engine: 2.5 L I-4; 3.5 L V6
- Horsepower: 179 @ 6,000 rpm (I4); 269 @ 6,200 (V6)
- Torque: 172 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm (I4); 246 @ 4,700 (V6)
- Curb Weight: 3,360 - 3,699
- Fuel Economy: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway (I4 FWD)/ 21 / 27 (I4 AWD); 19 / 27 (V6 FWD)/ 19 / 26 (V6) AWD)
- Wheelbase: 104.7” Vehicle Length: 178.7" - 181.9” Width: 71.5” - 73.0" Height: 66.3" - 69.1”
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles basic; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain
- Cargo: 73.0 cubic feet Behind 2nd row: 36.4 - 37.2 cubic feet Luggage (in 3-row models): 12.3 cubic feet
- Transmission: 4-speed automatic with I4; 5-speed automatic with V6
Guide Review - 2010 Toyota RAV4
It had been a while since I had driven a Toyota RAV4, so I borrowed a 2010 4x2 model for a week (base price $21,500; $23184 as tested) to refresh my memory. The good news is that I still like the compact SUV. I was particularly impressed with the performance from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the RAV4's hood. With 179 hp, it was sprightly enough to jump ahead of traffic in the jackrabbit race that is the norm at every Los Angeles stoplight, and it had no trouble keeping up with the Joneses on the freeway (when traffic moved at all, that is). Even with my heavy right foot, I averaged 23 mpg during my two tanks full of regular gas. Unless you regularly carry a full load of passengers or freight, I'd opt for the I4 over the V6 engine (even though I would love to have the additional 90 hp that come with the extra two cylinders).
I was a little disappointed with some of the interior finishes in the RAV4. I've developed a real aversion to poorly-textured plastics, even in entry-level vehicles. But Toyota, and its junior brand Scion, have shown such great ability with surfaces in so many of their vehicles that the textures on the RAV4's dash let me down. Come on, Toyota! You can do better.
Other than a few cheap panels, though, I was quite impressed with RAV4's spacious interior. I was quite comfortable in the driver's seat, even on long rides. With a passenger beside me, I didn't feel cramped. The second row, while a bit hard and firm, was also quite roomy, and would be fine for a ride around town. I wouldn't want to sit back there on a cross-country trip, but I don't think many RAV4s are getting that kind of use anyway. My test vehicle didn't have the optional ($1,320) third row seat, which I would only opt for if I had kids and their friends to transport on a regular basis.
Outside, RAV4 is quite good looking, in my opinion. It is possible to wrap your RAV4 in body side moldings and Sport accessories, but I think the CUV looks best plain. It's actually quite masculine, and a little more youthful than the CR-V, its closest competitor.
In the battle for compact SUV supremacy, RAV4 and CR-V are still at the top of the heap. CR-V outsells RAV4, but I lean more toward RAV4 because it retains a touch more "SUV" than CR-V does. The other competition is gaining rapidly, especially Kia and Hyundai. It seems like time for a new RAV4 to emerge, but for now, the old RAV4 is running strong.