Toyota RAV4: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

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The Toyota RAV4 is a veteran in a segment of young crossovers, but its tried-and-true formula keeps buyer’s returning to showrooms. What do you need to know before you buy a Toyota RAV4? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.

The RAV4 is the perfect spy’s car. No, it’s not exciting. It’s not fast. It’s not sexy. It’s the car you’ve probably seen a million times, but never noticed. Heck, you might have driven in one before — no, you might have owned one and not noticed. The RAV4 is probably the most under-the-radar car in the industry. Its styling is conservative both inside and out, making it a great car for someone like Mr. Bond, who likes to remain incognito.


But you can’t fault the RAV4 for staying true to its roots. It began life in 1994 as a small, sensible, conservative crossover, and now in 2015, it still offers the safety, fuel economy, and reliability that brought those early adopters into dealerships. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I suppose.

What’s New About The 2015 Toyota RAV4


The fourth generation RAV4 debuted for the 2013 model year offering new styling inside and out, as well as a new standard 6-speed automatic transmission and a single 2.5-liter engine option. Ever since the major update in 2013, the RAV4 hasn’t received huge tweaks.

Which One We’d Buy

The RAV4 comes in three flavors: LE, XLE, and Limited. All trims come with the same engine and transmission — a 176 HP 2.5-liter I4 bolted to a 6-speed automatic — and feature a backup camera, keyless entry, air conditioning, power windows, eight airbags, Bluetooth, and even a limited slip differential as standard. If we were looking for a RAV4, we’d see if we could snag a deal on the $23,680 (plus $885 destination fee) base model. The standard options are plenty, and there’s no sacrifice in fuel economy, power, or handling by going with the cheaper car. Of course, if you can’t manage a deal on the ‘15 model, maybe wait a year for the refreshed vehicle to go on sale in the next few months. It can be had with a hybrid powertrain, which promises improved fuel economy. [Build Your Own]


Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $23,680 - $28,450 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 1,500 pounds

MPG: 24 city/ 31 hwy / 26 combined [2wd] Engines: 2.5-liter I4

Curb Weight: ~3,430 - 3,610 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick

Transmissions: 6-speed automatic transmission

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Toyota