The Toyota RAV4 got the whole compact crossover segment started 20 years ago as a new kind of vehicle that people didn’t even know they wanted. But a lot of people wanted it enough to make the segment one of the largest today, with the current generation RAV4 one of its strongest sellers.
Now in its third season, the current-generation, RAV4 exemplifies the qualities that keep it a perennial hit. Customers love its sharp-edged styling and roomy, versatile five-seat cabin. The interior has a premium look and feel with soft-touch accents and driver-centric controls.
Sure to get attention in any weather, RAV4 drives into 2015 with a new Blizzard Pearl Premium Package for the RAV4 Limited grade. This special package dresses the already stylish RAV4 in Blizzard Pearl paint and new 18-inch machine-finished wheels with black painted pockets.
At the opposite end of the thermometer, new Hot Lava paint joins the lineup. The one-touch power liftgate with driver-selectable memory height settings,standard on the Limited, is now an option for the XLE grade. The XLE gets new 17-inch Superchrome alloy wheels for 2015.
Though taking up a smallish parking space outside, the RAV4 is cavernous inside, with ample room for five adults and 38.4 cu. ft. of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. With the 60/40 split rear seats folded, that space expands to 73.4 cu. ft. Rear seat legroom is a competitive 37.2 inches.
The front seats feature a slim seat back design to enhance rear-passenger knee room. The rear seatbacks also recline several degrees for added passenger comfort. Rear privacy glass is standard on all RAV4 models. Retractable rear seat head restraints aid rear visibility.
Practicality meets fun with the RAV4’s 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine. Coupled to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, the engine smoothly delivers 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. With front-wheel drive, the RAV4 has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city / 31 mpg highway. With Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive, the EPA estimates are 22/29 mpg, on regular-grade gasoline.
The RAV4’s smooth ride, handling agility and cabin quietness owes much to a body structure that makes extensive use of high-strength steel to provide a robust and stiff yet light platform. The MacPherson strut front suspension and a double-wishbone rear suspension let the RAV4 absorb bumps, ruts and railroad crossings with composure. A strut tower bar links the tops of the front strut towers to the main bulkhead, helping to increase torsional rigidity.
The RAV4 shares a major bit of technology with its larger sibling, the Highlander. In fact, it was the RAV4 that debuted the sophisticated Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive system. By coordinating through a high-speed interactive management system with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and electric power steering systems, Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive enhances performance, handling and safety.
This advanced AWD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in the rear differential. Dynamic Torque Control uses input from various sensors (vehicle speed, steering speed and angle, throttle angle and yaw rate) to actively govern torque distribution to the rear wheels, as needed.