Toyota RAV4 Pros and Cons: What To Know When Weighing Your Decision

in Model Info and Features
White Toyota RAV4

Source: Pixabay

The undisputed king of the SUV segment is none other than the Toyota RAV4, at least as far as sales go. For many years, the Toyota RAV4 has been the reigning champ for the best-selling SUVs in America. It’s no surprise because the RAV4 is a true crowd-pleaser and everything most people need from a two-row SUV.

The combination of high reliability ratings and a roomy interior makes the RAV4 an attractive option for SUV buyers. Although the RAV4 is a super popular SUV, it’s far from a perfect vehicle, and like all models, it also has some weaker areas.

For today’s post, we’ll discuss the Toyota RAV4 pros and cons. What are the qualities of this SUV that made it popular? What are the potential downsides of owning a RAV4? Let’s take a look.

What We Love About the Toyota RAV4

Let’s start with the car’s strengths to begin this Toyota RAV4 pros and cons list.


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Contemporary, Rugged Styling

Although it’s the best selling in the segment, the Toyota RAV4 stands out from the mundane boxy utility vehicles. The recent RAV4s hit different high notes and have become more angular, giving them a more modern and rugged vibe. Taking some design cues from the Tacoma and 4Runner, the RAV4 features slim windows and a stylish low roofline. Moreover, the angular headlights, paired with the LED Daytime Running Lights and LED taillights, add to a delightfully modern design.

In addition, the RAV4’s different trims have a distinct look. For example, the TRD Off-Road receives 18-inch matte-black alloys and a split bar upper front grille.

Options for Off-Road Enthusiasts

Most SUVs aren’t designed for off-roading duties, but the RAV4 excels in this department. Fans of outdoor activities and off-road adventures will have a lot to love with the TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims. These RAV4 models come standard with all-wheel drive, but not the regular ones available on other trims. Instead, they have stability-enhancing features like a rear driveline disconnect and dynamic torque vectoring.

Furthermore, the RAV4 offers a downhill assist control that lets you maintain a certain speed as you descend steep hills and slopes. Plus, it has an impressive towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs. Overall, the RAV4 is a solid choice for those who want to travel off the beaten path.

Spacious and Well-Built Cabin

Many of you will use the RAV4 as a family hauler, so it’s great that it has a spacious cabin with suitable quality materials. Front passengers enjoy 41.0 inches of legroom and 39.5 inches of headroom, while rear passengers still have a decent 37.8 inches of legroom. The cabin has a fair amount of hard plastics and soft-touch materials in high-traffic areas. Plus, all creature comfort and infotainment features are intuitively designed for easy access.

Overall, the RAV4’s interior is a nice place to be in, delivering seating space and comfort.

Loads of High-Tech Features

To the delight of everyone inside, the RAV4 offers plenty of high-tech in-car entertainment features, especially as you go up the trim levels. The lower-end models come with a standard 7-inch touchscreen with loads of connectivity support, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM. Meanwhile, the TRD Off-Road, Hybrid XSE, and Limited models have an upgraded 9-inch unit.

On select higher trims, you may have optional features like a JBL premium speaker system, navigation, and wireless charging.

Time-Tested Reliability

At the end of the day, the greatest strength of the RAV4 is that it’s a Toyota – so you know it’s a reliable SUV that will serve you for decades, provided it’s given the right amounts of TLC. According to RepairPal, the Toyota RAV4 scored 4.0 out of 5.0 in reliability and has ranked 3rd out of 26 compact SUVs.

Like all vehicles, the RAV4 has reliable and unreliable years. Feel free to check out our write-up about the RAV4’s reliability and the years to avoid.

What We Don’t Like About the Toyota RAV4

This Toyota RAV4 pros and cons guide can’t be complete without touching on the negatives. Below are some reasons why a RAV4 may not be worth the investment.


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Lower Trims Feel Barebones

If you’ve shopped around for a RAV4 and feel like the entry-level trims feel basic, then you’re not wrong. The 2.5-liter four-pot engine powers all gas models, so you’re not missing in engine power when choosing the base model. However, many standard features can be limited and downright outdated, including non-power adjustable seats, manual climate controls, and analog gauges.

While it can be justified that you’re buying the most affordable model, you have to remember that the competitors like Kia and Honda have better offerings for their base models.

No Engine Options

Those who prefer a peppier engine will likely not appreciate the RAV’s lack of engine options. The four-cylinder engine isn’t exactly the slowest at 8 seconds to reach 0-60 mph, but it’s far from class-leading. For instance, the RAV4, with its 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft engine, is relatively slow compared to the Mazda CX-5 but only because the former has engine options.

The only real option for a better engine is to go hybrid, where you have access to 219 horses. Meanwhile, the RAV4 Prime’s 2.5-liter engine combined with the electric motors bolsters the performance to 302 hp.

Should You Buy a Toyota RAV4?

Wrapping up this Toyota RAV4 pros and cons, we give our verdict on whether you should buy it or not.

There’s a reason (or tons) why the Toyota RAV4 is one of the USA’s best-selling vehicles of all time. It offers something for everyone like competitive pricing, good fuel economy, excellent reliability, and a practical interior. Plus, the RAV4 is an ideal off-road companion, especially the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims.


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Sure, it has some weaker areas, like the uninspiring gas engine with slow acceleration, but it makes up for other areas. It’s one of the best value-for-money compact SUVs you can get right now.

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