The Toyota RAV4 is one of the of the segment's stalwarts and for good reason. The popular compact SUV recently participated in a comparison test that featured 5 other popular choices in the segment on an 800-mile road trip from Irvine, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, and back. The RAV4 was compared to the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee and Ford Escape in diverse driving conditions, and while the RAV4 does few things better than all the others, the entire package shines. The Honda CR-V, the RAV4's main competitor, has a strong grip on segment sales numbers by using the same strategy.
The RAV4 goes about its work in a meticulous way with help from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 176 horsepower. Paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the RAV4 has been rated by the EPA to achieve 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. An ECO button found on the dashboard helps keep fuel figures high but it takes the edge off an already tame engine. This drivetrain, while a bit crude when getting into the throttle, provided enough power to get up to freeway speeds in adequate time. Again, we believe this drivetrain puts fuel economy above all and during the comparison, the RAV4 achieved a little above its advertised 25 mpg combined fuel rating. The engine quiets down once you get up to speed and suddenly the cabin is calm again.
Over the course of 800 miles we had more than enough time to get acquainted with the RAV4's creature comforts, and appreciated Toyota's Entune infotainment system for offering both touchscreen and physical controls. Even with the optional sunroof open, the navigation screen was easy to see and it was responsive when inputting commands. After hours of logging mile after mile, the RAV4 didn't make you any worse for wear than when you started.
More Toyota RAV4
Previous RAV4 evaluation drives have included a trip to the Grand Canyon (with our video cameras) and a quest for fish tacos. Whether you want to watch or read about those trips, or just build and price your own RAV4, our Toyota RAV4 Editors' Page is the logical next step.