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2008 Toyota RAV4

Overview
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2008 Toyota RAV4 Review

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The 2008 Toyota RAV4 underwent a major evolution in 2006, growing in size and price. Toyota's smallest SUV left its long-time rival, the Honda CR-V, in the feature-content dust by offering seating for seven and an optional V6 engine. Moving upscale can have its drawbacks, however, and the current RAV4's conservative styling might be the most noticeable of those. Where the RAV4 was once aimed at young singles with active lifestyles, the new vehicle caters to young couples with active two-year olds. While there are better equipped and less expensive seven-passenger SUVs on the market (the Hyundai Santa Fe, for example), none have the RAV4's impeccable quality, reliability reputation or strong resale value.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a small-to-midsize Japanese-built sport utility vehicle that combines car-like performance, ride, handling and fuel economy with available four-wheel drive and room for up to seven passengers, or five adults and a fair amount of cargo, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 is a good choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you prefer a domestic or European brand and/or your needs include heavy duty hauling or towing or serious off-road rambling, you may want to look elsewhere. There are many fine competitors in this class, including some that may offer a combination of attributes, price and value that are better suited to your tastes and needs.

What's New for 2008

The Limited trim receives a standard immobilizer feature, which is optional on the base and Sport.

Driving the RAV4

Driving Impressions Toyota engineers have achieved their objective of car-like driving dynamics in a practical SUV package. High-strength steel increases the body's rigidity for improved ride, handling, steering and (if...

necessary) crash energy management, weighs less and reduces noise, vibration and harshness. Improved sealing and insulation keeps most engine noise out of the cabin, except for some (un-Toyota-like) engine harshness at wide-open throttle, even with the V6. Elimination of outer moldings around the windshield and door glass helps reduce aerodynamic drag and wind noise. While the 166-horsepower four-cylinder is more than adequate with light loads and at lower elevations, the 269-horsepower V6 offers acceleration, pulling and passing power at or near the top of this class and is recommended for heavier loads and higher altitudes.

Star Safety System
This comprehensive system integrates five active electronic safety features -- enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Brake Assist -- to help avoid accidents, and one passive safety feature (multi-stage front airbags) to cushion occupants should a crash occur. The VSC is assisted by "cooperative steering control" and, on four-wheel-drive models, "cooperative four-wheel-drive system control." Driver and front passenger side-impact airbags and front- and second-row roll-sensing side-curtain airbags are available as stand-alone options.

Hill Start and Downhill Assist Control
Toyota's second-generation Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) automatically prevents the vehicle from rolling backward for two to three seconds when starting from a stop on an uphill slope. Downhill Assist Control (DAC), when activated by the driver, keeps the vehicle's speed to a crawl on steep descents. Both are standard on all V6 models and four-cylinder RAV4s with the optional third-row seat.

2008 Toyota RAV4 Details
Interior

The 2008 RAV4 offers nearly six inches more second-row legroom and an inch-and-a-half more head and shoulder room than the previous-generation models. The 60/40 reclining middle-row seats adjust fore and aft and fold flat with levers on their sides or (on two-row models) a one-touch lever in the cargo hold. The available third-row seat folds flat into the same space in the rear where standard RAV4s have hidden under-floor storage. Base RAV4s get durable fabric-covered seats, while higher-level cloth dresses Limited and Sport models, the latter in dark charcoal. The center cluster, door trim and steering wheel spokes are brushed metallic-look plastic. Lighted front cupholders, a console cell phone holder, an extra storage compartment above the glove box and a deep rear storage bin are notable features.

Exterior

The third-generation RAV4 is more substantial and less "cute" than the original, with contemporary but conventional good looks. Only the triangular rear C-pillar and vertically-wrapped taillamps are somewhat unusual, reminding us (in profile) of the very unconventional Nissan Murano. The trapezoidal grille opening, sitting atop an integrated body-color bumper with two large cooling slots, displays a hefty Toyota logo on twin horizontal bars. The spare tire, mounted to the right of center on the rear door -- which, unfortunately and inconveniently, swings open from the driver's side (curb side in Japan) -- has a color-keyed cover with a full hard shell on Limited models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All three trim levels have an automatic transmission, front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, rear privacy glass, power mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, three 12-volt outlets, 10 cupholders, cruise control and AM/FM/CD six-speaker audio with MP3/WMA and a mini-plug jack. The Limited adds 17-inch tires on six-spoke alloy wheels (in place of the 16-inch steel wheels of the base model), fog lights, heated outside mirrors, six-disc CD changer, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio controls, eight-way (plus lumbar) power driver's seat, cargo area net and tonneau cover, engine immobilizer system and a chrome grille. The Sport trim gets much of this plus 18-inch performance tires and wheels, sport suspension, blackout headlamp trim and fender flares.

Optional Equipment

Options for the base model include the six-disc CD changer, daytime running lights, black painted roof rails and cross bars, 17-inch wheels and tires, third-row seat, cargo area net and tonneau cover and (with the V6 only) a tow package that increases towing capacity to 3,500 pounds. Available options on the Sport include a power moonroof with sunshade and a JBL six-disc CD changer with nine speakers and steering wheel audio controls. The Limited offers optional leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with rear-seat audio.

Under the Hood

Toyota provides a choice of a 166-horsepower version of its 2.4-liter Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) four-cylinder engine, or a potent VVT-i V6. The former is one of the more powerful fours in this segment, while the latter, pumping out a claimed best-in-class 269 horsepower, is good for zero to 60 miles per hour bursts in slightly under seven seconds. The four-cylinder engine drives through a four-speed automatic transmission and the V6 is fitted with a five-speed automatic.

2.4-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 (2WD), 20/25 (4WD)

3.5-liter V6
269 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
246 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (2WD), 19/26 (4WD)

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 624 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Very reliable vehicle have never had a problem.

By on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "great reliable all the time. very good value"

Cons: "could use a little longer leg room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The only thing I had to do so far was change tires and the battery. Great reliable vehicle. Fourth one I have owned,"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I love the RAV 4.

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Easy to drive and comfortable"

Cons: "I would've like better mileage or hybrid"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I sold a Tacoma I had for 10 years to purchase my RAV 4 so I would still have the utility but could seat children safely and with more room. It has never disappointed me in city or on the highway."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Good car all around.

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great handling, reliable, V6 0-60 like a miata"

Cons: "no real cons."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is an extended vehicle (made on in Japan) with a third row of back seats available (for children primariy). It has been subject to one recall."

Best one I've had

By on Saturday, November 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "performance, handling, fuel economy"

Cons: "Heavy use of plastic inside. No squeeks."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife bought a lexus to replace a pontiac. General motors quality went into the sewer so we thought we'd try something else. At 85K the lexus was still like new so I bought a rav 4, for the size and to have a 4WD. I loved it the day I brought it home and love it today as much. This thing with a V-6 is amazing for power and the sports handling is like a sports car. The seats seem hard but even on a long trip they feel like they mold to you and never wear you out. I average 26 mpg on the highway and 22 in the ozarks on the curves and hills. I have never been as happy with any car as this."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Very Good Vehicle

By on Saturday, October 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage 22 city 29 highway"

Cons: "Safety auto door locks and headlights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Just some of the safety features such as automatic locks, auto lights, that come standard with most vehicles I sort of expected are not there. On long trips not comfortable seats."

13 people out of 17 found this review helpful

I love my Rav4!

By on Friday, October 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price. Easy, fun, reliable. Just ok on gas."

Cons: "Radio display goes out at times. Pricey oil change"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The Rav4 is a zippy little SUV with nice accessories for the price. I bought it brand new in 2011, so I had free maintenance for the first two years or so. It was a bit of a shock once that was over to find out an oil change (synthetic blend) costs around $80, but other than that, I have no real complaints. It is a very reliable vehicle and has been virtually trouble free. Please note that the RAV4 got an overhaul, style- and accessory-wise in 2012, so I can't really speak to the newest version out there. The one issue that I have is from time to time, the display on the radio will spaz out or go off completely. Not sure what causes it. Newer RAV4s have a touch screen for the radio."

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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