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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 645 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned

By on Sunday, March 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Utilitarian, economical, practical for family life"

Cons: "Seats could be more plush."

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

"I bought this vehicle new because I had three small grandkids who wanted to hang out with me on the weekends and my small car was a little tight for that. I researched small SUVs and found that the Toyota Rav 4 seemed perfect for me. I have found that not only the interior capacity is perfect but also my Rav 4 is exceptionally reliabile. The only thing I've done is go for regular milestone maintenance. It drives like a dream. Very comfortable and drives like a car which is what I am used to. Another bonus from having a car like drive is the ability to see what's ahead of me more easily since I am sitting higher up. I would highly recommend this vehicle due to it's reliability."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Dependable

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great handling, stereo system, fun to drive"

Cons: "no Sirius radio"

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

"This has been one of the most dependable vehicles I've ever owned. It's also a fun vehicle, with a great stereo system, bluetooth for my cell and the moon roof. It handles more like a car than a truck."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Love for Toyota

By on Monday, March 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fold down seats, great sound for factory speakers,"

Cons: "Non this far"

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

"I bought this vehicle in November. I sold my Toyota Tacoma 4X4 for this car. Over all I am very pleased with my purchase. I love the room that the vehicle has. I have taken it on two road trips and it was a comfortable ride! I love the power it has. Don't step on the gas, If you gently hit the gas then once its going it goes! I have taken it on a dirt road. It handled very nicely, did not fish tail or slide around. I was very impressed with this because its not 4X4. Over all I love my new car. It took some getting use to, but I am pleased with my purchase. Now the real truth how many miles with this car drive~!~!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

good maneuvering

By on Saturday, March 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "easy to drive"

Cons: "freezing windows"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Ready to trade in my lease and I really enjoy this SUV. It drives and handles well, ( I am a fast driver) V6. Snow is no problem with the 4WD and height of vehicle. Materials inside are a bit cheap in my limited. Sight lines are good, storage adequate. Side opening rear door is really not an issue, and the exterior full size spare tire leaves more interior room. Cons: windows and doors freeze shut constantly, moonroof very noisy when open (needs optional shield) mileage not the best but ok. Brakes noise in rainy conditions. The 2013 changed completely which leaves me in a quandary. No V6, spare is tiny and takes storage room away, NO 4WD. AWD is only opton. 2015 is no better for my likes."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Simple, powerful and dependable

By on Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

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
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Power, fun to drive, boxy looks, dependable"

Cons: "Interior is simple and has cheap plastic."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I own a 2012 Rav4 limited V6 4WD. I love to drive this car because of good acceleration, pickup & speed. The driving position is also very commanding and visibility is good. I don't have any strong dislikes just that the interior could be better considering what current cars like san fe, escape etc has. And some time road noise is little bit more but not bothersome. Because of the power, it makes easy to pass other vehicles on road. If I were to trade in my car for a new car (not till 100k miles), I would definitely go for bigger & better san fe or highlander."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle for the price!

By on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "The seating could be a bit more comfortable."

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

"Handles very well, is very reliable. The features included are great and I've even used this vehicle for camping. A full sized air mattress fits in the back when you put the seats down. The rear compartment is great for hauling things and makes unloading easy. I would definitely buy another Toyota RAV4. I've owned many different vehicles over the years and this vehicle is an excellent value for the price."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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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

Buying this car?