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2011 Toyota RAV4

Overview
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2011 Toyota RAV4 Review

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The 2011 Toyota RAV4 has come along way from the cute little two-door pop-top of 1996. Toyota's smallest SUV has left its long-time rival, the Honda CR-V, in the feature-content dust by offering seating for seven, a low-cost navigation option 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 Kia Sorento, 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-mid-size 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 2011 Toyota RAV4 is a good choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If 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 Significant About This Car?

For 2011, base models can be equipped with a Upgrade Value Package that includes among other things a six-disc CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, XM Satellite Radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), a power moonroof, a roof rack and privacy glass.

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 179-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.

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.

2011 Toyota RAV4 Details
Interior

The 2011 RAV4 offers slightly more rear seat head room than the Honda CR-V, and 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 2011 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 split-grille's trapezoidal opening flows into the front bumper, with the available fog light housing sculpted into the lower side fascia. 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. Customers who opt for the new Sport Appearance Package lose the rear spare and gain a set of four run-flat tires.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All three trim levels have an automatic transmission, electronic stability and traction control, 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, Smart Key entry, 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,a rear camera with built in rearview mirror monitor, third-row seat, cargo area net and a tow package that increases towing capacity to 3,500 pounds. An Upgrade Value Package with six-disc CD player, moonroof, 17-inch wheels and roof rack is also on the table. Available options on the Sport include a power moonroof with sunshade, leather seats, heated front seats, DVD navigation and a JBL six-disc CD changer with nine speakers, Bluetooth 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. Unlike many competitors, the RAV4's navigation system can't be paired with the top-of-the-line audio system – in this case the JBL upgrade.

Under the Hood

Toyota provides a choice of a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), or a potent VVT-i V6. The former is one of the most 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 recently introduced four-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift control to reduce gear hunting, while the V6 is fitted with a five-speed automatic.

2.5-liter in-line 4
179 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (2WD), 21/27 (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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2011 Toyota RAV4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 652 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

Solid little vehicle, just like a Swiss Army knife

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,750

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good value, fun to drive and practical"

Cons: "Cheap interior, with squeaks and rattles"

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

"Its been a good car so far. Bought is as a lease return with 30K mi and now has 50K mi on it. Good gas mileage (4cyl) - honestly the new ones don't get any better MPG at 23.9 of mostly in town driving. Good power for the base motor, perfect for around town. Very practical car and has a flexible layout for hauling stuff. Makes those Ikea trips a breeze. I even crammed a queen size mattress into this rig, no problem! Some gripes include less than stellar interior build quality with some rattles and creaks. Switches feel loose and made of cheap plastic. Brakes make all kinds of noises when first backing out and driving off. Suspension not as refined as some competitors. Bottom line: its a great point A to B car. A great appliance if you don't want any hassles."

great accel., comfortable, tight handling, stable.

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Handles very well in any weather/road cond."

Cons: "Shoulder room silghtly small (for 200+lb guy)."

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

"This medium-size SUV has the best match of engine and transmission I've ever driven. Excellent highway passing gear. Very stable on turns, esp. for an SUV. Rear seat is mounted on rails, so it slides to make the rear seating and cargo areas bigger/smaller, depending on momentary needs (just like a front seat). Clear dash array. Handles beautifully on two-lane blacktops. The all-wheel drive is unstoppable on ice, snow, sand. (I've never used or needed snow tires on this car.) Lots of electronically-controlled drive-train adjustors. 2012 is the last model-year before the RAV4 was revamped; the 6-cyl. is no longer available for 2013 and beyond."

Good solid value with strong v6 engine

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "low cost to maintain, strong v6 engine, & reliable"

Cons: "cabin noise at highway speeds"

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

"Efficient design and has great utility for size.Only complaint is highway noise in cabin.Very few maintenance problems."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

This SUV gets close to 30 MPG. Has great pick-up.

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 121,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gets great gas mileage."

Cons: "Minor paint chips and minor crack in windshield"

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

"This SUV (Toyota Rav4 Sport)gets approximately 30 MPG on Highway and 24 in the City. Has great pick-up. This SUV has AWD and rides great. I've had this car since I drove it off the lot. It gets its regular maintenance (Oil Changes - 5W20 synthetic oil every 7500 miles). The tires are brand new and have less than 9K miles on them. This is a good family car and is safe to drive. Has all the floor mats and cargo mat with Tonneau cover in rear area. The minor crack in windshield has been treated at windshield repair and has remained this way since March 2014."

Oil Consumption - I give it a 10

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

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

"We fill the oil twice a week with a minimum of 1.5 quarts. The Toyota Motor Company finally ordered a Warranty Enhancement to remedy the situation! If you have a 2007, check it out at your closest Toyota dealer! Good luck!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Oil Burner

By on Sunday, April 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Big trunk"

Cons: "Oil burner"

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

"This car burns a tremendous amount of oil. I get the oil changed every 3,000 miles and have had to have it topped off twice between changes. I only drive 16 miles round trip to work."

5 people out of 11 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?