By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The RAV4 is the crossover SUV that takes credit for starting the segment back in 1995. Nearly two decades later, crossover SUVs have exploded in popularity because of their versatility, fuel economy and car-like handling. 2013 marks the fourth generation for the revamped RAV4. With it, Toyota's smallest SUV receives a much-needed styling update, new technology and more miles per gallon of gasoline. Class-leading interior room remains. Buying the newest RAV4 is now a simpler affair with fewer choices: just three trims, one engine and one transmission. An all-electric version with the old body style remains for sale in California. The RAV4 can't quite match the comfort of archrival Honda CR-V or the driving dynamics of the Ford Escape, but it remains a well-rounded SUV with a history of reliability and good resale value.
If a smaller, well-equipped SUV with seating for five and good fuel economy is on your to-buy list, it's hard to ignore the RAV4. Sharp looks, competitive pricing and a strong reliability history further bolster its appeal. Those seeking an all-electric SUV will only find it in the 2013 RAV4 EV.
The new RAV4 doesn't have the most powerful engine, the best fuel economy, or the lowest price in this segment. More power can be had in the Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, while the Mazda CX-5 has a lower starting price and a higher fuel-economy rating.
The RAV4 receives fresh styling inside and out, a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, rearview camera and touchscreen control center, and safety technology such as blind-spot monitoring. Gone are the 3rd-row seat and impressively powerful V6 engine available in past models. 2013 RAV4 EV models are unchanged from their 2012 debut models.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Toyota RAV4 feels well-balanced in just about every way. With a 0-60 mph time under nine seconds, off-the-line acceleration is adequate for getting up to speed on freeways...without fear of being rear-ended by a semi-truck. Steering feel and overall comfort are good for this class of vehicle. In addition to the normal driving mode, the RAV4 now features a "Sport" mode that quickens throttle response and sharpens the steering response. The "Eco" mode, conversely, mutes throttle response in an effort to be more miserly with fuel, but we found ourselves quickly turning it off since it made acceleration feel laggardly. The RAV4 EV, meanwhile, is one mean green machine. With peak torque of 273 lb-ft from its electric motor, the RAV4 EV is surprisingly quick. In sport mode it can zip to 60 mph in seven seconds. In ordinary driving the RAV4 EV felt comfortable and composed. Its EPA-rated range is 103 miles.
Once a safety feature reserved for luxury vehicles, this option is now available in the RAV4 to warn you when drivers enter the side area of your vehicle that you can't see. Additionally, the system has Rear Cross Traffic Alert to warn you when other vehicles are approaching as you back up.
CAVERNOUS CARGO CAPACITY
Toyota's team has again worked their interior design magic to create even more room in the RAV4. Cargo volume behind the front seats has increased to a class-leading 73.4 cubic feet, and with rear seats that fold flat, all that real estate is easy to fill and use.
Now coming only as a 2-row, 5-passenger affair, the 2013 RAV4's interior appears two steps ahead of the last model. Even base LE trims have contrasting colors, always a good antidote for blandness. The only piece out of step is faux carbon-fiber cladding around the door stills and gearshift lever. Leather is no longer an option in top models, which now receive a leather-like material called Softex that's also in the RAV4 EV. We found the driver's seat comfortable even in base models with cloth, and especially so in the Limited trim with Softex and added lumbar support. The ability to drive in Eco or Sport mode is nice to have, but accessing the buttons low in the dash is awkward while driving. Rear legroom has decreased, but is still good. One-pull folding rear seats are easy to operate.Exterior
One of the biggest aspects of the RAV4's 2013 redesign is something that's missing: the spare tire that has resided on the rear of these SUVs ever since they were tiny 2-door runabouts in the mid-1990s. That isn't the only relevant change at the RAV4's posterior. The compact SUV now has a rear door that swings up instead of out, which makes it easier to access and helps shield you from rain as you load groceries. Top-line Limited models feature a power liftgate that can be adjusted to raise to a customized height. The limited-production RAV4 EV retains a modified body from the last-generation RAV4.
The 2013 RAV4 is available in three trims: LE, XLE and Limited. Base LE models come nicely equipped with 6-speed automatic transmission, 6.1-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, and an AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and auxiliary/USB inputs. XLE trims add a power moonroof, 17-inch allow wheels, dual-zone climate control, and front seats with extra bolstering and French stitching. Limited models are highlighted by a power liftgate, Softex leather-like seating (heated in front), 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed steering wheel, and push-button starting. RAV4 EVs are loaded with features like dual-zone climate control, navigation display and Toyota's Entune smartphone-enabled system. 2013 RAV4s have eight airbags (six for the EV), antilock brakes, stability control, and traction control.
All trims of the RAV4 can be had with all-wheel drive, which enhances traction in wet weather and on dirt roads. Other options vary by trim level and include a navigation system with Toyota's Entune telematics system that includes voice recognition and various apps for everything from making reservations to finding sports scores, JBL premium audio system with 11 speakers, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. For the RAV4 EV model, a Level 2, Leviton 240-volt home charging system is available.
The 2013 RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 176 horsepower, enough to get the SUV up to speed in a decent – but not the quickest – manner. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. Fuel economy has improved to up to 31 mpg/highway, and the 2013 RAV4 will eagerly tow up to 1,500 pounds. The limited-production RAV4 EV has an AC induction motor, lithium-ion battery, and single-speed automatic transmission. All RAV4 EV models are front-wheel drive and not rated for towing. Charging can take over 40 hours on a standard 120-volt outlet, but decrease to as low as five hours on a 40-amp, 240-volt outlet.
176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (front-wheel drive), 22/29 mpg (all-wheel drive)
AC induction motor
273 lb-ft torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 78/74 mpg equivalent
Range on a full charge: 103 miles
By WVUFAN on Friday, November 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the blind spot signals and back up camera."
Cons: "Too many cheap downgrades."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is my third Rav4. My husband is still driving the 2007, with over 100,000 miles on it. We have never had a serious problem with it. I had a new 2012 with only 8,000 miles on it when I was hit and my car rolled twice on an interstate. The car was totaled. I walked away with some scratches and bruises. I credit that to the car's safety features and God. I immediately bought a 2013 to replace it, without a lot of thought to the changes in it except for the rear hatch now being opened from the top. After I bought the car, I realized that Toyota had actually cheapened down the car. Gone are the extra console compartment, the second closed glove box and the little change and garage door opener cubbies. Not to mention the 110 plug in and the digital radio controls. The carpet is replaced with a cheap-looking material along with the sound-proofing. The road noise is really loud, and the wind noise around the Windows is really bad. As far as driving, it is ok, but not as quick on the take-off as my 6 cylinder 2012. The storage in the back was cut down for a place for the under-sized spare tire. That is a big downgrade as far as I am concerned. And why did they take out those great handles to lay the seats down from the back? It seems like they took all of the best features out. I do love the backup camera and the blind-spot signals are wonderful. But why did they put a switch on the dash to turn them off? The controls stuck on the left hand side of the dash are very hard to see, and very awkward to use. Too easy to push the wrong button. All in all, I would not recommend this car, nor will I buy another Toyota. So disappointing!!!"
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Toyota fan on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling, fuel efficient, safety features"
Cons: "Missing a few nice to have features."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased the 2014 Rav4 AWD Limited about 3 weeks ago. This vehicle was to replace a 2006 Toyota Sequoia. Granted there is no comparison between the two SUVs other than they are both Toyota and both Limited models. While the new Rav4 is great, I too noticed a small list of features that were missing. Here are a few observations. As mentioned in other reviews, there is no sunglasses compartment and no power port in the arm rest. No home link for the garage doors. Door pocket storage is very limited. Finally, perhaps the most glaring short-coming is the the passenger seat is leather and heated, but not power! Come on Toyota my 2006 had all had all of this because it was the Limited model. I purchased the most fully equipped 2014 Rav4 I could find, however Toyota failed to provide these small, but meaningful features. Okay now some of the good stuff. The handling is great and the fuel economy is as stated, maybe a little better, time will tell. I opted for a model with the "Technology Package" which includes the standard rear-view camera, rear cross traffic alert detection, bind spot monitoring and alerts, lane departure alert system and automatic high-beams. This is really helpful because it helps keep you more aware of traffic and people around you. I also purchased an aftermarket receiver hitch which was so easy to install because Toyota provides the threaded weld nuts in the frame. (Toyota wanted 3X the price for their hitch, buy aftermarket and install yourself). The Nav system is good,but I would like a the screen to be larger. Finally the JBL sound system is very nice, not Bose, but very nice. Overall, I really like this Rav4 and look forward to keeping it for at least a decade."
13 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By jim on Monday, November 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very functional."
Cons: "Seats and clunking."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Major complaints are the soft tex seat covering. In the summr you get a wet butt. Their soft but don't breath. More like old vinyl seat covers. Rear clunks on rough roads. But, I'd definitly buy one again."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By johnny on Thursday, October 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Has a lot of great options like navigation and AWD"
Cons: "What is there not to like."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This Rave4 is just great. It looks sporty and is a joy to drive. It also keeps its value better than any other car I have owned."
13 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By kart180 on Sunday, October 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome infotainment system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"bought the new RAV4 from my local dealer. Great suv with good system with navigation. The one I bought was with special JBL speakers and paint."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By WoodlandCali on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, Power, Suspension, Cargo, Reliable"
Cons: "Towing only 1500lbs, No HID lights. No LED DRL."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own this car after looking at all, and i mean all compact SUV vehicles. Took me 13 auto-mall hrs to choose and this Rav4 was the most powerful 4cyl engine I ever drove. A way to test drive was freeway on-ramp with 4 adults taking two salesmen on the ride. If the car you driving cant pick up to speed to get on freeway like a small powerful car then you will waste your time or have that sluggish takeoff. Roads are not getting safer and a car this size that cant accelerate in a case of an emergency can make a huge difference. Gas mileage was amazing and the ride height is at average level, safer. The vehicle downside to my needs was the low towing capacity going from a 3500lbs tow to 1500lbs on the redesigned model. No V6 engine so that forces you to upgrade to highlander if needed. No more 7 seat but that only gives you the room this small SUV should of had from day one. Materials inside are moderate to high grade. Seats are amazingly comfy with no issues. The rear seats recline enough to seriously take a nap. The vehicle is waaaay too quiet but that is a good thing. The suspension on this car feels too soft but it was very responsive and almost air ride quality. The blue crush color is the sporty looking of the Rav4. I have to say that this is one of the best cars I have ever owned in my life. Toyota seriously kicked some butt with this model and year. Test drive one and be amazed for yourself."
28 people out of 37 found this review helpful