KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/7/2013
While it's true the RAV4 started the whole compact-crossover SUV genre, lately it has taken a backseat to competitors offering more features, better fuel economy and better styling. Some buyers may not like the deletion of the V6 engine option, but we think most will appreciate Toyota's newfound commitment to better ergonomics and interior materials. Features such as a standard rearview camera show Toyota's push toward customer safety. Another area important to consumers is fuel economy, and while not bad, the RAV4's EPA numbers are bested by competitors such as the Mazda CX-5 and all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester. Likewise, the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape offer a more dynamic driving experience, while the Subaru Forester and VW Tiguan offer more powerful turbocharged engines. An all-electric version remains for sale in California.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're shopping for a compact SUV with good cargo space, a car-like ride and a low sticker price, the 2014 Toyota RAV4 is worth a look. Audio buffs will love the straightforward Entune audio system that includes apps and Bluetooth audio streaming. Those seeking an all-electric SUV will only find it in the 2014 RAV4 EV.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for power, handling or off-road ability, the 2014 RAV4 won't impress you. The AWD Subaru Forester offers a powerful turbocharged engine and is more capable when the road turns from asphalt to dirt. The Ford Escape and VW Tiguan also offer turbocharged engines and better handling.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Toyota RAV4 gains four new Entune audio choices, including Entune Apps Suite on up-level trims. The Limited gets a new Technology Package option that includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert and Auto High Beam. The battery-powered model carries over unchanged and is based on the prior-generation RAV4.
A short time behind the wheel of the Toyota's RAV4 for 2014 reveals a vehicle that is well-balanced, quiet at highway speeds and smooth riding over most surfaces. Acceleration is tepid but acceptable, with the RAV4 making the 0-60-mph run in under 10 seconds. To help when passing or merging, Toyota equips the RAV4 with a Sport mode that quickens throttle response and holds shift points longer; the Sport setting also firms up the steering feel. The system includes an Eco mode aimed at maximizing fuel economy at the expense of acceleration. Eco mode is fine if you're not in a hurry, but we found the lazy throttle response annoying, leaving the system in the Normal mode for most of drive. The RAV4 EV, meanwhile, is surprisingly quick thanks to the peak torque of 273 lb-ft from its electric motor. In sport mode it can zip to 60 mph in seven seconds. In ordinary driving the RAV4 EV feels 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 worked their interior design magic to create a roomy RAV4. Cargo volume behind the front seats is a class-leading 73.4 cubic feet, and with rear seats that fold flat, all that real estate is easy to fill and use.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…