While it's true the RAV4 started the whole compact-crossoverSUV 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.
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.
Driving the 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.
BLIND-SPOT MONITORING 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.
2014 Toyota RAV4 Details
The RAV4 for 2014 uses high-quality plastics and soft-touch surfaces to create a comfortable and inviting interior. 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 doorsills 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. Rear legroom is good and the one-pull folding rear seats are easy to operate.
One of the biggest aspects of the RAV4's 2014 design 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 has a rear door that swings up instead of out as on previous-generation RAV4s, making it easier to access and helping 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 Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle retains a modified body from the last-generation RAV4.
The 2014 RAV4 is available in three trims: LE, XLE and Limited. Base LE models come nicely equipped with 6-speed automatic transmission, Entune 6.1-inch touch screen, rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/CD system with six speakers and auxiliary/USB inputs. XLE trims add a power moonroof, Entune with HD Radio and iTunes tagging, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, and front seats with extra bolstering and French stitching. Limited models get a power liftgate, Softex leather-like seating (heated in front), 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Entune Premium audio with navigation and apps and push-button starting. All 2014 RAV4s have eight airbags (six for EV models), stability/traction control, and two years/25,000 miles complimentary maintenance. RAV4 EVs are loaded with dual-zone climate control, navigation and Toyota's Entune smartphone-enabled system.
All RAV4 trims except the EV can be equipped 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, a Level 2, Leviton 240-volt home charging system is available.
Under the Hood
The 2014 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 (FWD) is standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional. The 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 decreases to as low as five hours on a 40-amp, 240-volt outlet.
AC induction motor 154 horsepower 273 lb-ft torque EPA city/highway fuel economy: 78/74 mpg equivalent Range on a full charge: 103 miles
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for the 2014 Toyota RAV4 starts just under $25,000. A top-of-the-line Limited edition with AWD and options can reach around $30,000. The RAV4 EV, available to California buyers, has a higher price of $50,660. At its starting price, the new RAV4 is in line with the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, two of its strongest competitors. Other compact SUVs, such as the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Santa Fe, start at lower prices. But, because of the RAV4's simpler trim level and minimum of extra add-ons, you don't have to worry about reaching the mid- to high-$30,000 prices that can come with other loaded vehicles in this segment. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the new Toyota RAV4. In resale price, we predict that the RAV4 will retain its value well in the years to come, on par with the Honda CR-V, better than Ford's Escape but below the Subaru Forester.
"Loads of room and very comfortable. Sporty, firm ride with excellent visibility and drivers position. Good fit and finish and I anticipate great reliability. Acceleration is fine from my perspective, especially the sport mode. Handles well and takes corners with little body roll. I wish it had a tech option to add blind spot and back up cross sensors. Too early to tell about mileage"
"This is my fourth Toyota and second new one, and this is a keeper :). I have been trying to find the best model for a small family and not too big and the new Rav4 fits perfectly for us.
I chose the limited edition for the looks, AWD and interior.
I chose the blizzard pearl with black alloys and often people comment on the looks of the car.
Drives nicely and as always reliable. Only gripe is speakers are not as good as you would expect in a limited edition. (My 2011 Prius 3 has JBL while 2015 Rav4 limited edition has standard speakers)"