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2014 Toyota RAV4 Overview
Need a useful, albeit rather pricy compact crossover for your anticipated recreational activities? Take a look at Toyota’s 2014 RAV4. The “RAV” stands for Recreational Activity Vehicle, thus giving one and all a hint as to the Japanese automaker’s intentions for this undersize sport ute. Its 5-seat, 5-door configuration allows a roomy 74.3 cubic foot cargo area, comfy accommodations and available all-wheel drive (AWD) backstopping the standard front-wheel drive (FWD), thus giving this midsize ute a confidence-laden option for heavy weather. The new-look RAV4 naturally dangles that traditional Toyota reliability, and this pint-size fun-mobile provides the p.c. cachet that the parking-lot-challenged and gas-guzzling full-size SUVs can’t hope to match.
Once more, the made-over RAV4 comes in 3 trims, the base LE, the midlevel XLE and the flagship Limited. This latter, by the way, can now be delivered with an available Technology Package that boasts a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning and automatic high/low-beam headlights.
Alas, though the beneficiary of a total redesign in 2013, this year’s RAV4 iteration is, curiously, delivered without the optional third-row seat and without the available V6 engine that once gave it a slightly better passenger-toting edge and the added pizzazz to generate a little passing confidence on the open road.
Anyhow, the deletion of the V6 powerplant leaves the 2014 RAV4 lineup with the tried and true but still somewhat anemic variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine of yore. However, mitigating this power paucity just slightly is the 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission that used to accompany all the optional V6 editions and now gives the smaller mill a tiny bit more jump, as well as a marginal increase in fuel efficiency. Towing is maxed out at 1,500 pounds with the proper equipment, while mileage in FWD trims is 24 mpg city/31 highway.
Should the available AWD system be selected, mileage runs a little shadier at 22/29, but a push on the dashboard-mounted selector can lock in AWD up to 25 MPH, while a selectable Sport mode alters throttle response and shift points to feed a little more torque to the rear wheels, providing a noticeable extra kick in normal driving conditions.
Decorating the profile of the base 2014 RAV4 LE are 17-inch steel wheels and a rear spoiler, while cloth upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering and a rear-view camera all remain to adorn the interior. Of course this entry-level trim boasts air conditioning once again, along with the traditional Bluetooth hands-free calling and a single-CD player flaunting 6 speakers and auxiliary iPod integration via a USB port.
Stepping up to the XLE, look for such additional bling as 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof and a roof rack outside, with heated power-adjustable mirrors, dual-zone climate control, simulated alloy cabin accents and satellite radio gracing the inside.
The top-shelf RAV4 Limited, meanwhile, ups the ante even further by throwing in standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear power liftgate, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, memory for driver's settings and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. An auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a standard flash-memory-based navigation system with 6.1-inch display also help this high-end trim stand a bit aloof from its siblings.
Options lineup-wide include step running boards, carpeted floor mats and roof-rail crossbars. Additionally, as you’ll recall, the Limited is eligible to be delivered with the new-for-2014 optional Technology Package.
Standard safety equipment aboard all 2014 RAV4 trim variations includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and active front headrests. Daytime running lights also accompany all trims, while the XLE and the Limited each sport standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors and front fog/driving lights. Finally, an upgraded security system is optional for all RAV4 trims.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.