2017 Toyota RAV4 Review

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2017 Toyota RAV4 Overview

If you like having room for cargo but want a smaller, more economical car, Toyota has good news for you: the RAV4 will be back for 2017. Toyota's ever-popular small crossover offers many drivers the best of both worlds by combining a small footprint with a fair amount of cargo space. Also, thanks to its status as a crossover, the RAV4 is a bit more off-road capablethan the hatchbacks buyers may also consider (although we wouldn't take it to Moab anytime soon), making it a better choice for many.

The RAV4 arrived on the scene in 1995 and hasn't looked back since. Sales have been through the roof lately and Toyota sold over 300,000 RAV4s in 2015 alone. Why is that? As more and more buyers look for cars that offer a complete package, many are choosing small crossovers like the RAV4. With 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space (73.4 with the rear seats down), seating for 5, and fuel-economy numbers of up to 24 mpg city/31 highway/26 combined, it's easy to see RAV4's appeal.

Under the hood, expect Toyota to again offer any engine you'd like, as long as you want a 2.5-liter 176-hp 4-cylinder. The engine will link up with the wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Where you will have some choice is in which wheels you'd like the power to go to—each of the car's trims will be available in both front- and all-wheel-drive versions.

The RAV4 will be available in 4 trims—the base LE, slightly-more-comfy XLE, sporty SE, and top-of-the-line Limited.

Hop in the base LE and you'll find yourself in a well-appointed, comfortable cabin. While the LE doesn't offer a lot by way of frills, it does come with a standard backup camera, 8 airbags, 17-inch steel wheels, ECO and Sport driving modes, 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, and remote keyless entry. If you want a little more, you can add Toyota's Entune infotainment system with connected navigation.

Move up to the XLE and you'll get all the LE has to offer, plus a power moonroof, a power liftgate, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, SiriusXM radio, and Entune with connected navigation. For a little extra, you can also add the Convenience Package, which includes integrated navigation, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sonar, and Toyota Safety Sense—a system boasting pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, and pre-collision preparation.

If you're looking for something a little more sporty (and fancy), consider the SE. With the SE you get all the XLE has to offer, plus Entune with connected navigation, 18-inch sport alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, SofTex seats, paddle shifters, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and LED headlights. For a more luxurious ride, you can also add the Advanced Technology Package, which will give you a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sonar, Toyota Safety Sense, and a JBL sound system.

For those who want it all, the Limited will be the choice. Jump in a Limited and you'll be treated to a power driver's seat, 360-degree camera, Toyota Safety Sense, and Toyota's Smart Key System, which allows you to open and close your doors and liftgate (as well as start the car) with just one touch. The Advanced Technology Package is also available for a fee.

If you're looking for a car that can do it all, the Toyota RAV4 could be just the ticket. Not only is it small and economical, but it can also handle fairly large amounts of cargo quite easily. Additionally, its available all-wheel-drive system makes the car a little more capable than some other cars buyers might consider. Couple those two things together and it's easy to see the RAV4's recipe for success.

Updated

Zach is a gearhead and travel junkie who loves to check out cars wherever he goes. Having lived abroad in Germany and Russia, he has grown particularly fond of European cars, but has found nothing able to top his love for his first car: a 2001 Toyota Tacoma.

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