2014 Toyota RAV4
While it’s true the Toyota RAV4 started the whole compact-crossover SUV genre, lately it has taken a backseat to newer 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. That’s why we named the Toyota RAV4 one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014. 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 Toyota 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 Volkswagen Tiguan offer more powerful turbocharged engines.
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.
A short time behind the wheel of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 reveals a vehicle that is well-balanced, quiet at highway speeds and smooth riding over most surfaces. Acceleration is… tepid but acceptable, with the Toyota RAV4 making the 0-60-mph run in just under 10 seconds. To help when passing or merging, the Toyota RAV4 is equipped 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 2014 Toyota RAV4 uses high-quality plastics and soft-touch surfaces to create a comfortable and inviting interior. Even Toyota RAV4 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. 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 2014 Toyota RAV4 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 Toyota RAV4’s posterior. The compact SUV has a rear door that swings up instead of out as on previous-generation Toyota 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.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Toyota 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 Toyota RAV4 will eagerly tow up to 1,500 pounds.
176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (FWD), 22/29 mpg (AWD)
Credits go to: http://www.kbb.com/toyota/rav4/2014-toyota-rav4/