Sport suspension is bad on non-perfect roads
I purchased my Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 in July 2012. It was new. The test drive was taken with a Base V6 model. The drive with the Sport model was completely different - and I knew that only when I picked up the vehicle. It's now showing 4000km.
Thus, this is a well-equipped vehicle with a lot of features I appreciate: shaded rear windows, roof-rack, roof-window, fog lights, bluetooth phone AND audio, USB and AUX ports, automatic headlights, three 12v plugs, very tight and precise steering, nice sound on acceleration and quiet on cruise.
The trunk is amazingly huge, the power of the V6 is impressive (certainly because the vehicle is light), the gas consumption is very good for that category (8.3L/100km on highway, 10L average). The exterior is very nice-looking.
Well, that's for the good. Let's look at the dark side.
Firsthand, I'll start by telling you that our road and street conditions here are awful. Let me also say that so was my experience on those roads with the "Sport" suspension and the 18" wheels of the RAV4 Sport. The test drive I did was with a RAV4 base V6 (17" wheels, normal suspension) and was quite comfortable, but now it is just plain annoying. My 260000km, 12-years-old Acura 1.7EL with original shocks is more pleasant to drive on slightly-damaged roads (which is the standard here) than the RAV4 with Sport suspension. I must admit that is not the case on flat or new roads - in those conditions the Sport suspension can easily take a tight curve at 50 or 60km/h over the recommended limit without showing any signs of distress. Nevertheless, bells in the interior are ringing every little imperfection I drive on, which is an annoying behavior from a new car.
Secondhand, the 5-speed automatic transmission is somehow jerky in town for the first 10-or-so minutes I drive. After that, it is quite smooth. However, I do appreciate that the 5th speed automatically switches between overdrive (locked) and unlocked. It is like a 6th speed. I must also say that it generally won't have to downshift to pass another car.
After that, the stock radio doesn't allow for "Bluetooth dialing" - I mean, with my Blackberry I can state commands with headsets, which is not supported with that radio. The speakers are also cheap - the two front one are already grinding with every slight kickdrum. Otherwise, the microphone seems to work well, and once a call is (manually) done or answered, the sound is very clear.
The rear seat is somehow cheap and firm. The rear central console, when open for children or guests, gives direct access to the content of the trunk - which can be good or bad according to your preferences. The rear heating/cooling is somehow faint, as the vents are located underneath the front passenger's seats.
Finally, long runs with the Sport model shows the poor wind and road sound isolation. My final test shall be the winter - I'm quite expecting the better of it in ice and snow.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 3rd September, 2012