2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD from North America

Summary:

Red RAV4: Starting Something Solid

General Comments:

This is a "first impressions" view of the 2014 RAV4 Limited AWD. I took delivery of it today, 10/28/17. My example is Barcelona Red and has the standard features, like a moonroof, fog lights, heated seats, fake leather, and so forth. My last car, a 2007 Milan V6, was an "emergency buy" when my car before that was totalled. From the moment I took delivery of the Milan, I couldn't wait to trade it in. It was reliable but horribly cramped, and too soft.

I picked the RAV4 for a few reasons. Part of the reason for me getting a RAV4 was that I need 4WD for my job (I'm an on-call social worker). I also wanted something that sits higher than the Milan because I felt like a contortionist getting in and out. I also want to be able to toss my 26" bicycle inside. I was also swayed by Toyota's projected resale value. Finally, the Milan had absolutely awful seats and my back would hurt after just a few minutes in it.

On to the main review.

The controls are easy to find and easy to work. I wish the Tune button was a hair closer to the driver but that's my only real complaint about the controls. The navigation system works really well and can be programmed while the car is in Drive. I do wish the touch screen letters didn't need to be pressed so hard.

The rear seats are super easy to fold, recline, and erect. There is a button on the two outer head rests to fold them, too.

Driver comfort is great. The seat is nice and firm with adequate thigh support for an hour's drive. The pleather seats are firmer than the fabric ones, and I much prefer a hard seat.

Rear turn signals are amber, which I think should be standard on any car.

The ride is like a small truck, which I like. It poured down rain on my test drive and on the hour-long trip home, and the RAV4 rode well. I prefer a firm ride - my Milan was entirely too soft and numb. The RAV4 has the Milan beat. It isn't a bad ride at all and I think most anyone in this market would tolerate it. The RAV4 will do 80 MPH without complaining with one person aboard.

That's about all I can think of now. I'm looking forward to a long, smooth life with my red RAV4. I'll keep everyone updated with quarterly postings as best I can.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th October, 2017

13th Nov 2017, 03:30

I wrote the original thread and wanted to follow up with some "sort of first impressions" on the RAV4.

The biggest impasse is the center console. I really like the open design of the center console. It combines the best of both worlds, having additional space between the seats and having storage. Driving my old Milan, I always felt "crammed in" with the height of the middle console eating into my right leg. If I ride in any other car with a center console, I always feel cramped since the RAV4 spoiled me. The little triangle pit in the RAV4 is worthless, so I only keep my sunglasses there. If I could redo it, I'd put the cup holders next to each other and have one or two more covered storage areas. I wish there was an additional smaller pocket on the driver's door; I drive clients around and don't like to have my cell phone in the center where they can reach it. I also wish there was an overhead sunglasses holder. I'm also not crazy about the cutout in the dash on the passenger side - I really wish it was covered like you would see in a 2012 Corolla.

Excellent headlights, enough said.

Drives better than my dad's 2011 Fusion I-4 and my old 2007 Milan V6. It has more power than the Fusion, less than the Milan. But, I get much better fuel economy than both - I consistently get 23-24 MPG mixed driving in the RAV4. The RAV4 has good power for a soccer mom, but Dad isn't going to win any races with it.

Good height for entry/exit in my opinion. My mother with myasthenia gravis has difficulty climbing in and surprisingly would prefer a sedan.

I really like the interval rear wiper. Set it and forget it.

Cruise control works well, but I haven't yet found the RAV4's sweet spot for fuel economy.

Cabin is quiet at highway speeds, but could be better.

I wish the panel dimmer wheel was illuminated. The displays are easy to read, but I wish the blue backlight could go a few shades darker (I say that about every car).

I love the reverse camera! I never thought I'd use it. Now that I have it, I don't know how I survived without it before.

I don't like the power tailgate. Maybe it needs to grow on me. I wish it didn't move so slowly and I hate the beeping you hear when the hatch is in motion. Again, not cursing it... just not quite sold on it.

I like that you can simply pull the door handle and get in if the RAV4 detects the key in your pocket. Very nifty.

The navigation works, but it needs some revisions, or maybe a software update. It often says "in half a mile, exit at exit #" but the exit is right in front of you. I've missed several exits because of this. Not all streets are shown on the map. I was also navigating to a house and the navigation said "your destination is here on the right; the route guidance is now finished" when in reality it was a half-mile further on the left.

Heated seats are okay; low seems very weak and high is almost overkill. They work and I'm happy the RAV4 has them, I just have to explain the strength when someone new rides in the car. I also like that the driver can control both seats - can preheat the passenger seat or kill it when the passenger forgets to turn it off. I wish the driver's seat had more lumbar support (but, I say that about every car, too).

Front and rear defrost work really well.

I'm looking forward to keeping the RAV4 a very, very long time. I have my father drooling over the 2018 Camry and Avalon now that we have a Toyota in our driveway.

14th Nov 2017, 04:50

If there were 2 items I would completely eliminate in all cars, they would be both cup holders and ashtrays. You can stop somewhere for that. Sleeker clean interior. No sloshing drinks or eating. I like an overhead or visor sunglass holders. And a plug in mirror power outlet for the radar detector. I have 3 lighter outlets in my crossover; nice for phone charging.

14th Nov 2017, 22:49

"You can stop somewhere for that". Yeah, it sure would be more convenient for somebody trying to make good time on a long trip to stop somewhere and guzzle a piping hot cup of coffee and chain smoke a few cigarettes instead of at your leisure inside the car.

15th Nov 2017, 11:52

I drive to Florida to visit family fairly often, well over 900 miles one way. That’s a long trip. Simply eat well before leaving. Pull over at rest stops after a few hours, fast food, get gas, stretch my legs even for just 10 minutes. If you want to smoke in your car, eat sandwiches or barbecue while hitting bumps and drop food between the seats etc, that’s your pleasure. I can see a bottle of water. If I am in that big of hurry to go anywhere, I take a flight from the nearby airport. Usually better anyway and you have a longer visit.