4th Sep 2008, 18:18

I wouldn't consider the RAV4 to be the best small SUV on the planet.

Very nice? Yes. (But not really a true off-road capable vehicle).

But it's a car based SUV.

22nd Jan 2010, 13:03

First: Who uses the average SUV for ANY off roading these days?

Second: Even the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Explorer will be unibody SUV's very soon to cut down on weight. You probably won't see too many more full frame jobs after this economic disaster. Time to be fuel efficient...

20th Dec 2010, 19:58

My 2008 RAV 4 limited (v-6, AWD) is a great vehicle, with a few exceptions. (I now have about 48,000 miles on it)

The good: very peppy, smooth ride, decent gas mileage (26 mpg highway at 70 mph), very few maintenance issues.

The problems:

1) I find the seats really uncomfortable due some design issue that provides no thigh support, and is too firm down the middle of the seat.

2) After 2 years, I still can't figure out the heat/AC controls.

3) It lacks a few convenience features that I had in my 96 chrysler minivan. I realize that an SUV is technically a truck, but c'mon Toyota, what would be wrong with a heated side view mirror?

Most significantly however, the transmission has a persistent loud whine that emerges when going faster than 45 mph. Toyota issued a service bulletin on it for an initial fix that only masks the sound. The proper fix as noted in the service bulletin is to replace the transmission. So, be careful if buying a 2008 that has aged out of the drive train warranty, because if it has this whine, and it is bothersome to you, it will be very expensive to fix. It supposedly does cause problems with the vehicle's operation.

21st Dec 2010, 11:18

No, an SUV is only a truck if it has a frame. A Rav 4 is unibody, just like a Camry. A Caprice would be more of a truck with a car body, since it has a frame, solid rear axle and no struts. Crossover is the correct term. A Land Cruiser and 4Runner are still body on frame.

21st Dec 2010, 13:17

The 2010 has heated mirrors. I didn't think it did, because the little symbols aren't present on the mirrors like my Ford has, but I turn on the rear defrost, and the mirrors clear!

22nd Dec 2010, 21:25

Very true (except I think you're confusing the Caprice (a Chevy CAR) with the El Camino (a Chevy car with an open bed behind the front seat)). All "crossovers" are simply what used to be called "station wagons" in the U.S. (and "shooting brakes" in the U.K.) For some reason the public in the U.S. has an aversion to the name "station wagon". The term "mini-van" is also becoming a hindrance to sales, as it is not sporty or snooty enough. I expect soon some sharp PR person will come up with a new name for the mini-van. Perhaps "SKC" (Sport Kiddie Carrier).

23rd Dec 2010, 08:30

You are right about the snooty thing. Seems like us Americans are the only ones who really care what their vehicles are labeled as. I, myself, could care less and never bother to pull out the dictionary to look up terms when purchasing a car. If you call it an SUV, does it magically become a different vehicle?

Oh, and thanks for the laugh today..."SKC" LOL!!!

23rd Dec 2010, 08:32

Not to argue, but I wasn't thinking of an El Camino. A Caprice has a full frame, rear wheel drive, solid rear axle, control arms up front, north-south V8 layout and could tow up to 5000 pounds (the 70s ones could tow up to 7000 with the towing package), so in reality a Caprice is built the same way as say a Silverado, except the bodies and the shape of the frame. Perimeter for Caprice, ladder for Silverado. And station wagons like the Ford LTD, Caprice etc. had way more in common with the real SUVs such as Suburban, Trailblazer, Explorer, for example than they ever did with any crossover. Now a new wagon is unibody and all that, but anything built up until the discontinuation of the Caprice and Roadmaster wagons was body on frame. Sadly the last body on frame cars now until September 2011, are the Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car. Grand Marquis will be done after this month.

23rd Dec 2010, 09:24

"so in reality a Caprice is built the same way as say a Silverado, except the bodies and the shape of the frame."

Yeah, they are the same except they are totally different...

23rd Dec 2010, 12:58

They are constructed they same way! As I stated above, they both are BODY ON FRAME and REAR WHEEL DRIVE with solid axles control arms and V8s. Any body on frame car is more truck-like than any unibody, strut equipped, sideways engine car. Now let's see if someone can actually pick this up for once.

23rd Dec 2010, 16:48

I made comment 21:25, and I apologize for misunderstanding your comment. You are totally correct. Full size rear-drive sedans with full frames DO have far more in common with a full size truck than with modern crossovers. My mistake, and my compliments on being a very car-savvy person. I just mis-read your comment.

24th Dec 2010, 22:00

Sorry if I sounded rude to you, and I appreciated the kind comment. Have a Merry Christmas!