Originally Posted by JuneBug
The new RAV4 is now a soccer-mom-mobile in all respects. The adventuresome off-road capabilities are gone. Soccer moms don't care about V6 power, true 4WD with lock, high ground clearance, and full size spare tire. My wife would never change a flat tire unless it was a dire emergency. It is no longer an SUV, just another of many compact crossovers. In my area, visual inspection shows that 90% of RAV4's are driven by women. And that's the market this new RAV4 is tailor made for.
Wow! Maybe you've hit the nail on the head: The term "4WD" is likely considered too butch and manly for the typical mommy target market. "AWD" probably sounds safer for the kids, and calling it a 5 passenger vehicle pretty much requires 3 of them to be kids anyway
, with that even narrower back seat.
Really, anything implying "offroad" (ok, "softroad") or "power" would probably be considered inappropriate for a mommy-mobile. There likely isn't a very high percentage of mommies who would want to spend money on those things, including features like the full sized spare tire, and certainly any concept of towing as well.
I had noticed a very large percentage of most of the test drive articles were focusing on things like style (fluff), safety-related gizmos (e.g. things like the cross traffic and blind spot alerts - very valuable features for all drivers, to be sure) and that critically all important extra 2 whole MPG.
There wasn't much mention about things like towing or softroading or other functional "guy" stuff, except some lamenting of the loss of the V6. (I loved The Fast Lane Car's
Nathan Adlen's grimace when Roman Mica mentioned the biggest change was the loss of the V6 at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show. Amen, brothers.)
Even though it's never been a rock crawler, the RAV4 still had a lot of fun, practical and functional features that apparently Toyota feels their "new" audience doesn't value, and more importantly won't pay for.
How frustrating it is to be a member of their "old" audience: discarded, just like the V6.
What I love most about the V6 RAV4 is that it has the power to tow a reasonable load, is extremely maneuverable and easy to park, yet still fits in my small, crowded garage, where I don't think a Highlander would fit, at least not without getting dinged up. Highlanders are really expensive, too, by comparison.
I guess as a guy I'm done paying attention to the RAV4 going forward: I'm just not the right gender. Pass the baton to the mommies and move on to something else. Maybe an FJ cruiser next time, if Toyota hasn't castrated
that, too, by the time I need another vehicle. Who knows...maybe
a Venza, or perhaps more likely something from Subaru. After my last 2 Fords, it won't be from an American manufacturer, I can tell you that.
But I will sure enjoy and appreciate my V6 RAV4 as much as I can, for as long as I can, and I'll be thankful for it every time I get behind the wheel.
Thank you very much, Toyota.
Hopefully not for the last time.