Originally Posted by agirlcalledbob
During my 2nd test drive I didn't notice any difference with the Eco mode on while in city, mix, and highway traffic
What? Are you serious?
I just got back from my first test drive of a new LE AWD. I went by myself as I know the sales manager, so he just threw me the keys and said take as long as you want. As I accelerated onto the street I thought there was something drastically wrong with the engine/trans. Pressing on the gas pedal resulted in very little acceleration. Sure, I now drive a V6 LTD, but this was ridiculous. Looking at the dash, there was a green Eco light on the left side of the tach and another green Eco Mode light on the right side. I quickly realized that the previous test driver had left the trans in the Eco Mode. I pressed the Eco Mode under dash switch and the RAV came to life. Your stating that you could not tell the difference between Normal and Eco modes suggests that seeing the left hand eco light, you thought you were driving in Eco Mode but you were actually in Normal mode. If you drive fuel efficiently in Normal mode, the Eco light will come on. Be aware of this confusing light issue.
Sport mode resulted in the LE behaving in an entirely different manner. Upshifts were delayed and of course everything was noisier. The vehicle certainly responded in a more acute manner to all driver inputs. I quickly
put the trans back into Normal Mode.
Other observations: The seats, even on the base LE, were light years
more comfortable and form fitting than the flat boards on my '11 LTD. The rear view camera was also light years better than the tiny backup camera on my rear view mirror. I sat in a LTD with the Softex. I really liked the texture and feel of it. I would have no problem with Softex in a LTD. The french stitched black dash on the LTD is nowhere near as hellacious looking as the Terra Cotta colour of the LTD on Toyota's website pictures. You really need to see the interior in person before passing judgment based on website pictures. To sum it up, I really like the redesigned RAV4. I have no hesitation in the dealer buying the last year of my lease a year early to get out of my '11 V6 4WD LTD and getting into a '13 AWD XLE. I really don't need the LTD. The power rear hatch was pretty slow.
Right across the street from the Toyota dealer is a Hyundai dealer. I immediately went and drove a '13 Sante Fe in the AWD Premium with 2.0L turbo and also a 2.4L. I was very NOT impressed. The 2.0L turbo idled coarsely with a definite low frequency reverberation throughout the vehicle. It did have an outstanding and classy dashboard display. That test drive lasted maybe 2 minutes before I said I couldn't tolerate the noise and vibration. Then I tried the 2.4L. Leaving the parking lot, I touched the brakes and I almost went through the windshield. The brakes on this 2.4 were hair trigger touchy compared to the 2.0 T. Of course the salesman said everything was normal. So, Hyundai is off my list. I haven't driven the Escape yet, but my small SUV list is now down to two; the XLE RAV4 and Honda CRV EX, both in AWD. They are both very worthy rides.
Drive a new RAV4 before knocking it compared to the 4.3 models.
BTW, my dealer had only 1 each of LE, XLE, and LTD in stock. He said middle of next week he'll have 30, with all colours in all models.