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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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RAV4 vs Highlander

I know the basic differences between the two. My 17yo daughter for whom I've been planning on helping find a used RAV4 has now told me that she thinks it's too small. She even thinks our RX450h is too small, and LOVES driving my '02 F250 CC diesel (except for the noise). So, I'm thinking that the Highlander may be the next best option for her. I'm currently not considering the 4Runner, but only because it gets worse mileage than the Highlander (which is only slightly worse than the RAV4).

So, to you folks who have the RAV4 and ALSO have experience with the Highlander...

1) Is there a noticeable size "feeling" in the Highlander as compared to the RAV4?

2) Are there any reasons why the Highlander might not be a good option for her?

Thanks ahead of time for your insights and input.

Pete
Considering a RAV4, Current garage includes '02 F250 CC 7.3L diesel, '10 RX450h, '99 4Runner, '06 Outback 2.5i, and '07 S60 2.5T
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:46 PM
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I am on my second Rav4. First was a 2007 and now I have a 2012. On my search for my 2007 replacement, I did test drive the Highlander. I've driven it in the past as well. I should note, the vehicles all have the V6.

The Rav4 felt more lively. Cabin noise was more noticeable in the Rav and there was more rattles that I noticed. I still liked the way the Rav4 drove and the road feel. Sure it is a bit rougher but I liked the feeling. I don't really have issues with space in the Rav. I have a car seat in the back for our daughter and on road trips it has been fine. Yes, space is a bit cramped but we have not had any instances where we could not fit things in for our trip. Daily hauls, even some larger sized items fit in the Rav.

The Highlander does have more space. Felt like a minivan when I drove it. I didn't like the Highlander as it was a very dull feeling driving it. The suspension was softer than what I would like and the steering feel was very underwhelming (think light like the Camry). In terms of more cargo room, I think it offers a lot more space than the Rav but for the price, I'd lean into the 4Runner. I like the way it drives and handles.

I don't think you can go wrong with either vehicle choice. The V6 is a reliable engine and has ample power. One of the things I would consider is long term use. If your daughter likes the outdoors, the 4Runner maybe a better choice. Much more rugged and honestly if I had to do it all over again, I'd have gotten a 4Runner over my Rav due to the versatility of it. I would give a used 4Runner a serious thought if you are looking at the Highlander. Even one a couple of years older than the highlander are good choices. In city driving, my Rav averages about 15L/100km (I'm not that light on the pedal).

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 07:11 PM
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I have a 2012 Rav4 and had a Highlander V6 and a hybrid. The rav4 is more nimble, the highlander roomier and on the Hybrid Lexus like inside. The V6 is nice, the hybrid was no slouch either and got great MPG. IME the highlander was like a big brother to the Rav4. i would recommend it if that's the size vehicle you want. We sold the highlander because the wife wanted an Avalon.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by F250 View Post
I know the basic differences between the two. My 17yo daughter for whom I've been planning on helping find a used RAV4 has now told me that she thinks it's too small. She even thinks our RX450h is too small, and LOVES driving my '02 F250 CC diesel (except for the noise). So, I'm thinking that the Highlander may be the next best option for her.
I just helped my daughter get her first car, a 2014 Camry SE. You should have your daughter test drive one. They are plentiful and reasonably priced (she paid a little over $16K), and with it being a lease turn-in with 33K miles, I bought her the extended warranty so she's covered until 2022. The interior seems huge compared to my RAV, and when you fold the back seats down you have a huge cargo area. So, just something else to think about.

Help RAV4World members help you by providing your car's operating location in your profile page. Climate can cause a RAV4 in Dallas Wisconsin to experience a different set of issues when compared to the same model in Dallas Texas.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 08:41 AM
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F250 if you want to buy a Highlander ask Sweeney at Toyotanation. He is the guru there to ask.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Good input, guys. Thanks.

As for some of the questions and suggestions...

Camry... my daughter absolutely does not want a sedan, regardless of make, model, or cost. Otherwise, the Camry would definitely be on the list. She grew up riding in either my F250 or our old (now sold) Excursion, and she does not want to be "sedan-close" to the ground, which leads me to...

I AM considering the 4Runner, but want to sort of shy away from it to help her keep as good a mileage as possible. My daughter's also not quite what I would call an "outside" girl, so I'm not sure there is really much benefit to her in the 4Runner aside from ride height. I also have one son who drove a 4Runner for a couple of years before totaling it, and my youngest son is currently driving a'99 4Runner, and we've been satisfied with both, so it is a viable option.

Years of interest... whatever she can fit into her budget of about $6000 while staying less than 150K miles. From what I've seen thus far, that is going to keep us in the 2004 - 2008 year range.

As for our schedule, I'm just tooling around with preliminary investigation and research at this point. Likely, we won't be making a purchase until late summer of fall of this year. I'll keep the contact at Toyota Nation in my back pocket for when we get closer to pulling the trigger. I've got plenty of time to mull this over right now, but I am going to get her behind the wheel on the RAV4, Highlander, and she can always test drive my son's 4Runner.

Pete
Considering a RAV4, Current garage includes '02 F250 CC 7.3L diesel, '10 RX450h, '99 4Runner, '06 Outback 2.5i, and '07 S60 2.5T
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 01:52 PM
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I have driven them all and like the Highlander a lot. It's less truck like than the 4runner, but is more comfortable than the rav.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 08:38 PM
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Frankly I would consider ALL cars suitable for a 17 year old driver. A corolla or civic comes to mind.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Frankly I would consider ALL cars suitable for a 17 year old driver. A corolla or civic comes to mind.
I have to assume that what you really mean to say is "ALL RELIABLE cars". Aside from that, although I respect your choice and perspective for yourself, I've already stated that sedans are not a consideration for us.

You have to understand, too, that even though I'm not necessarily easy on my kids, I am committed to ONLY guiding their vehicle choices (not dictating). I also offer them my own labor to help them minimize maintenance repair costs until they become independent. Since THEY pay 100% for their vehicles (including 100% of operating, maintenance, repairs, and insurance costs), they also get the right to have a significant say in the vehicle they choose to purchase. I will NOT let them make a stupid purchase, though, and they do listen to my guidance in terms of operating costs, maintenance costs, and overall reliability issues.

That said... a this point, sedans are just not a consideration (my daughter's preference, and I'm OK with that). We are only looking at small-to-midsize SUV's, primarily Toyota RAV4, Highlander, and 4Runner. I might be willing to consider others like the CRV, Pilot, Xterra, etc., but they are already off the list of potentials for various reasons.

Pete
Considering a RAV4, Current garage includes '02 F250 CC 7.3L diesel, '10 RX450h, '99 4Runner, '06 Outback 2.5i, and '07 S60 2.5T
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:55 PM
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Years of interest... whatever she can fit into her budget of about $6000 while staying less than 150K miles. From what I've seen thus far, that is going to keep us in the 2004 - 2008 year range.
...

Good luck on finding a <150K Highlander in that price range. Time is on your side, though. If she does decide for the RAV, avoid the 06-08 4-cyl engine unless you can confirm it is not an oil-burner--or had a successful engine rebuild under the enhanced warranty Toyota offered.

I've always felt the RAV was an outstanding first car for a driver. Good visibility, functional, fun, and (I think) the IIHS studies show they are safer than little sedans. If your daughter cut her teeth on your F250, she could handle the Highlander.

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