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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market for a Rav4. I'm trying to decide if the SE model is worth the extra cost.

The base LE has a $24,410 MSRP
The base SE has a $28,790 MSRP

The biggest difference that I can see is that the SE comes with 18" alloy wheels. If I bought the LE, I'd probably pay for the wheel upgrade from the dealer. But other than that, I don't see anything that really stands out to me. Why does it cost so much more?

Has anyone had experience with both trim levels and have an opinion either way?
 

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Well you'd have to drive them. The SE has a stiffer suspension. Some like and want that for better handling, some hate the harshness. It also has LED headlights and the softex seats, drivers powered. I'm sure there are other things but those are the biggest draws I think. Possibly sunroof too, not sure what models of LE have a sunroof if any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not sure how I feel about the sunroof. I'm a tall guy (6' 3") and a sunroof usually eats a few inches of head room. The headroom could be a deal-breaker for the SE.

Also, I don't know how reliable sunroofs are these days, but when I was a kid, they constantly leaked.
 

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Sunroofs in general aren't like that any more. They don't leak and it doesn't take up too much space. There is a drain hose is most modern sunroofs which can get clogged over time that needs to be cleared. Had another rav for 3 years which it didn't get clogged at all. The sunroof is above your head so you should actually have MORE clearance.
 

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SE also has push button start and power tailgate and a few cosmetic touches,. Have you considered the XLE? The XLE falls between the LE and SE in model lines up and price. People complain about the SE stiff suspension and while I agree it is on the firm side in my opinion I didn't feel the Xle ride wasn't anything to rave about.

Sent from my R1 PLUS using Tapatalk
 

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Well on my ride home I took note of head clearance. The sunroof edge falls inline about centre of my head. So it may interfere for you maybe not. 4 or 5 inches clearance for me but depends where you carry those extra 3". Guess you'll just have to see.
 

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I drove both SE back to back with other models (don't remember which I think is was XLE) and there is a significant difference in the handling for the SE which is what I got. Mechanically it has different shocks / springs / bigger roll bar - all painted bright blue. Took a look when car was up for first oil change.

The RAV4 handles very well IMO in SE trim - not as good in non-SE. It really depends on what you want. There is more ride harshness in the SE which is the trade-off.

There are a myriad of other difference - bigger bolsters on seats (which I like) honeycomb grill (ditto) and the black wheels which I loved on the white color which I got.

Plus SE comes with other options that I definitely wanted - sunroof / leather / LED lighting all around / paddle shifters / other stuff I can't recall now.
If the SE has what you want its a good deal. Mine also came with the two tone painted treatment which I also liked - not worth the $$$ but I didn't pay retail for that package as I bought off of the lot. I'm very happy with mine!
 

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I got SE because of the sportier look (front/lower grille) and the paddle shifters
Suspension is suppose to be stiffer but its not like Rav4s are fast cars that can do fast corners anyways LOL.
 

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Our 16 XLE has sunroof so far no complains I love it, and it doesn't take head room space. I wanted the SE for three things: the wheels, the LED's, and the on/off push start, but it was for the wife and she really didn't care about those features. You are a tall guy at 6'3", probably I would be looking for a different vehicle, maybe a highlander. Have your test drive one yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went to a dealer last night and looked at them in person and test drove an SE. I definitely like the exterior cosmetic changes on the SE (wheels and grille) and the seats are very nice. The car I test drove was Electric blue with the Cinnamon interior. Yuck. What the hell were they thinking with that color combo. I'm thinking about the Silver Sky Metallic with Black interior.

The head-room, even with the sunroof, seemed decent. In every car I drive, I need to tilt the seat back because of my height (I'm all torso). This one was no different.

Just for the heck of it, I priced out the SE rims. I found a dealer in Virginia who has them on sale for $355.74 each. So if P235/55R18 tires cost around $140 each (ballpark), then it would cost around $2000 to upgrade the wheels on an LE by myself after the sale. If I got the dealer to do it at the time of the sale and work it into the price, it might be a little cheaper.
 

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The SE is about much more than rims. I was OK with the SE rims, but not top of the list on what I wanted. I wanted the heated softech seats (very comfortable to me), I wanted LED headlights and taillights, the sunroof is very nice but I could have lived without that, I liked the front end better on the SE, and mostly I really liked the way the car handles corners. There are always trade offs either way, but given the choices, I think I got pretty close to what I wanted. Differences are also listed in the Ebrochure here. https://www.toyota.com/rav4/ebrochure
 

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Yeah if you're going to spend $2k after purchase for wheels and tires alone, I'd get the Se.
 
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