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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching for a car with good ground clearance and a large enough cargo area for a very large dog. Ideally I'd really like a car with a manual transmission, but they are getting harder and harder to find. I decided to expand my search into automatics and I see that the 2012 Rav4 gets fairly good reviews. There happened to be a Limited V6 (with all the bells and whistles) for sale in my area and the car felt pretty good on the test drive, though I only got 10 minutes behind the wheel because I was on my lunch break.

I was just wondering if there are any known reoccurring problems with this generation of Rav4. I read about a water pump issue, but I wasn't sure if that impacts the 2012s. I know all brands have their issues, like Subaru Foresters with their oil consumption / head gasket failures (in older ones), and thought the group might know of any common issues with the Rav4. I currently drive a 2002 Toyota Solara V6 MT that has given me 165,000 miles of trouble free service (only in the shop once for a O2 sensor)...even the clutch lasted 150,000 miles before it needed to be replaced, so I'm willing to consider the automatic Rav4 to get the Toyota reliability.

I also had some specific questions....

1) Does the bluetooth in the 2012 stereos work with modern Android phones? Is the navigation unit really worth seeking out or avoided?
2) Does water collect in the spare tire cover and cause rust? If so, can it be prevented?
3) I see earlier Rav4s had low profile headrests in the second row. If I could find a set would they work in a 2012?
4) Is the way the rear hatch set-up really that big of a problem, all the online reviews point out how it's "backwards".
5) Any issues with mp3 playback from an ipod or flash drive on the 2012 stereos?
6) Anything else I should watch out for?

I'm also considering a new 2017 Forester or used CX-5, but figure I can get more bang for my buck by buying an older Rav4 with the V6 which is why it's now on my list of cars to consider.

Thank you in advance for any advice!
 

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As the owner of a 2012 RAV4 V6 I can tell you that I've had no problems with it at all. I'm at about 32000 miles. The 4.3 models had a 7 year run, and the 2012s were the last of that run, so the kinks had pretty much all been worked out by then.

To answer your questions as best I can:

1) The Bluetooth does work with Andoid phones. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note. I don't have the built-in Navigation/Entune system that was available with the 2012s. I've heard it was way overpriced and not very good (slow, poor resolution). Map updates must come from Toyota and cost about $250 according to one member who just had that done. I would NOT seek it out.

Instead, I bought a special bracket for the 4.3 dash and spring-loaded Arkon clip for my phone and use Google maps on my phone. It's up high and works GREAT, and wasn't very expensive:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-...ions-cell-phone-gps-holder-3.html#post1836746


2) I don't believe water collects in the spare tire cover, at least for the Limiteds, which have a hard shell cover, and I'm not sure that's even possible provided there is no damage to the cover.


3) It's my understanding that YES, if you find a set of 4.3 low profile rear seat headrests they'll work just fine in your 2012.


4) I've never had a problem with the rear swing gate. I *like* the fact that it opens from the driver's side, because then you don't have to walk all the way around the vehicle to reach in and get something. Most people LOVE them for dogs because it makes it easier to slip your arm in to get the leash without the dog being able to jump out of the vehicle, unlike vehicles that have liftgates. The low load height is good for dogs, too. Flip over the rear cargo mat, rubber side up/carpet side down, for easy cleaning.

Top Five Vehicles for Dog Lovers both New and Used – The Fast Lane Car

There was also a dog cage available for behind the rear seat. You may notice special mounts in the ceiling that were for it. I don't know how easy they are to find in the USA, though:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-4-3-interior/89214-4-3-dog-cargo-barrier.html#post908510

Don't forget to look under the rear floor for one smaller and one larger storage bin some of us affectionately call "the basement." This lets you store many things while leaving the regular cargo area completely empty. It's awesome.


5) I don't have an iPod, so can't speak to that, but I have a flash drive and it works great. It's all I listen to. I haven't heard a commercial on the radio in my car in years.

I moved my USB port from outside the console next to the mirror adjustment controls to a blank that was inside the console. This prevents the thumb drive from getting bumped:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-...aq-how-do-i-install-aux-jack.html#post1607393


6) The 4.3 V6 can have a transmission whine issue that starts at about 30-40 MPH. This is not a safety issue, just an annoyance. It's my understanding that the 2012s can be susceptible to that as well. Listen for that during your test drive. If you get one and it develops the problem, Toyota might replace it under the powertrain warranty. There are several threads here on that topic.

A minor thing: If you get the 2WD version, the V6 is known to have noticeable torque steer. This is not an issue with the 4WD version.


I think you'll love the 2012 V6. I sure do! And we haven't even talked about how fun the V6 is to drive! >:D

.
 
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Thanks DVS, you covered the OP's questions very well indeed.
My perspective is a "down the road" one since I have an '06 V6 now at 125,000 miles and came from a Forester which had its head gaskets replaced by me at 100K.

Once I got past the '06-early '07 ignition coil issue, the muffler/cat replacement under warranty and one front strut failure I've had zero problems.
I bought ours at 75K so I can't be absolutely sure but there is no record of any water pump replacement. Same with tranny whine - none.

On the NAV I wouldn't want one. Nice to be in the dash I suppose but for the upgrade cost I could buy a new Garmin. Most of my distance travel is in my truck and I use both a Garmin and my Droid Maxx on Google navigation. Both are voice command - easy & safe. Google is sooo handy for traffic I use it for that even on short trips in my cars for tie-ups on I-95.

Yeah, I do miss a stick shift but with the V6 being so "spirited" :surprise I'd likely start breaking stuff with a manual.

Never used bluetooth, ipod, etc so I don't miss them.

I can see DVS's point on the rear door with dogs but we don't have one so I suppose a lift-gate like the Odyssey would be preferable especially in the rain/snow. But then we do virtually no parallel parking so it doesn't get in the way and which way it opens doesn't matter much - probably easier unloading at home the way it is.

When ours hits 300,000 my next RAV4 will probably be a 2012 V6 so take good care of them guys and girls! 0:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As the owner of a 2012 RAV4 V6 I can tell you that I've had no problems with it at all. I'm at about 32000 miles. The 4.3 models had a 7 year run, and the 2012s were the last of that run, so the kinks had pretty much all been worked out by then.

To answer your questions as best I can:

1) The Bluetooth does work with Andoid phones. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note. I don't have the built-in Navigation/Entune system that was available with the 2012s. I've heard it was way overpriced and not very good (slow, poor resolution). Map updates must come from Toyota and cost about $250 according to one member who just had that done. I would NOT seek it out.

Instead, I bought a special bracket for the 4.3 dash and spring-loaded Arkon clip for my phone and use Google maps on my phone. It's up high and works GREAT, and wasn't very expensive:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-...ions-cell-phone-gps-holder-3.html#post1836746


2) I don't believe water collects in the spare tire cover, at least for the Limiteds, which have a hard shell cover, and I'm not sure that's even possible provided there is no damage to the cover.


3) It's my understanding that YES, if you find a set of 4.3 low profile rear seat headrests they'll work just fine in your 2012.


4) I've never had a problem with the rear swing gate. I *like* the fact that it opens from the driver's side, because then you don't have to walk all the way around the vehicle to reach in and get something. Most people LOVE them for dogs because it makes it easier to slip your arm in to get the leash without the dog being able to jump out of the vehicle, unlike vehicles that have liftgates. The low load height is good for dogs, too. Flip over the rear cargo mat, rubber side up/carpet side down, for easy cleaning.

Top Five Vehicles for Dog Lovers both New and Used – The Fast Lane Car

There was also a dog cage available for behind the rear seat. You may notice special mounts in the ceiling that were for it. I don't know how easy they are to find in the USA, though:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-4-3-interior/89214-4-3-dog-cargo-barrier.html#post908510

Don't forget to look under the rear floor for one smaller and one larger storage bin some of us affectionately call "the basement." This lets you store many things while leaving the regular cargo area completely empty. It's awesome.


5) I don't have an iPod, so can't speak to that, but I have a flash drive and it works great. It's all I listen to. I haven't heard a commercial on the radio in my car in years.

I moved my USB port from outside the console next to the mirror adjustment controls to a blank that was inside the console. This prevents the thumb drive from getting bumped:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-...aq-how-do-i-install-aux-jack.html#post1607393


6) The 4.3 V6 can have a transmission whine issue that starts at about 30-40 MPH. This is not a safety issue, just an annoyance. It's my understanding that the 2012s can be susceptible to that as well. Listen for that during your test drive. If you get one and it develops the problem, Toyota might replace it under the powertrain warranty. There are several threads here on that topic.

A minor thing: If you get the 2WD version, the V6 is known to have noticeable torque steer. This is not an issue with the 4WD version.


I think you'll love the 2012 V6. I sure do! And we haven't even talked about how fun the V6 is to drive! >:D

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Wow, thanks DVS for you sights. I hadn't thought about the advantages of the side swing door, and that's a good point to bring up. I figured the older navigation unit wouldn't really be worth going out to find specifically, I've figured I could always replace it with a new head unit that would support Android Auto if I really wanted the latest and greatest, or, just use my phone.

Thanks DVS, you covered the OP's questions very well indeed.
My perspective is a "down the road" one since I have an '06 V6 now at 125,000 miles and came from a Forester which had its head gaskets replaced by me at 100K.

Once I got past the '06-early '07 ignition coil issue, the muffler/cat replacement under warranty and one front strut failure I've had zero problems.
I bought ours at 75K so I can't be absolutely sure but there is no record of any water pump replacement. Same with tranny whine - none.

On the NAV I wouldn't want one. Nice to be in the dash I suppose but for the upgrade cost I could buy a new Garmin. Most of my distance travel is in my truck and I use both a Garmin and my Droid Maxx on Google navigation. Both are voice command - easy & safe. Google is sooo handy for traffic I use it for that even on short trips in my cars for tie-ups on I-95.

Yeah, I do miss a stick shift but with the V6 being so "spirited" :surprise I'd likely start breaking stuff with a manual.

Never used bluetooth, ipod, etc so I don't miss them.

I can see DVS's point on the rear door with dogs but we don't have one so I suppose a lift-gate like the Odyssey would be preferable especially in the rain/snow. But then we do virtually no parallel parking so it doesn't get in the way and which way it opens doesn't matter much - probably easier unloading at home the way it is.

When ours hits 300,000 my next RAV4 will probably be a 2012 V6 so take good care of them guys and girls! 0:)
Dyno, thank you for your longer term outlook, despite your car's problems, it sounds like you're still a happy customer which is good to know.
 

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I faced a similar issue when researching a vehicle to fit my 170 lb Irish Wolfhound. The RAV4 was the only one to past the test. Issues are the height of the floor from ground, whether seats fold truly flat, whether second row seats move, etc. Forester and CX5 fail these tests, as do newer RAV4s. I bought 2012 V6 Sport a year ago and could not be happier
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I faced a similar issue when researching a vehicle to fit my 170 lb Irish Wolfhound. The RAV4 was the only one to past the test. Issues are the height of the floor from ground, whether seats fold truly flat, whether second row seats move, etc. Forester and CX5 fail these tests, as do newer RAV4s. I bought 2012 V6 Sport a year ago and could not be happier
Yeah I went to CarMax with a tape measure and checked out all of the newer generation SUVs. Surprisingly, they're all about the same, ~30" give or take in cargo box height and they all now have really bad load heights (too high). The only current car with a nice low load floor and tall box is the Honda HR-V or Fit, but I've eliminated them from my choices as the manual transmission is really sloppy and the interior layout in the HR-V is just silly. I will say though, the "magic seats" are really nice.
 

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If it is mechanically sound and affordable then jump on it! Last roundup for the V-6 and you'll never lack for power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The one I drove had more scuffs and scrapes on it than I would prefer at the price they were asking, and I don't need a car right away, so I'm willing to wait for another one to come along or for them to drop the price. Firstly I have to figure out if the Rav4, while used and less expensive, is a better value than the other options.
 

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Yeah I went to CarMax with a tape measure and checked out all of the newer generation SUVs. Surprisingly, they're all about the same, ~30" give or take in cargo box height and they all now have really bad load heights (too high).
You can thank the precious liftgate most everyone loves so much for that. Even with not-great ground clearance, the spare tire has to go somewhere.

But, hey, the "ugly" spare tire on the back is gone, and apparently that's what counts the most. :mad:

<sigh>

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The one I drove had more scuffs and scrapes on it than I would prefer at the price they were asking, and I don't need a car right away, so I'm willing to wait for another one to come along or for them to drop the price. Firstly I have to figure out if the Rav4, while used and less expensive, is a better value than the other options.
Then if not rushed start the search on line, and when you find a good one
low miles great shape, be prepared to move on it, even at distance !
Blutooth .yep
skip the nav
plug ins work
Tire cover is "plastic"
having ZERO mechanical issues
mileage 20.5 in town & 26.4 on highway.
Strange rear door? by who's standards !
No one uses the back seat (except dog), remove the headrests . . i did

I have 2012 Rav4 Limited v6 AWD / no nav. (white - tan guts)
And have recently compared (visits to showrooms) Subaru, Terrain,
Escape, Rav4, VW, . . . . . . .I'll keep the 2012 . . .by far !
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can thank the precious liftgate most everyone loves so much for that. Even with not-great ground clearance, the spare tire has to go somewhere.

But, hey, the "ugly" spare tire on the back is gone, and apparently that's what counts the most. :mad:

<sigh>

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I really like having the full size spare, try finding that on most cars of any type these days. It's a pros / cons thing. Honestly, I live in suburbia, so the number of times I'll be loading cargo from curbside and not in a parking lot is pretty minimal, so I'm willing to live with the side swing door. If I move to a busy city, then I might reconsider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, so I finally went out and test drove a 4 cyl. 2012 limited today just to see what it was like, and had a few more questions / concerns I was hoping to get some more information on.....

During the test drive there was a HORRIBLE squeaking noise on the highway, sounded like it was coming from the passenger side rear quarter of the car. The salesman could not locate the source of the squeak and it was VERY loud, like a rusty spring noise every 1/2 second.

1) Does anyone know of a chronic widespread condition with 2012 Rav4s and squeaks / rattles? The rear seats were folded down at the time.
2) Wow the leather seats get really hot!! Were cloth seats an option in 2012 with the Entune Navigation Radio? It easily gets into the 110s were I live, so I'm no reconsidering leather.
3) This car had the base radio. I couldn't figure out a way to do a voice command to tell it to call someone for me. I did get the phone paired to the radio, but then the salesman and I were dumbfounded on how to actually get voice commands to work. Does the base system not do voice commands?

The car was at a very small Chevy dealer up in the mountains, so I don't blame the salesman for not knowing everything about the car. I will say the 4 cyl. was a bit weak for my liking heading up hills and I didn't like the 4 speed transmission. Also, in town at low speed at one stop sign while turning right the transmission "clunked" into gear. Almost felt like the 4WD system turning off/on, but the system wasn't on and I was only going maybe 5 mph. This car obviously had some issues, so I won't be buy it, but it has gotten me a bit worried about 2012s quality.
 

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When you find the right RAV4, with a V6 and the options you want, grab it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One other question.....with the back seats folded I noticed the large gap (my entire hand fit in it) between the bottom of the back seats and the beginning of the main cargo area. Also, the cup holders face up when the seats are folded. Does anyone make a cover for the gap and the cup holder holes? I'm worried about having a dog in the back and having paws get stuck!
 

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Unlike with the 4th generation RAV4, the second row seats in the 3rd generation slide back and forth. The gap can be reduced if you slide the second row seats all the way back. I'm not sure it will be enough for dog paws, however.

I would be very surprised if you can find a 2012 with Entune and cloth seats. I believe Entune was only available in the last half (or so) of the 2012 production run. I've heard it was not very good, and thought it was WAY overpriced.

I don't believe the base radio's bluetooth (which I have) supports voice commands, but I could be wrong. I think it was really only focused towards hands free driving while on the phone and music playback.

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I know we have several dog owners on the forum so maybe one of them will chime in but I'd think a piece of plywood under whatever pad or rug the dog will lay on would do the job of covering the gap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Test drove a 2010 V6 Limited for a short time tonight because the dealership was closing. Got a better feel for the V6 though and it certainly has lots of pull and felt very good.

Once again however the car I was in had a number of rattles. The only thing I could think of that might be causing this is the cargo cover in the rear which wasn't stretched out. Has anyone else had this issue of the cover rattling when not extended? Does the cargo cover fit under the cargo area floor? The only other thing I think it could be coming from is the spare tire cover.
 

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Yes, the cargo cover is designed to fit under the rear floor.

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Yes, the cargo cover is designed to fit under the rear floor.

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Yes, and the OP should check to see if it is stored properly because it does not rattle. Also see if the tools are stored properly. It is no trouble to do it right. I just don't like to think of someone being put-off for nothing truly wrong.
 

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Test drove a 2010 V6 Limited for a short time tonight because the dealership was closing. Got a better feel for the V6 though and it certainly has lots of pull and felt very good.

Once again however the car I was in had a number of rattles.
Rattles have not been a common complaint with the RAVs. Something must not have been attached properly.

Note that the 2010 Limited's bluetooth (assuming it had the JBL head unit) is limited to phone only. It does have voice commands, however (look for the "speaking" icon in the steering wheel controls). It won't stream audio, however.
 
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