...from the Inside Line forum on 2006 RAV4 discussions (post #3634 by wizzobutter):
wizzobutter said:"In case any of you do not get this magazine, here are the results. They tested both the Base I4 and Limited V6 models. They compared them to the Subaru Forester and the Suzuki Grand Vitara. The RAV4 Limited V6 got an "Excellent" rating and a score of 83 out of 100. The base I4 model got a "Very Good" rating and a score of 77. The Forester got a rating of "Very Good" and a score of 71. The Suzuki Grand Vitara got a "Good" rating and score of 56. Tested in another issue, the Honda CRV got a "Very Good" rating and a score of 73. The Jeep Liberty V6 got a rating of "Fair" and a score of 38.
The RAV4 Limited got "Highs" for Agility, fuel economy, rear seat room, access, controls, refined and quick V6 powertrain. The only "Low" listed was "Thigh support for some drivers". In acceleration tests, the V6 RAV4 got a 0 to 60 time of 6.7 seconds, the base I4 was 9.8 seconds. The V6 got 22 MPG and the I4 got 23 MPG. All ratings were "good" or better except for the headlights, which were rated as "fair".
I'm puzzled by some numbers. The ground clearance of the V6 limited is 6.5 inches and the base I4 was at 7.0 inches. Why would there be any difference? Must be the tranny. The Toyota RAV4 booklet from the dealer listed 7.5 inches for both. Also, I thought I read somewhere that the maximum load for the V6 was over 1100 pounds. CR has it at 825 pounds. Also, the booklet has the turning circle at 34.8 feet for both the Limited and Base models. CR had it at 39 feet for the Limited and 37 for the Base. The Base model had the optional 17 inch wheels. and both had the Yokahama Geolander G91 tires.
What I found interesting is that the RAV4 V6 Limited got 4 MPG more than the Suzuki Grand Vitara V6, even though it had 84 more horsepower, 100 pounds more weight, and was faster to 60 MPH by 2.8 seconds (6.7 vs 9.5). The Subaru Forrester got the same MPG as the RAV4 V6 (22) but only had a 4 cylinder 173 HP engine and weighed 500 pounds less. Toyotas's V6 is very economical."
One unusual comment was the following: "traction control brings the vehicle to a crawl in slippery conditions". I assume then that the Base model was a FWD version. So, out of 14 compact SUVs, the RAV4's are 1st and 2nd. "