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I brought my current RAV in to the dealer to have a puncture repair done on the rear tires. While I was there, they had a nice looking '15 RAV4 Limited in the showroom. It was black with black/terracotta "leather" seats. It was pretty nice and the salesman our family has always used talked me into test driving one on the lot.


It. Was. Crap. One can just look at any current model CUV and see that they have severely moved away from terrain versatility and off-road worthiness, but the current generation RAV is even worse once you get it out on the road! Steering is vague and numb feeling (almost feels like a racecar arcade game...), suspension feels similar to my 99, but interior noise is actually louder, especially on the freeway. Bumps are more audible and the whole vehicle just has an overall cheaper feel to it now. The only thing I could find going for it is that it had a "locking" differential (not sure how much of an actual lock you would get) and it is roomier. Other than that, I just can't see myself spending 30K on a 2016 model.


Has anyone else driven a current model? If so, what are your thoughts?? I think Toyota needs to come back to the first gen for inspiration when it comes time for a major redesign...more ground clearance, suspension travel, and maybe even an off-road model to compete with the Cherokee Trailhawk!
 

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As someone that works at a Toyota dealer, I know how you feel. While the old Rav's felt like a truck, the new Ravs drive like a car and the electronic steering makes the car feels very vague and wondersome. Not a fan at all. I wish they would bring the old style frames back.
 

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I agree. I was in the market for a bigger new SUV/CUV earlier in 2015 (bigger compared to my 2-door RAV). I drove the RAV4, Mazda CX5, Honda CRV, Hyundai Tucson, Buick Encore, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Subaru Forester, and the Jeep Renegade. They're all obviously designed for urban/suburban driving and the occasional interstate trip. Side visibility was poor imo except for the Forester. The Renegade was the biggest joke of all: 12.9 gallon gas tank (WTF?) and no manual transmission in the trail rated version. I settled on a 2015 Forester Premium with an auto transmission. It's the closest thing to the 4.1 I could find. It drove great, great mpg, 15.9 gal tank, BUT I couldn't warm up to an automatic transmission - no problems, just a personal preference. So, I traded it in on a 2016 Forester Premium w/manual transmission. Again, it drives very similar the to 4.1 and has adequate off-road capability for my needs (mostly rough desert roads). I definitely recommend the Forester, manual or auto over the competition if you're looking for something similar to the 4.1. If you want more of a car-like ride, look elsewhere. BUT guess which of my two cars I drive the most... yep, my trusty ol' 4.1!

PS: I want to say again, the Jeep Renegade as it's currently configured, is a bad joke. It was my first choice and when I found out it has such a small gas tank, among other things, I bailed. The salesman tried to sell me on the mpg ratings, but you don't get 24-30mg on a dirt road and often times range trumps mpg - for those who know it, think the Hole in the Wall road in southern Utah. And why no manual trans option in the Trailhawk version!?!
 

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In my limited experience with the RAV 4.4 it has lost nearly all of what made the RAV 4.1 more actually an SUV. The 4.3 retains more of the original RAV roots while the 4.4 is more of what the old station wagons were. But the 4.4 apparently appeals to a broader range of drivers. Yet with that, there are relatively few 4.4s in our area as older 4.3s appear to be being replaced more with Subarus, Highlanders, CR-Vs (always popular here), Nissans, and Hyundais, rather than with 4.4s.
 

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We tried a 2015 model, found it OK but we ended up avoiding it not because of the ride quality but because of the looks. We couldn't get past the ugly front end and the way the rear door opens. We had that on the Honda Pilot and swore it was a mistake not to be repeated. Finally ended up getting a used 2012 which is pretty nice so far - except it's a sport model and the suspension is totally different. No way to compare them. BTW, the 2012 also has a locking differential.
 

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In my limited experience with the RAV 4.4 it has lost nearly all of what made the RAV 4.1 more actually an SUV. The 4.3 retains more of the original RAV roots while the 4.4 is more of what the old station wagons were. But the 4.4 apparently appeals to a broader range of drivers. Yet with that, there are relatively few 4.4s in our area as older 4.3s appear to be being replaced more with Subarus, Highlanders, CR-Vs (always popular here), Nissans, and Hyundais, rather than with 4.4s.

I had the option and the money to buy a newer RAV4 but I deliberately opted for the first generation RAV4 and kept extra money for its restoration, fixing and maintenance. Flew one way to Austin Texas from Bowling Green Kentucky just to get it in a manual transmission, 4wd with a diff lock and also fender flares.

In 9 months I have put 30,000 miles on it and it has needed nothing other than maintenance.
However, to make it look perfect, I did get rid of all dings and dents and had the whole thing clear coated. Put 5 new BF Good rich tires and shocks on it also.
I want to continue making it OEM perfect and drive it forever! It has 190k miles on it right now but it has no issues and it looks perfect! Love it !!

So now I have about 6000 dollars in my 190k 1998 RAV4 but it is perfect. I don't mind that it has more money than it is worth but I am driving the small SUV that started "it all" years ago!

Every company.. first Suzuki, then Toyota and then Honda .. came with their first generations the way they thought a small SUV should look like... as time went on... customer demand made them all LOOK THE SAME !!! Look at CRV, ESCAPE, RAV4 today !

Sorry. I will now get off my soap box... LOL
 

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I think the electric power steering goes all the way back to at least the 2009 model. I know our 2011 has it.
 

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Every company.. first Suzuki, then Toyota and then Honda .. came with their first generations the way they thought a small SUV should look like... as time went on... customer demand made them all LOOK THE SAME !!! Look at CRV, ESCAPE, RAV4 today !

Sorry. I will now get off my soap box... LOL
I'm active on a Honda forum because of my Element and this same observation has made the rounds over there for some time, word for word. I disagree on your assertion that it's due to customer demand. In the Honda line, it looks almost entirely to be a lack of proper management from above combined with the push to cut costs at the sake of product quality. Why bother producing a decent vehicle if you can just add a few flashy gimmicks to attract buyers who don't know enough to check the basic platform first? I mean, the Honda Minivan, the Odyssey, has been turned more or less in to an overly expensive people hauler with the main claim to fame being a built-in vacuum cleaner. The rest of their line is doing about the same, kind of coasting along on a well tooted but fictional reputation for safety and/or reliability that they don't deserve.

Here - Toyota nightmares to come. Want one so bad I could vomit...
 

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I am not really sold on the new RAV or CR-V either, I love my first gen RAV and CR-V, but I was just at the local Hyundai dealer today looking at a new ix35, they are a gorgeous vehicle, I drove a diesel one a few weeks back and I want one :D
I am never giving up my RAV tho :p
 

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I am not really sold on the new RAV or CR-V either, I love my first gen RAV and CR-V, but I was just at the local Hyundai dealer today looking at a new ix35, they are a gorgeous vehicle, I drove a diesel one a few weeks back and I want one :D
I am never giving up my RAV tho :p

At least you in Australia are fortunate enough to be able to have one with a diesel engine No such luck in the U.S. so far . . .
 

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I disagree that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the new RAV 4. It is more refined and less like a truck. But I think it is the wrong small SUV to buy if you want a truck like ride. It really is a suburban and city vehicle with some space for hauling and not anything remotely useful for off-road. I have the 2013 Limited...seats are excellent, space is great. NAV system is crap...ride in snow has been great with all season stock. They probably need to introduce a sport version and return the V6 but apart from that, I think it is more of a car than a truck. But I see them everywhere, so I think sales are not hurting.
 

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I disagree that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the new RAV 4. It is more refined and less like a truck. But I think it is the wrong small SUV to buy if you want a truck like ride. It really is a suburban and city vehicle with some space for hauling and not anything remotely useful for off-road. I have the 2013 Limited...seats are excellent, space is great. NAV system is crap...ride in snow has been great with all season stock. They probably need to introduce a sport version and return the V6 but apart from that, I think it is more of a car than a truck. But I see them everywhere, so I think sales are not hurting.

Agree !!

The new RAV4 is awesome but it is a car ride type of vehicle and not truck like what it used to be. The fit and finish is very nice though.
 

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yeh I feel for ya, the US seems to be bloody hard on passenger car diesels :(, we all know what happened to VW when they gave it a good (and not so honest) try :(, yet a 7.3l diesel pickup is readily available?
 

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@skwerl406 I agree with you. CUVs now are like medium sized SUVs from the 90s and early 2000's, larger but much softer in every way. I mean, Compare the 4.4 Rav to the 4.1 and 4.2 in size, functionality and reliability. The two old knockers wins by a lot. Even yours and my 2dr Rav can go through leg-high floods with ease like a duck (Yup, experienced it, terrifying and satisfying at the same time) Bet that the 4.4 Rav can't do that without suffering bumper, under chassis and electrical problems.

And you are also correct with the Forester. Subaru is humbly keeping it compact, slightly bigger but not like the Rav4. Also the CX5 remains compact as a CUV as well.
@Aussie50 Even the Koreans have sense in size and comfort. The ix35/Tucson and the Sportage are more compact in size than all its current competitors but are less functional in terms of being a "crossover". BTW, Don't let Betty be jealous of the Hyundai. :D
 

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@skwerl406 I agree with you. CUVs now are like medium sized SUVs from the 90s and early 2000's, larger but much softer in every way. I mean, Compare the 4.4 Rav to the 4.1 and 4.2 in size, functionality and reliability. The two old knockers wins by a lot. Even yours and my 2dr Rav can go through leg-high floods with ease like a duck (Yup, experienced it, terrifying and satisfying at the same time) Bet that the 4.4 Rav can't do that without suffering bumper, under chassis and electrical problems.

And you are also correct with the Forester. Subaru is humbly keeping it compact, slightly bigger but not like the Rav4. Also the CX5 remains compact as a CUV as well.
@Aussie50 Even the Koreans have sense in size and comfort. The ix35/Tucson and the Sportage are more compact in size than all its current competitors but are less functional in terms of being a "crossover". BTW, Don't let Betty be jealous of the Hyundai. :D
hehe, if only Betty knew she was being replaced by an ix35 :D, its more a work thing than a utility thing. Bluey will stay and get a full bugout vehicle fitup with camping bed and all, and Alyse and Vicki will stay as loan or towing cars.
Bluey I trust for long trips out to the bush for camping and shooting, the ix35 (probably being named Cate after the Fallout4 companion) will be my work driver, especially when i am on call if SHTF. my new job is emergency services based and can mean I am on call for incidents, don't want to put bluey through that at his age.
 

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@Aussie50 That Be-go is Daihatsu Terios in UK and Toyota Rush in SEA. I want that litter f*cker. It's not a lot, but I think it wants to be, like a good pet dog. Sadly It's not on the market in my country, else people would go nuts on that and Rav4 sales would decline. Go have one, might be a fun little off roader.
 
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