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I'm in the market for a RAV 4 4.3, and was wondering how different the ride on the sport models are. I actually dislike the larger wheels, but they come with all four of my "must-haves"- fog lights, privacy glass, alloy wheels, and heated mirrors, which base models do not. I test drove a Limited and found the ride quality OK. Is the sport different enough I should test drive one before buying one, keeping in mind I like suspensions on the stiff side rather than the "land yacht" side, and used to own a Jeep Cherokee. (My stepfather is a car dealership so the plan is for him to buy one wholesale, so I won't get to test drive the actual vehicle I'm buying, but I could go out to a local lot and test drive a similar one).
 

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Go drive one first by all means. With the Sport it's love or hate, no in between. I drove one and did not like it one bit. Base and Limited models ride stiff enough for me and are not land yachts. Obviously the surface you are riding on has a great deal to do with it so don't limit your test drive to a silky smooth highway.
 

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the sport has a fairly stiff ride
when i drive a highlander or venza it fells like i'm bouncing around like a rubber ball
compared to most suv's and crossovers it is stiff
 

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I have the Sport and on smooth roads the ride is fine and not too bad. Once you go on very bumpy roads with man holes and cracks etc for a long time the ride is jarring and harsh. The Sport has stiffer springs and sportier struts/shocks (LTD and Base has the same strut/shocks) with low profile 18 inch tires.

You may like the Sport if that is what you are use to with the Jeep Cherokee.

I may consider switching to the Toyota LTD/Base struts and shocks when it is time to replace them.
 

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As a side note many folks here that have purchased a s Sport, especially with run flat tires, have started threads asking how to soften the ride. Choose carefully, even a brick will ride well on a smooth surface.
 

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the sport has a fairly stiff ride
when i drive a highlander or venza it fells like i'm bouncing around like a rubber ball
compared to most suv's and crossovers it is stiff
That's been my estimation as well, they're too removed from the road and meant to be "vanilla Toyota" at it's best. I have the Limited and it's decent but still fairly squishy if you're living in an urban environment with lots of stops and starts.

I have the Sport and on smooth roads the ride is fine and not too bad. Once you go on very bumpy roads with man holes and cracks etc for a long time the ride is jarring and harsh. The Sport has stiffer springs and sportier struts/shocks (LTD and Base has the same strut/shocks) with low profile 18 inch tires.

You may like the Sport if that is what you are use to with the Jeep Cherokee.

I may consider switching to the Toyota LTD/Base struts and shocks when it is time to replace them.
I have the Sport springs and shocks ready to be installed on my Limited (I prefer a stiffer, more responsive drive myself at least in theory). I'll let you know if I end up keeping the setup and letting go of my stock springs/shocks.

As a side note many folks here that have purchased a s Sport, especially with run flat tires, have started threads asking how to soften the ride. Choose carefully, even a brick will ride well on a smooth surface.
That's the rub though which is what gets to me about the complaints of the Sport setup. I agree that Toyota has a tendency to put overly stiff springs and shocks into vehicles and label them "sport" when they're really just harsh drives for no real usable reason other than lack of quality engineering (I experienced this in my past '09 XRS Corolla).

However, I feel like half of the battle waged about the Sport suspension really aren't so much the stiffer damping and springs as much as it is the thinner profile tires combined with the awful dynamics of Run-Flat tires. And I don't say this personally to any of you all but for god's sake the RFs support the weight of the vehicle without air pressure.. there is literally very little give to the tire in that sense for any appreciable ride cushioning, of course they're going to be just awful on pot holes and poor roads.

For example, my significant other owns a Ford ST with very shallow (but regular) 25/40/17 tires and I drove this around today while doing some errands. Sure they're stiffer and there's way more feedback than my 17" 65 series that I have on my Rav with the regular suspension, but I wouldn't call them harsh despite the little rubber between the rim and road, the ST's stiff damping and lack of give. If you hit a pothole it's definitely noticeable, no doubt, but not back breaking by any means.

I haven't had the time to install my Sport suspension just yet even though I have the springs and shocks ready to go but I have a feeling it will be much more balanced out on the 65 series tires versus the RFs and overall lead to a stiffer and more 'present' driving experience while not being harsh (I very much dislike the nose up and pitch down effect of the stock suspension when getting into traffic). I may regret saying this once I have it installed but I don't believe so.
 

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That's been my estimation as well, they're too removed from the road and meant to be "vanilla Toyota" at it's best. I have the Limited and it's decent but still fairly squishy if you're living in an urban environment with lots of stops and starts.



I have the Sport springs and shocks ready to be installed on my Limited (I prefer a stiffer, more responsive drive myself at least in theory). I'll let you know if I end up keeping the setup and letting go of my stock springs/shocks.



That's the rub though which is what gets to me about the complaints of the Sport setup. I agree that Toyota has a tendency to put overly stiff springs and shocks into vehicles and label them "sport" when they're really just harsh drives for no real usable reason other than lack of quality engineering (I experienced this in my past '09 XRS Corolla).

However, I feel like half of the battle waged about the Sport suspension really aren't so much the stiffer damping and springs as much as it is the thinner profile tires combined with the awful dynamics of Run-Flat tires. And I don't say this personally to any of you all but for god's sake the RFs support the weight of the vehicle without air pressure.. there is literally very little give to the tire in that sense for any appreciable ride cushioning, of course they're going to be just awful on pot holes and poor roads.

For example, my significant other owns a Ford ST with very shallow (but regular) 25/40/17 tires and I drove this around today while doing some errands. Sure they're stiffer and there's way more feedback than my 17" 65 series that I have on my Rav with the regular suspension, but I wouldn't call them harsh despite the little rubber between the rim and road, the ST's stiff damping and lack of give. If you hit a pothole it's definitely noticeable, no doubt, but not back breaking by any means.

I haven't had the time to install my Sport suspension just yet even though I have the springs and shocks ready to go but I have a feeling it will be much more balanced out on the 65 series tires versus the RFs and overall lead to a stiffer and more 'present' driving experience while not being harsh (I very much dislike the nose up and pitch down effect of the stock suspension when getting into traffic). I may regret saying this once I have it installed but I don't believe so.
Yes, the 17" 65 series tires will mitigate some of the sport suspension inherent harshness. The ride can still be soft & squishy if you stayed with the 'Eco' all season non run-flat tires. If you were to pick light truck 'LT' or 'H speed rated' performance tires the ride would be less squishy but not super harsh like the run-flats.

Your fore/aft rocking under acceleration is moderated by the stiffer 3rd-row seat springs that you will be installing. The new springs will give you a more level take-off, and the added benefit of carrying more weight without sagging.

Just do it!:cheers:
 

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I haven't had the time to install my Sport suspension just yet even though I have the springs and shocks ready to go but I have a feeling it will be much more balanced out on the 65 series tires versus the RFs and overall lead to a stiffer and more 'present' driving experience while not being harsh (I very much dislike the nose up and pitch down effect of the stock suspension when getting into traffic). I may regret saying this once I have it installed but I don't believe so.
Sorry IEDesign to disappoint you but even with 65 series tires the setup with the SPORT coil/shock/strut will still give you a harsh ride on bumpy surfaces. When I put my 16 inch 70 series snow tires the ride is a little better than the 18 inch tires but it still is not that great.
 

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Thanks for the input guys, especially the higher sidewall snow tire relatability. I do want to get all or part of this in soon, I'm growing tired of seeing the parts in the corner waiting.

Perhaps I should simply swap the 3rd row/sport springs in and leave the stock shocks/struts for a bit more give. What's stopping me from installing the setup is that I'm not entirely sure I have the confidence and tools to complete the job, I only have basic wrenches/sockets etc.
 
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