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This seems like the place to ask this question: what are the off road capabilities of the RAV4? I test drove an '05 the other day and am totally impressed with its handling, but I am in the market for a compact SUV that handles like a car and can handle driving on the sand and light off roading, like easy trails and such. I'm not looking to ford rivers and bring down bolders like Wranglers do or anything.

So, RAV4 lovers, any advice?
 

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theirishfox24 said:
This seems like the place to ask this question: what are the off road capabilities of the RAV4? I test drove an '05 the other day and am totally impressed with its handling, but I am in the market for a compact SUV that handles like a car and can handle driving on the sand and light off roading, like easy trails and such. I'm not looking to ford rivers and bring down bolders like Wranglers do or anything.

So, RAV4 lovers, any advice?
Well, all I can say is that from you've just said, you've found your perfect vehicle. I haven't tried sand yet, but the Rav4oz guys say the Rav can handle sand very well. Well, at least the awd one, so get that if you're interested in some softroading. I've done some easy offroad trails myself so there's no problem there. :D
 
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Thanks! Yea, I test drove a 2005 Sport 4WD (or AWD, depending on how you swing from what I have read about RAVs). I used to have a Camry so I know how awesome Toyota's are. And yea, I was totally blown away by how awesome it handled and drove, accelerating and everything. Made me not even want to test drive a Jeep Liberty for comparison, but I think I should just to be a smart consumer.

From what I have heard and read, having an AWD/4WD vehicle is a part of driving off road, but to successfully drive off road one must be a good driver, meaning knowing not to take a RAV4 into the jungles of the Amazon and also knowing not to slam on your brakes in the sand or floor it to get out of ruts.

This site is totally awesome, you guys will help me make a smart auto buying decision!
 
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lol rav4 can handle sand especially the awd....

why do i find that funny? cuz i drove my 2wd into sand the other day and got stuck...... i just floored it and took me few mins to get out....
 

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You could probably also check out the Subaru Forrester and Honda CRV if you're interested in a car based SUV. The Liberty is a truck based suv, I believe, so it'll be great on the offroad, but it might not be what you're looking for on the street. But hey, if it feels right, go with it.
 
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I know the CRV and other types of compact SUVs, but none I've seen compare to the looks that the RAV4 has. all other compact SUV either look like boxy SUVs or stationwagons, where as the RAV4 looks like a sports car on stilts.

I know without even a test drive that the Liberty will probably be the best off roader of the class, and subsequently gets the worst gas milage. But I should probably give it a test drive, and probably the CRV just to compare the RAV4 to something.
 

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You sound alot like I was when I was out shopping for my next vehicle. It was actually the CRV that got me interested in mini suvs, but the new generation crv didn't quite have the look that I wanted compared to the older gen. Didn't like the look of the Forrester at all and the Liberty Renegade wasn't yet available in my area for a test drive. Not till I saw the Rav4 S model with side steps is when I probably thought," Now that's me."
 

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Yes, the Rav is very sporty. Great to drive and a Toyota. :D

The Jeep Liberty is a nicely balanced and great design but #1 it’s a Chrysler #2 fuel consumption.

The CRV and Forester are a bit boxy and nothing I want to be seen in. :roll:

Some of the CEO’s in Subaru are engineers so it reflects greatly on the function and quality of their vehicles.

As for diving in Sand don’t forget tires are very important.

Up here in Toronto we get plenty of snow and by switching the tires my baby turns into an aggressive snow-eating machine. :D

However, having a stiffer sporty suspension does not give you a smooth ride bumpy roads such as gravel roads with ruts and potholes, like those I take to the farm.

Good luck deciding !! :D
 
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Although the RAV is a nice AWD vehicle, please don't confuse it with something that is capable offroad.

I'm certainly no offroad expert, but I wouldn't dream of taking the RAV in places where the Land Rover goes. Plastic splash shields? No low range? It's fine for dirt roads and snow packed roads, but nothing deep please.

The other weekend we had a snowfall and after cleaning up I took the rover into the yard where I had just blown the snow into...probably about 10-14" of snow. The Rover went right through...cool. So I try another section with some rocks, nothing more than a few inches tall...again no problem.

So we then end up in the RAV to go sledding down at the school. On the way back I try the RAV in the first section of the yard...I get about halfway in and come to a stop. I back up a little and pick a new line, then I'm through. Ok, try the second section, get about 6' in and I'm done...ok, back out.

Certainly, this isn't a scientific survey...tires are different (Hakka 2s on the RAV and Kumho MTs on the Rover). The RAV is a great vehicle for what it is, it just won't make it most places that proper offroaders can go...

Bogatyr
 
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I agree, I'm sure that the RAV4 is limited, and I'm not interested in using it as a snowthrower. Just easy trails and driving on the beach. If it handles that, I'm sold.

Side note: anyone know of easy off roading trails around the mid atlantic? I'm in Virginia, but any states close by I'm interested in.
 

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At the first rallycross I did I parked my Rav in front of the registration building, I didn't know at the time but I parked over a 12" deep ditch and the Rav never sank in the snow. A sectator pulled up in a Ford Taurus next to me and plunk! droped right in the hole, took 6 of us to push that FWD lump of lead out of the hole :) So a few hundred kilograms does make all the difference in sand and snow :)
 
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Well, if you put it that way :D . I imagine almost any vehicle can handle the "softroading" I am talking about, and it probably takes 4WD/AWD to drive on sand, not to mention half a brain.

Thanks for everyone's responses, probably the only thing left to 100% sell me on a RAV4 is test driving the competition.
 

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Depends on the sand, really. If it's flat and compacted, yeah, any car can handle it. But the thing is, do you know for sure the entire beach or desert is like that? Not really unless you did your homework. That's where awd/4wd becomes your insurance from getting stuck. That's why the Rav4 is better than a Celica to take on light softroading. Yeah, the Celica can go on dirt. Any car can. But an easy trail isn't necessarily all flat. There could be dips and ruts that would just make you say ouch as you rip your front lip out of its paintjob because you've got no approach or departure angle to speak of. That's why I like the Rav4. It's like a jack of all trades cuv. Good in everything, expert in nothing. It can be a car-like daily driver but not really a true grip racer. It can also do some light softroading but not really true rockhopping/mud bogging. You kinda get a little bit of both worlds which is what I really like about the vehicle.
 

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here are some specs for '05 model:
Approach angle: 28 deg
Departure angle: 29 deg
Ground clearance (min): 170mm (6.7")
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Slayer, are you a car salesman? :wink: . Seriously though, from what you describe and what I have read, the RAV4 is exactly what I am looking for: like you said, it's the "jack of all trades."
 
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Alien18 said:
here are some specs for '05 model:
Approach angle: 28 deg
Departure angle: 29 deg
Ground clearance (min): 170mm (6.7")
I understand ground clearance (which I assume 6.7" is sufficient), but I'm not too savvy on approach and departure angles. What exactly do they mean, and what are they good for?
 

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I'm not 100% sure on this, but approach angle is at what angel from the ground can the car be when going up and Departure angle is when car is coming down.
 
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