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Portland Tribune -- Toyota’s 2006 Rav4 grows up

Portland Tribune -- Strong contender: Toyota’s 2006 Rav4 grows up

For the Tribune's Accelerate section

The 1996 Toyota Rav4 revolutionized the sport-utility vehicle world, being the first such vehicle built on the platform of a passenger car, rather than a truck.

A decade later, the 2006 Rav4 is a third-generation redesign, and Toyota has done its usual excellent job.

Prices very widely, from the base two-wheel drive to the Rav4 Limited four-wheel drive. But you should still be able to get in a base four-wheel drive for less than $23,000, including freight.

Toyota brought the Rav4 out of the realm of the subcompact by adding 14 inches to the overall length and 500 pounds to the curb weight.

The 2.4-liter engine (four-speed automatic transmission) has been given another 5 horsepower, and despite the extra weight it’s still plenty peppy, having a solid 166 hp.

With its high-tech version of variable-valve timing, it delivers 23 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with four-wheel drive, which is an improvement over the ’05.

Even the optional 3.5-liter V-6 (five-speed automatic transmission), with a startling 269 hp and 246 pound-feet of torque, gets 21-28 mpg.

Both the V-6 and four cylinder are Environmental Protection Agency certified as an ultra-low emission vehicle II.

Toyota has worked on silence and strength, using a high-tensile steel in the body and a sleeker design with better aerodynamics, reducing wind noise and improving gas mileage.

A wider stance and clean styling give the Rav4 a more muscular look.

More to read at the full review...
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