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Greetings! So, I'm a rav (2005) owner and driver who is getting a little tired of the 3k a year bills caused mostly by the brutal PA winters+road salt eroding my undercarriage. Within a year, thinking about getting a fresh one and letting the warranty handle the bills for a few years.

First - I've loved my rav. Its mostly the dread of the next repair bill that might make me sell my old girl. Also, however, bills aside... that 4AT is starting to drive me insane.

When my brakes and rotors needed replaced just this month, I started a-thinkin. While mine was in the shop, I rented an 2013+ LE - couldn't figure out the year more specifically. My genaral observations:

Where my '05 4AT was a little jumpy at places and annoying at 60, the 6AT seemed much smoother and well-adjusted to a highway drive. As much as I keep lusting after a V6 from the 06-12 era, I worry that she'd be a pain during 80 percent of my hour long stop+go rush hour commute. I think I could live the pickup of the current model.

The new model seemed quieter than my '05.I'm currently running some form of hankook all seasons (with dedicated winter tires, Michelin ice-x) on the 05 and not sure how much a difference that made. Radio didn't turn up enough for this slightly hard of hearing old guy though. Decent if not awe-inspiring pickup.

My questions to the loyal (before a repurchase of a new rav) come down to this:

1. Has anyone with an 02-05 upgraded to a 13-15? Can you comment on snow performance comparisons?
2. 17 vs 18 inch wheels? I'm leaning towards xle simply because I hear ride is rougher on the 18's. (We have very rough pot-hole roads here in PA.) Honestly, performance with winter tires in snow trumps all... my 2x a year off-road with canoe on top trip performance can be overlooked/reworked. Snow tire performance, not off-road, is key here. Comments? (I don't much care about the inch less clearance.)
3. The seating position... when I test drove a limited during an awkward brake incident (check my history if you care) my overall opinion was that that they had "mommified" it too much - the seat was too low, sedan-like. However, it could have simply been the lowered seating position which I didn't have time to tweak during that test drive. In the test drive I felt too low, like I was driving the GF's camry. Raising the seat in the LE i rented helped a bit... I just wanted 2 more inches higher from default seating level. In the XLE/Limited, can your seat go higher? Is the Limited seat more adjustable than the XLE?
4. I couldn't find a comfortable "driving arm" position in the LE. In my 05, I can rest my arm comfortably on the door sill or windowsill when driving for the highway autopilot cruises; in the rental, I was "dangling" or hanging my arm from the wheel the whole time. Does what I think is a telescopic steering wheel in the XLE/Limited help find a more comfy driving position for a 5'8 inch guy? Also - while I'm not crazy about the fake carbon fiber in the 12-15, i can live with it.
5. Any significant difference from the 13 to 15, in case I would go used?

I apologize for the silly questions, but I only buy a new car every 10 years, and debating between new rav or Mazda or Ford. Want to stay loyal to the old girl. Thank you for your considered opinions.

Twy
 

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2. Generally, the shorter the sidewall height of the tire, the harder the car will ride. I never test drove the Limited, but I did purchase the XLE and the ride for me is comfortable. The suspension is a little stiff and you'll see many folks have complaints about it, but that's why it's good to test drive it thoroughly before buying.
3. The seats do feel a little lower than past generations, but all driver seats have height adjustment. I'm 6'3 so I never felt the need to raise my seat and visibility is great.
4. I too have that problem. I feel like the armrest on the door and the windowsill are too far for comfort, but it's a minor annoyance. That's a matter of preference and something that can't be changed, so you'll have to figure out on your own if it's acceptable or not.
5. Yes. Big difference is safety. The 2015 frame was reinforced for a much better small overlap crash test, which the 2013-2014 models performed miserably in.
 

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I had a 2007 with 125K miles when it was totaled and I miss it every day. I feel it was a better overall vehicle. Regarding snow, I live in northern Ohio and we do have brutal winters. I never ran snow tires and never had a problem with traction. I had the same crappy Geolanders on both cars until I changed. I do feel that the 07 handled better in the snow. The interior seating material in the 07 was better quality. My interior seats are already wearing out with 35K where the seats in the 07 were just starting to wear. I'm sure many will dispute my findings but this is my opinion. Toyota quality is not what it once was and you do have several better choices in vehicles. When I purchased my 2013 there were several new 2012 still available and I still question my decision.
 

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I had 2002 Limited, 2011 Limited and 2013 Limited for now in NYC

1, 2002 handle the snow much better because is 4WD all the time. 2011 and 2013 is AWD, you only can lock and drive 4 wheels under 25 mph. After that, The computer will control what you need. The 2011 has more ground clearance. that help a lot.
2, For 2002 Limited to 2013 Limited. I don't feel that much different on the suspension. They all harsh. Only 2011 to 2013 has different, 2011 has much comfort ride. However, 2011 had more body role since is much higher body chassis, Plus, the seat is big. I always need to find something to hold on to make a sharp turn.
3, for me between 2002 and 2013, the seating position is similar, The 2002 give you more truck feel, and 2013 give you more sedan feel. However, the height of the seat is similar. I guess the 2013+ interior design give you that feeling. But after few thousand miles, all my family member who drove this car all said is similar to 2002, But more quiet and comfort.
4, On my limited, I find more comfort on the driving arm position between 2011 to 2013. For those who have 4.3, they may know what I am talking about the right arm position. From 2002 and 2013, I don't feel my arm is tried after few hours long trip on my 2013. I guess is similar to me. However, I like the extended right arm rest on 2013. Which is 2002 cannot offer unless you custom one in. Left side is the same for me. The telescopic wheel is good help when you needed.
5, I don't have 2015, so I cannot tell, I know the Entune is different and the body chassis has improve.
 
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