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The Detroit News: Toyota RAV4 grows up, gets pricier

He drove, she drove

By Paul & Anita Lienert

Toyota's baby crossover vehicle, the RAV4, isn't much of a baby anymore -- not since a makeover for model year 2006 transformed this once-compact five-seater into a mid-size seven-seater with optional V-6 engine.

The new-generation RAV4 appears to be up to Toyota's usual high standards, with a few surprising exceptions.

We drove a well-equipped RAV4 Limited 4x4 with more than $2,700 in options and a bottom line of $27,290.

Anita: (Rates 4 out of 5)
Likes: Larger size makes more sense than previous model. Takes the RAV4 to the next level. Super easy to park and handle. Smooth ride. Good fuel economy for a four-wheel-drive people mover. Big buttons on dash are easy to read and use. Rear seats slide fore and aft. Plenty of cargo space with the rear seat down.
Dislikes: Side air bags and side curtains cost extra. Power mirror switches on the center console instead of the driver's door. External spare tire cover blocks rear vision. No navigation system. No adjustable pedals. Cramped, uncomfortable third-row seat.

Paul: (Rates 4 out of 5)
Likes: Distinctive and attractive design. Stylish alternative to a minivan or conventional SUV. Not just for kids and singles anymore. Powerful V-6 option available. Outstanding assembly quality.
Dislikes: Tough to climb in and out of third row. Not the cute, affordable little mini-ute that it once was. Only a four-speed automatic. Larger size and price leaves Toyota without a direct competitor to the Honda CRV. Not much cargo space with the rear seat up.

I'd expect better research from such a well respected individual in the automotive press: The CR-V comment by Paul is completely baffling, because the RAV4 is within a fraction of an inch of its external dimensions (length, width, height, wheelbase) and in four-cylinder form, a RAV is priced in the same range as the CR-V ($20k-$26k).

More to read at the full article...
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