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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are considering getting an SUV within the next 6 months. With her having an older Civic and me having an Xcab Ranger, we just can't go anywhere with 4 in the car for an extended trip.

My original thoughts were that a 4Runner would be nice, especially the V8 with its large towing capacity (I have an old Buick that I may want to trailer to the dragstrip at some point). Now we don't drive a lot of miles as she works about 3 miles from home and I drive about 6 to a park 'n ride lot. With most SUV's being in the ~20mpg range overall, an mpg here or there wouldn't be a deciding factor.

While visiting my parents out of state in November, I was reading through my father's Car & Driver magazine, which I don't normally read. They had the big article on the 2006 RAV4. I reread that article over and over, did internet searches, etc...

Having not have considered the RAV4 before, because it was always too small in my eyes, all of a sudden I want to read everything about it.

The main thing that caught my eye was the addition of the Avalon's V6 motor. My father has an Avalon that's a few years old and loves it. So while checking the performance numbers, which I usually do first in C&D, I see a number that really jumps out at me... 14.9! This was their 1/4 mile ET for the RAV4. Not only that, it's at 94 mph.

If you're not a drag racer, this may not mean much to you. But as someone who has been to the track with various vehicles over the past 20 years, this is quite a feat for a stock SUV. As an example, my first 5.0 Mustangs (5 spd, notchback, ex-police cars) went 14.1's @ 98 mph. These were very original and pretty much stock (K&N air filters and synthetics). The automatic versions of the same 5.0's were often high 14 second cars stock. That's right where these V6's are!

Now I'm a muscle car guy, and the torquey Buick 455 is my beast of choice. So I still twitch when I hear of the "torquey" motors of today. Even the LS1's aren't incredibly torquey in the way than an old big block motor is. It's what they do after 3000 rpm's that really shine (flat, tall, torque and power curves).

But to put in perspective what the RAV4 V6 is doing, they're running about the same number as a 1987 - 1993 Mustang 5.0 (with an automatic, not 5 spd), yet outweight the Mustang by several hundred pounds. The article mentioned a weight of 3660 lbs. That's closer in weight to my current Skylark and previous GS455. It's also running 94 mph. With my GS455, I was able to run a 13.98 @ 96.8 mph. Now the difference being the huge bottom end torque that the 455 had to get it rolling, which won't happen with the RAV4's V6. But those speeds put it in a class with some very quick company. It's not that much slower than the times that the Infiniti G35 coupe is running (low 14's but about 5 mph more). The Buick Regal GS with a supercharger was running high 14's stock, although there are low 14's with just a few modifications. I'd hope there's an aftermarket for performance Avalon parts already that could be used on the new RAV4 V6's.

Now the comparison... only 1 mpg between city and highway in the 4 cylinder!? That's nothing, if it holds to be true.

I think I understand why though. The new RAV4, tipping the scales over 3600 lbs, isn't a lightweight anymore. It takes a lot of work for a little 4cylinder to push that weight. The inherent advantages of the 4 cylinder become negated by the additional effort it takes to push that car. The V6, on the other hand, was designed to push an already heavy Avalon, yet still get decent mileage. My dad brags about his 30+ mpg from high desert AZ round trip to Phoenix and back up the hill.

As a comparison between two different cars, I took two trips to visit my family in the Prescott, AZ area. One was in November, the other in December.

The November trip I had a Nissan Sentra rental car. It was a 4 cylinder and had a trip computer, which I reset in Phoenix. For the 200 mile trip, which included a pretty steep incline and the corresponding decline on the way back, it registered 30.3 mpg. This also included some city driving at the top which may have been an additional 20 miles.

The December trip I had a Chev Malibu LS V6. It also had a trip computer, which I reset in Phoenix. For the same trip, the much larger, heavier Malibu averaged 29.5 mpg.

Although the difference in mileage was minimal, the difference in the car, ride, etc... was not. The Malibu was much more pleasurable to drive. The Sentra was loud and always sounded like the 4 had to work hard going uphills or over 1/4 throttle around town.

I just don't see an advantage to having the 4 cylinder in this car, unless there was to be some factory forced induction. The mileage difference isn't significant enough to sway the average driver, while the power and performance difference is apparently HUGE! Unfortunately the V6 towing package is limited at 3500 lbs, so towing the Buick wouldn't be an option. But for the savings difference over a 4Runner, I could find an older truck that would easily fit the bill.

So for those that say that they don't need V6, I hope you love your RAV4. But I'd recommend not jumping in a V6, because you can't hardly say, "just think how much mileage I'd be sacrificing for this power" anymore.
 

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nice stuff. I too am a drag racer with a buick (which is well into the 11's) So I too know what power and torque is.. I still feel the 4 is more then enough in the Rav.. Its not a race car. Keep that in mind.. Its transportation.. The 2.4 does not labor in any way.. In fact its kinda sorta quick.. Its perfect for most people who buy this truck. I would be willing to bet dinner that the *actual* gas mileage when the 6 comes out is not gonna be 1 mpg less then the 4..

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Frank,

If it turns out to be significantly larger difference between the two engines, then my thoughts will change. However, I'd be less interested in it if the V6 wasn't available. Seeing how my father's Avalon gets 30'ish mpg, I'm ready to believe that the RAV4 can get close to what they advertise.

If the V6 does get mileage that is in the mid 20's combined, then I would need at least 30 combined out of the 4 to consider it. But like I mentioned, we don't put a lot of miles on our cars each year so it may still not be enough. I think we combined for around 12,000 miles between the two vehicles in 2005.

I agree that it's transportation, but I don't think I've owned a car that hasn't made some passes on the track (the Civic is my wife's and I've never run it and wouldn't, BTW). Some times things go bad with the race car and you still want to hit the track. At least with high 14's, I wouldn't be laughed completely off the track, and if it's consistent... all the better. I even cut a .000 light with my 4x4 Ranger. It launches off the same part of the third amber as the GS did, just everything slows WAYYYYY down after that.

I love the GN's/T-types, however the turbo cars seem too finicky for me, being a bracket racer. The GS in my avatar kept the same dial-in 3 races in a row back in 2001. I just left it on while it waited in the garage for the next race.

IIRC, the 4cylinder with the tow package has a 1500 lb rating. The extra 2000 lbs would come in handy for pulling some bigger ATV's, boats, etc... It is transportation, but it's also an SUV.

I also wonder how the values over time will be effected by the V6 vs. the 4???
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess that's the point too. What fits your driving and your needs the most. For me, I'd have to go with the V6. I just drove by the Toyota dealership again on my way home from the gym. I do like the way they look. They've got red and blue locally.

I've never been to the GS Nat's, although I got my first GS in 1985. I was hoping to make it to last year's BPG Nat's, but I've been doing a lot of other things that took away any play money of that sort. One of them being my 455 motor needing to be rebuilt after spinning a rod bearing during testing at the track. 13.51 @ 106 with the 30 year old 2.56 open rear was encouraging, since I crossed the line in 2nd gear! Unfortunately those old bearings weren't up to the task. The new setup will be fully balanced, a little more compression, and more cam. I'll be looking for street-driven 11's and around 115mph, although obviously not with that rear!

With the increase in size and the addition of the V6, other than the hybrid version, I don't see a lot of reason for the Highlander anymore. The Highland V6 seems to get lost between the new Rav4 and the 4Runner and is too close in price. For the cost of a more base model Highlander, you can have a completely loaded Rav4 V6 Limited model. For the price of a completely loaded Highlander, you're well into 4Runner territory. I wonder what will happen with it, and if the hybrid may find its way into the Rav4 chassis eventually.
 

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If the gas mileage between the 4 & the 6 turn out to almost be a wash then I wonder if insurance can be a deciding factor for us ?

In the eyes of an insurance company , how much more do you need pay for coverage for the 6 over the 4 ?
 

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If Edmunds is correct, then (in the AWD version at least) the 4cyl gets 23/28 versus 20/27 for the 6cyl, and the 6cyl is about $2K more expensive. For highway driving it's a wash, but If gas gets to be $5/gal+ then are you going to wish you had that extra 3mpg in city driving? Also, if gas goes through the roof then which car would be worth more in trade?

That's the question that I'm struggling with...
 
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Exactly! That's why I went with the 4. No one has complained about it in the least (as far as acceleration) and the days of reasonable gas prices are long gone. I can just imagine what a gallon will cost if & when you decide to sell your Rav4 in 4-5 years!
 
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Look at the Honda Pilot. For about $27,000 you'll get much more suv with a proven track record and high regards from almost all reviews.

By the way it seats 8, has a v6 that gets better gas mileage than my 2001 rav did, has a radio that you can actually hear, much much quieter ride, and on and on.

Just test drive it. If you want the rav then go for it. I'm just saying there are other choices.
 

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Dan Dahl said:
Look at the Honda Pilot. For about $27,000 you'll get much more suv with a proven track record and high regards from almost all reviews.

By the way it seats 8, has a v6 that gets better gas mileage than my 2001 RAV did, has a radio that you can actually hear, much much quieter ride, and on and on.

Just test drive it. If you want the RAV then go for it. I'm just saying there are other choices.
There are other choices to consider but I personally don't consider the Pilot to be one of them. It's much more expensive, it gets much worse gas mileage than the Rav, and before I bought my 4Runner I took one for a test drive...I wasn't impressed. If you wanted an SUV that was just a bit bigger than the Rav I'd say go for the 4Runner. Just my .02 at least.
 
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flyingn said:
The pilot is not even in the catagory as the RAV4. While your at it mention the G500 too :roll:
The v6 rav at $30,000 is not as good of a value as the Pilot, which can be had for less than 30k. I didnt say it was in the same "class" Just saying the prices are similar for more vehicle.

Honestly, if you search this site under gas mileage you will find thread after thread of disappointed owners who thought they were going to get 27 mpg. The reallity is most got low 20s at best. My Pilot gets 22 mpg.

I doubt there will be many discounts on the v6 model. I'm just saying the Pilot, with discounts is less expensive.

Nowhere in my post did I mention a vehicle not in the v6 price range so your G500 reference is way off base.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
flyingn said:
The pilot is not even in the catagory as the RAV4. While your at it mention the G500 too :roll:
That's very true. The Pilot, from a price perspective, is more similar to the Highlander.

My friend just bought a new '06 Pilot through Costco. He got the EX-L model, without the DVD or NAV version. His price through Costco was a little over $32K.

I just don't see how you can compare the two vehicles, when the cheapest Pilot 2WD MSRP's at $27K.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dan Dahl said:
flyingn said:
The pilot is not even in the catagory as the RAV4. While your at it mention the G500 too :roll:
The v6 RAV at $30,000 is not as good of a value as the Pilot, which can be had for less than 30k. I didnt say it was in the same "class" Just saying the prices are similar for more vehicle.

Honestly, if you search this site under gas mileage you will find thread after thread of disappointed owners who thought they were going to get 27 mpg. The reallity is most got low 20s at best. My Pilot gets 22 mpg.

I doubt there will be many discounts on the v6 model. I'm just saying the Pilot, with discounts is less expensive.

Nowhere in my post did I mention a vehicle not in the v6 price range so your G500 reference is way off base.
The V6 Rav, fully loaded, runs about the same as a base model Pilot. Although we haven't actually seen one at a lot yet.

The only sub $30K Pilot I'm aware of are leftover 2005's that they can't wait to get off their hands. My friend with the EX-L said that he could have gotten a similar 2005 version in the $28K range. But although the exterior differences were limited mostly to the nose, he wanted the side curtain airbags, etc... that came in the 2006. In fact the dealership at the time was hiding the '06's so that they would be able to move the remaining '05's.

Just comparing MSRP to MSRP, the most base Pilot starts at $26,999 per Honda's website. The most base Rav starts at $20,300. Since Toyota won't let you price one with the V6 right now (don't know why, I could a couple of days ago), even adding $2000 to get a V6 version puts the price difference a little under $5000.

It's still apples and oranges. From what I read, the Pilot is based on the Odyssey minivan chassis too. That explains why such a large vehicle doesn't have any better towing capacity than the V6 Rav4 (with towing package) does. The AWD versions are FWD first and AWD when traction is limited to the front, from what I've read.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
bbates said:
If Edmunds is correct, then (in the AWD version at least) the 4cyl gets 23/28 versus 20/27 for the 6cyl, and the 6cyl is about $2K more expensive. For highway driving it's a wash, but If gas gets to be $5/gal+ then are you going to wish you had that extra 3mpg in city driving? Also, if gas goes through the roof then which car would be worth more in trade?

That's the question that I'm struggling with...
bbates,

Let's hope we don't see $5/gallon, or anything with twenty-something mpg will be useless.

But, for the sake of my situation, I'll take your idea and see what happens.

I'm going to assume an overall average with the 4 cylinder at 25 mpg. I'll go 22 with the V6. I drive ~6000 miles/year. That means:

4 cyl: 240 gallons/yr
6 cyl: 273 gallons/yr

33 gallon difference * $5/gallon = $165/year more to run the V6.

I'll stick with the power for less than $15 extra per month! Even if the difference were 6 gallons, and I'm guessing there will be lawsuits if they're that far off, it's still $25 more per month based on my driving habits.
 
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