Reviews

2018 Toyota RAV4 Walk Around


The RAV4 avoids chrome and reaps the benefits. The SE model with all black trim and black spoked wheels, in a dark maroon color, looks striking. The nose with a wide slot for a grille came in 2016, and it’s clean and sleek, with a high bumper like a bridge over a river of black fascia.

The RAV4 rides low for a compact crossover, with 6.3 inches of ground clearance. So the new Adventure with its lifted half-inch isn’t a big deal. But from the side view it’s conspicuous, widening the gap in the wheelwell over the tire. It looks awkward.

Interior

The RAV4 cabin is well organized. There’s good interior room, good build quality, and good materials in most models, with lots of soft-touch surfaces, while the entry-level LE uses dreary, hard plastics. We like both the base fabric (optionally heated on the XLE) and the SofTex synthetic leather. The instrument panel holds a digital display, and a 7-inch touchscreen is available.

The driver gets a carlike position on a comfortable seat, though the LE manual seats aren’t as supportive or bolstered as the power seats in the XLE. There more seating space than in the Ford Escape, and about the same as the Honda CR-V. There’s contrast stitching on the fabric seats of the LE, while upper trims use SofTex faux leather.

The rear seats are flat, hard, and unsupportive. The good news is it’s easy for tall people to suffer, as the large rear doors make it easy for them to climb in and out. And the seatbacks recline for them, or fold for cargo space.

Cargo space is cavernous: 38.4 cubic feet with the seats up, and 73.4 cubic feet with them down. And a low floor makes loading cargo easy. There used to be a third row in the RAV4, in the previous generation, but not now.

Four levels of Entune touchscreen audio are available. The top two include a comprehensive app suite, but there’s no provision for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

A lot more sound-deadening materials were added in 2016, and the RAV4 remains very quiet inside. But the doors deliver a tinny thud as they close, despite those materials.

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