Offering superior quality, performance and overall value, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 sits quite comfortably at the top of the compact crossover segment.
In RAV4, Sport and Limited trims, Toyota’s crossover (starting MSRP $22,025) walks a confident line between aggressive and sophisticated. Its powerful stance, available roofrack and generous sculpting play nicely against premium features like available 18-inch, five-spoke alloys, a power sunroof, multi-reflector halogen headlamps and LED taillights. The RAV4’s prominent nose is balanced by a full-size spare mounted on a side-opening rear tailgate, and an available Appearance Package replaces the hard-shell spare cover with a sleek rear door, power heated side mirrors, striking chrome accents and a set of run-flat tires.
Standard RAV4s get Toyota’s spirited 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, which makes 179 hp and 172 lb/ft of torque through a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and achieves an impressive 28 highway mpg. Choose the available 3.5-liter V6, and the crossover makes 269 hp and 246 lb/ft of torque through an upgraded five-speed automatic. A carefully designed, aerodynamic chassis, Electric Power Steering and an advanced, independent MacPherson strut front, double wishbone rear suspension setup (with a set of sport-tuned shocks and springs on the RAV4 Sport trim) give Toyota’s do-it-all precise steering that fits quite nicely with its ample power.
For tough surfaces, the RAV4 also sports the enhanced traction of an available Electronic On-Demand 4-Wheel Drive system, which quickly and easily switches from front-wheel drive to 4WD when called upon. Equipped models also get Toyota’s available Hill Start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control systems, which are designed to ensure more confident control on steep climbs and daunting descents. And every RAV4 comes standard with Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TC) and intelligent antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology.
The RAV4’s attractive and ergonomic exterior is as flexible as it is spacious. Available leather-trimmed seats are heated in front while second-row seats slide and recline for optimum comfort and legroom. An available 50/50 Split and Stow 3rd Row™ seats an additional two passengers or folds down to create a flat rear cargo area, and both second- and third-row seats fold flat to unlock up to 73 cubic feet of cargo space. The RAV4 also features innovative, hidden underfloor storage and a number of clever bins, pockets and compartments throughout the cabin.
The cockpit, thoughtfully arranged and modern with easy-read amber-illuminated gauges and attractive instruments, gets a nice grouping of standard and optional technology. Standard with a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo, auxiliary input jack and XM Satellite Radio capability, the RAV4 also offers an available touchscreen DVD navigation system with XM NavTraffic™, and a six-CD, nine-speaker JBL® premium audio system with Bluetooth® hands-free communication and steering wheel-mounted controls.
In addition to the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TC) and advanced braking systems of its comprehensive Star Safety System, Toyota has equipped its latest crossover with an impressive list of standard safety measures. Every RAV4 comes complete with active headrests, a tire-pressure monitor and front, side and side-curtain airbags, as well as structural enhancements like side-impact door beams, a collapsible steering column, an energy-absorbing front end and energy-dissipating interior trim.
The 2011 Toyota RAV4 has many competitors in the crowded crossover field, but no equals.