When the Toyota RAV4 was first introduced in the late 1990s, the compact crossover market was virtually non-existent, making the RAV4 a niche product in an SUV market dominated by vehicles twice its size. Fast-forward 15 years and the compact crossover market is now one of the fastest growing of all automotive segments. Since it’s a Toyota, it goes without saying that the RAV4 is one of the most refined and focused compact crossovers you can buy. After all, it has more than a decade advantage over most of the competition.
For 2011, the Toyota RAV4 (MSRP starting at $22,475) offers three models: RAV4, RAV4 Sport and RAV4 Limited. All three are available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and both are offered with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine. The RAV4 features a host of standard amenities including air conditioning with air filter, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, a six speaker stereo with CD and auxiliary jack and 16-inch wheels.
The Sport model adds 18-inch aluminum wheels and a sport-tuned suspension, foglamps, body-colored bumpers and chrome exterior accents. A run-flat tire replaces the traditional spare as well.
The RAV4 Limited features dual-zone climate control, the Toyota Smart Key system with Push Button Ignition and an AM/FM/six-disc CD changer and satellite radio. A chrome accented grille and 17-inch aluminum wheels add a nice touch.
Options include a 50/50 split and stow third-row seat and a backup camera with rearview mirror display. Other options include a power moonroof, leather upholstery, power driver and passenger seat, a premium nine-speaker JBL stereo with Bluetooth integration and a touchscreen navigation system.
The RAV4 is available with either a 179-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a four-speed automatic or a 269-hp 3.5-liter V6 with a five-speed automatic. Both engine options are very fuel efficient; the four-cylinder returns up to 22 city mpg and 28 highway mpg, and the V6 posts an impressive 19 city mpg and 27 highway mpg.
With the Towing Package option on the V6, the RAV4 can haul up to 3,500 pounds. And the V6 accelerates from zero-to-60 mph in less than seven seconds, making it one of the most powerful, versatile and fuel-efficient V6 compact crossovers on the market.
AWD models feature an electronic, on-demand system that maintains a front-wheel drive bias until wheel slip is detected, when power can be sent to the rear wheels as well. The system can also be set for a full-time, equal traction balance between front and rear wheels. Hill Start Assist and Downhill Assist control are available for added driving safety.
On the road, the RAV4 handles and rides like a sedan, due in part to its Electric Power Steering, which helps the RAV4 maneuver with ease. Because the 2011 RAV4 is the result of more than a decade of suspension tuning and refinement, you benefit from a crossover that has outstanding ride quality and composure over even the bumpiest and roughest stretches of asphalt.
Inside the RAV4, you’ll find a clean, practical design with intuitive controls that take seconds – not minutes or hours – to orient yourself with. The RAV4 also delivers generous cargo space, especially for a compact crossover, featuring a capacious 73 cubic feet with rear seats folded. To get those rear seats folded, all that’s required is the flip of one lever; no need to remove headrests or seat cushions, as is necessary in many RAV4 competitors. Another item of convenience is the perfectly flat and low-lying cargo floor, which makes it much easier to load heavier cargo.
Toyota always puts occupant safety at the top of its priority list. That’s why every RAV4 comes standard with the Star Safety System™, integrating Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Antilock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist to help the driver maintain control during emergency maneuver situations. The RAV4 also comes standard with six airbags, side-impact door beams, an energy-absorbing front crumple zone and energy dissipating interior trim.
These standard safety features helped the RAV4 earn a top score of “Good” in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
To further validate the outstanding value the RAV4 delivers, top automotive research resource IntelliChoice recently awarded it “2011 Best Overall Value of the Year” for the Compact Crossover/Wagon segment. The award is determined by analyzing total cost of ownership including depreciation, maintenance, repairs, fuel, financing and insurance.
The RAV4 has been a perennial favorite in the world of compact crossovers. It offers efficiency, versatility and value you have to see for yourself, so come in today for a test drive of the 2011 Toyota RAV4.