The chocolate chip crossover cookie

2014 Toyota RAV4 Review

By Miranda Lightstone
2014 Toyota RAV4 Review

Summary Rating: 74%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Here’s the thing; you can’t really go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie. You know exactly what you’re biting into when you pick up that chocolate chip cookie. They’re easy to make and even easier to ingest. No matter what, you always know what you’re getting with the tried and true chocolate chip cookie. No surprises here.

That’s pretty much what it’s like to drive and own the RAV4. Perhaps not as flavourful or calorific (thankfully for the latter), but it is essentially the same experience. You know what you’re getting, and it’s a pretty safe bet you’re going to at least feel satisfied with it, if a little bored at the banality of it all. After all, it’s just another chocolate chip cookie.


What is a Toyota RAV4?
To be exact, RAV actually stands for Recreational Activity Vehicle, the 4 for its 4WD capabilities. So, Toyota brought the RAV4 to market in the hopes that it would attract young, active families to purchase its vehicle.

Since it’s launch in the late-‘90s the RAV4 has, thankfully, seen some heavy aesthetic changes. The latest design, now in its fourth generation, is the best-looking by far, and officially ditches the optional V6 in favour of a sole 4-cylinder mill.

2014 Toyota RAV4 Price & Specs
Available in both FWD and AWD, Toyota offers up five variations of its crossover RAV4. Regardless of trim level and extras, all come with the same engine: a 2.5L 4-cylinder VVT-I that’ll push out 173 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. Opt for the AWD drivetrain and you’ll also get Toyota’s active torque control system. A 6-speed automatic Super ECT (yes, that stands for Super Electronically Controlled Transmission) controls the power to either the front or all four wheels, respectively.

As for pricing, you could walk away with a base, bare-bones (but still plenty useful and perfect for the get-from-A-to-B commuter who needs extra space) Toyota RAV4 for just $23,870. However, if it’s a more “luxurious” and AWD version of the RAV4 you’re after, then hop to the front of the line with the AWD Limited equipped with a technology package for $35,345.

Our tester was an AWD XLE trimmed example with navigation system that retails for $31,080.

Driving the 2014 Toyota RAV4
Dress it up however you want, it’s still the same cookie deep down. It’ll satisfy that initial craving, but will get pretty bland by the end. It’s not exotic or enticing other than offering something you fully expect to receive.

So it goes with any time you’ll spend behind the wheel of the Toyota RAV4. It’s not unsatisfying in any way; in fact it’s quite pleasant. It’s precisely how you’d expect it to be upon looking at the crossover in the parking lot. Handling is standard, ride quality is all right if a bit rough at times, and throttle response and braking are ideal for city settings. Nothing drastic, nothing over the top and nothing very exotic; it’s no peanut brittle.

The 2014 Toyota RAV4 has enough oomph to merge on the highway and for passing maneuvers, and the steering response can seem vague at times, but then it’s not meant to be sharp and sport-like.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Toyota RAV4
This is most definitely the chocolate-chunk type cookie, no Chippits here. Toyota pulled out all the stops with the redesign and managed to create a RAV4 that’s kind of sexy and still inherently utilitarian. With a beefier version and interpretation of the brand’s front end, the RAV4 is much more appealing than its predecessors, that’s for sure.

Inside, the Toyota RAV4 has a bit of a taste explosion (imagine that first bite into a recently warmed-up up chocolate chip cookie). The interior space – especially in the upper trim levels – is actually quite impressive for the crossover. With an available 6.1” touchscreen (standard on XLE and Limited and optional on LE), reclining back seats, and dual-zone climate control, Toyota definitely stepped it up with the new RAV4.

Aesthetically, the interior is quite pleasing, too. I’ve never really been a fan of Toyota/Lexus interiors, but this is one of the better ones, and something I could live with in the long-term.

Comparing the 2014 Toyota RAV4
While the old RAV4 was eons behind the competition, it’s not stepped up its game enough to really go head to head (and chocolate chip to chocolate chip) with the likes of the Ford Escape and Kia Sportage.

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