The leader's way
The immensely-popular Toyota RAV4 is a leader among sport utility vehicles. I’m not referring to technology, innovation or styling; I’m just saying it’s a leader based on Canadian sales volumes… as has been the case for several years.
While short on visual aggressiveness and driving excitement, the RAV4 still manages to score points on all fronts. In other words, it doesn’t really stand out in one particular aspect, but no other SUV can do it all as commendably. And if it were not for its higher MSRP, this Toyota would likely be crowned an all-industry champion.
Admittedly, the third-generation RAV4 isn’t quite the head-turner. For sure, the slight cosmetic changes to the 2010 model, especially up front, make it more attractive while aerodynamics remain among the segment’s best. Lines and angles have been carefully drawn and smoothened to ensure low drag and add sex appeal to an otherwise bland design. Of course, the hatch-mounted spare tire à la Jeep Wrangler suggests at least some sense of ruggedness.
It’s a shame the relatively-tall step-in height makes rear-seat access harder for small passengers, however. That said, my biggest complaint here comes from the sideward-opening rear hatch (in lieu of a conventional liftgate). Needless to say things get tricky when you need to load items while parked in a tight lot. On a positive note, the low cargo floor facilitates the operation and even offers a secret compartment underneath.
Inside, the RAV4 arguably boasts a stylish, well-executed layout, with logically-positioned controls (particularly those for the HVAC system) being the focal point of a modern, eye-pleasing dashboard.
Also worth mentioning is the abundance of comfort amenities in Limited trim, including a 6-CD changer, dual-zone automatic climate control and a back-up camera.
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