The 2012 Toyota RAV4 has a very high Total Car Score, possibly reflecting the fact that this vehicle started the whole small-car-based crossover SUV movement. And the RAV4 is still going strong and selling well, finding favor with reviewers and buyers alike.
The RAV4 offers seating for up to seven (a rarity in this class), plus maximum cargo space of 73 cubic feet. And the third row of seating can fold away without encroaching on that space to any significant degree. The only problem there is a tailgate hinge on the right -- great for parking and loading on a Japanese or British street, not so good for those who drive on the "right" side of the road.
There is some faint praise. The four-cylinder engine is a solid start, and the vehicle is somewhat capable off road (with 7.5 inches of ground clearance). A comfortable ride with effective driving positon add further to the RAV4's appeal. Put these all together and the RAV4 stacks up as a desirable choice in this segment.
The 2012 model year sees some changes offered in the audio department, with new features such as song tagging (where a song title is "saved" so it can be downloaded at a later date), the vocalization of text messages, Bluetooth connectivity and Toyota's Entune infotainment system.
A new generation of RAV4 is expected in the next year or two.
The 2012 Toyota RAV4 midsize/compact crossover SUV offers seating for up to seven. It also offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, regardless of trim level. Those trims are: base, Sport and Limited.
While many companies have bigger engines in higher trim levels, Toyota makes two drivetrains available in all trims. The four-cylinder option is a 2.5-liter unit making 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, linked to a four-speed automatic transmission. Or there's a V6 with 269 hp, 246 lb-ft and a five-speed auto.
Basic equipment starts with air conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth, plus an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary mini-jack socket and iPod connectivity. Sport trim brings 18-inch alloy wheels and tauter suspension settings. Limited keeps with the comfy suspension tune while adding heated mirrors, climate control, keyless ignition, automatic on/off headlights and a better audio system.
Among the options are navigation, satellite radio, sunroof, roof rack, tow package, heated front seats and Toyota's Entune infotainment system.
EPA estimates for the 2012 RAV4 are 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined for the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive; with all-wheel drive, those figures are 21/27/24 mpg. The V6 with front-wheel drive returns 19/27/22 mpg; all-wheel-drive versions achieve 19/26/21 mpg.
When equipped with the optional tow package, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
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