September 30, 2013
Managing Editor - CheerandGears.com
Some Crossovers are too this; some Crossovers are too that; and some Crossovers are just right. This is the Goldilocks’ impression I walked away with after my quick drive of the 2013 Toyota RAV-4 AWD.
Toyota rarely releases radical designs, but the first visual impression of the RAV-4 is that Toyota is trying to break that habit, though cautiously. The RAV-4 seems to drop the family face shared by the rest of the Toyota line, yet retains enough familiarity to fit in. I admit to not being a fan of the new look at first, but it has grown on me.
Step inside and you are greeted with a roomy interior for the class. The dashboard continues the unconventional look from the outside with an unusual two tier dash. Upscale materials are found on most places you would normally touch, however some of the lower panels have clearly been through some cost-cutting. The overall look of the dash layout is what one might expect if a car manufacturer produced a luxury compact pickup, with a very upright and blocky appearance. Most of the switchgear is standard Toyota and the everyday buttons are easy to reach and have a simple layout. Lesser used switches are low on the center stack and a bit harder to operate by touch.
Though dimensionally similar to vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Ford Escape, the Toyota RAV-4 makes the most of those dimensions and feels larger and roomier inside thanks to its light and airy cabin.
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Like the interior? How does the RAV-4 drive? On to page 2!
One area that Toyota has nailed it is in overall refinement. From the perky 2.5 liter 4-cylinder with Lexus like manners, to the buttery smooth 6-speed automatic transmission, to the supple yet spritely independent suspension, the RAV-4 would keep Goldilocks happy for a long while.
The Toyota RAV-4 has been one of the best selling vehicles in its segment for years, often taking the best seller crown. While Toyota has gotten a little out of their comfort zone on styling, they have put together a total package in the 2013 model that only strengthens their solid market position. I'll bet a whole lot of Goldilockses out there will end up finding the 2013 RAV-4 to be just right.
As Tested Price: $31,869
Disclaimer: Toyota provided the 2013 Toyota RAV-4 during a drive event held for members of the International Motor Press Association.
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