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    Review: 2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD


    • Patient Zero In The Compact Crossover Class Enters The Forth Generation.


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    December 17, 2013

    Author's Note: With 2013 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, we've decided to clear out the remaining 2013 vehicle reviews this week. Everyday a new review will appear on the front page. If you miss one day, don't worry, we'll have links to the previous reviews just below. -WM

    Monday: Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV

    Wednesday: Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD

    Thursday: Toyota Land Cruiser

    Friday: Lexus LS 600h L

    The compact crossover marketplace has become one of the most crowded and contested in the automotive world. It seems a month doesn't go by without news of a new or redesigned compact crossover. Automakers are trying to differentiate their crossovers by going somewhat daring with their designs, making them fun to drive, filling them with tech, and other items. But there is one thing some automakers can play to their advantage, name recognition. No one is more apparent of this than Toyota. The automaker is patient zero of the compact crossover marketplace with the RAV4, first introduced back in 1996. For the past three-generations, the RAV4 has been one of the best selling compact crossovers in the U.S. This past year saw Toyota introduce the latest-generation of the RAV4. The question of course is whether in light of fresh competition, can the RAV4 retain its title of being one of the best sellers?

    2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD 7

    With the fourth-generation RAV4, Toyota made drastic changes to the design. The most notable one is around back with Toyota retiring the swing-out tailgate and spare-tire carrier. Instead, the 2013 RAV4 features a standard liftgate with large taillights and a rear spoiler sitting on top. Moving to the front, the RAV4 has a new front clip with a split grille layout and chrome accent bars running into the headlights. Along the side, designers did some sculpting and added a bit of a downward slope to the roofline. A final touch for the RAV4's design is body cladding along the bottom of the entire vehicle. Much like C&G's Managing Editor Drew Dowdell said in his quick drive of the RAV4, I wasn't too keen on the design at first, but it has grown on me since then.

    Moving inside, the RAV4 features a mix of good and bad ideas. The good ideas start with an improved dashboard that features a leather-like material and stitching. There's also a color touchscreen radio that is standard across the range and can be equipped with the user-friendly Entune infotainment system with navigation on the XLE and Limited. While the graphics look somewhat dated compared to competitors, the interface is very intuitive.

    2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD 12

    Other good ideas for the RAV4 include in airy cabin thanks to large amount of glass in the vehicle. The back seat provides comfortable seating for two people despite them being somewhat firmer than the ones up front. Cargo Space in the RAV4 is best in class with 38.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats up and 73.4 Cubic Feet with the rear seats down.

    The bad ideas in the RAV4 begin with other materials used inside. Hard plastics are very noticeable all around the interior from the door panels to the center console. Certain pieces of interior are finished faux 'carbon fiber' looking trim which looks completely out of place. That trim also appears to have issues with quality as it looked pretty scratched up in this 10,000 mile example. Also, I wish Toyota would give the navigation system a dedicated button on the radio and not have it buried in the Apps section of the system.

    2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD 15

    No Toyota. Just No.

    To find out how the RAV4's powertrain and suspension fared, see the next page.

    Only one engine is available, a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic comes standard, while the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive is available. My tester came with the all-wheel drive system. Despite having the lowest numbers powertrain-wise in the class, the RAV4 doesn't feel like it at all. This is due to the six-speed automatic which is smart enough to keep the four-cylinder right in the sweet spot of the power band.

    2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD 9

    You also have the choice of two different drive modes. ECO dulls the throttle response and limits the output of the climate control system. I only tried this setting a couple of times and didn't particular like it at all since it makes the four-cylinder feel very sluggish, like it's trying to move a vehicle that's three times heavier than the RAV4. Then there is Sport which improves the throttle response and quickens the shifts from the six-speed automatic. It does improve the performance and driving fun of the RAV4 somewhat.

    Fuel economy-wise, the EPA rates the 2013 RAV4 AWD at 22 City/29 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the week landed around 22 MPG.

    On the ride-and-handling front, the RAV4 sits right in the middle. The suspension is comprised of a MacPherson strut setup in the front and a double wishbone coil spring setup in the back that provided a very comfortable ride which was able to absorb bumps and imperfections. In the corners, the RAV4 feels confident around the corners and body roll is kept in check. While it's no match for the Mazda CX-5 in driving fun, the RAV4 should fill the role of being a crossover that gets you from point a to b with no problem. One area I wish Toyota would work on is minimizing the amount of road and engine noise coming into the cabin.

    2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD 4

    Much like Drew in his conclusion of the RAV4, I have to say the RAV4 is just right. The total package from the powertrain to the list of standard equipment should help keep the RAV4 up there in the best selling compact crossovers. But I have to wonder this: What if Toyota gave the RAV4 a bit more time in development? Would it look somewhat like the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5?

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the RAV4, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas.

    Year: 2013

    Make: Toyota

    Model: RAV4

    Trim: XLE AWD

    Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with VTT-i

    Driveline: All-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 6,000

    Torque @ RPM: 172 @ 4,100

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/29/25

    Curb Weight: 3,585 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Woodstock, Ontario

    Base Price: $25,690.00

    As Tested Price: $28,552.00 (Includes $845.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Display Audio with Navigation and Entune - $1,030.00

    Running Boards - $549.00

    Roof Rack Cross Bars - $229.00

    Body Side Molding - $209.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    Nice write up, learned allot about the Rav4. Have to say that the interior dash is just plain Hideous! Not a fan and it looks utilitarian cheap to me.

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    Having just driven a rental 2014 Camry SE with the same drive train, I was very unimpressed overall with the 2.5 and it's mileage. 0-60 performance was in the 9 second range(8.7 in sport mode) and I never came close to the reported 35 highway figure. Sounds like the Rav 4 averaging only 22 is also moving around more weight than it should. Why Toyota dropped an optional engine from a CUV and still offers it in there mid size sedan is a bit dumb.

    In comparison a rental 2013 Malibu 2LT did the 0-60 run in 7.7 seconds and got it's rated 34 on the open road on the same exact route and my buddies Kia Sorento FWD with the GDI 2.4/automatic feels quite peppy and gets 25 overall MPG.

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      One characteristic we liked about the SRX was its comfortable ride. Yes, it flies in the face of Cadillac’s message of beating the German’s at their own handling game. But buyers loved the smoothness on offer. Sadly, the XT5 loses a bit of the smoothness. Despite our tester featuring an adaptive suspension system, the XT5 wasn’t able to fully iron out bumps. Some of this can be attributed to 20-inch wheels fitted to our tester. At least the XT5 keeps road and wind noise out of the interior. Like the SRX, the XT5 isn’t sporty. Body motions are kept in check, but the light weight and nonexistent feel from the steering puts a halt to that idea. 
      An item Cadillac has been touting on the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror. Available only on the top-line Platinum, the mirror can stream the view from the rear camera by flicking a switch. We found this to be really helpful when backing out of parking lots as it gave a view that isn’t hindered by the thick rear pillars. Hopefully, Cadillac spreads this feature down to other trims of the XT5. 
      In some respects, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a step forward. The model improves on certain parts of the SRX such as a more luxurious and spacious interior, improved CUE system, and sharper looks. But in other respects, Cadillac messed up with the XT5. The 3.6L V6 needs to be shown the door and a new engine that offers better low-end performance to take its place. The loss of the smooth ride that the SRX was known for hurts the XT5 as well. Finally, there is the price. Our XT5 Platinum tester came with an as-tested price of $69,985. It is a nice crossover. But if we’re dropping close $70,000 on a luxury crossover, we can think of a few models that would be ahead of the XT5.
      It should be noted that the Cadillac XT5 has taken the place of the SRX of being the brand’s best selling model. At the end of 2016, Cadillac moved 39,485 XT5s. But unlike the SRX which we could recommend without hesitation, the XT5 comes with a number of caveats that we cannot do the same.
      Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the XT5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Cadillac
      Model: SRX
      Trim: Platinum
      Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT DI
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,700
      Torque @ RPM: 271 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Spring Hill, TN
      Base Price: $62,500
      As Tested Price: $69,985 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $2,340.00
      20-inch Wheels - $2,095.00
      Trailering Equipment - $575.00
      Black Ice Body Side Moldings - $355.00
      Compact Spare Tire - $350.00
      Black Ice License Plate Bar - $310.00
      Black Roof Rails - $295.00
      Black Splash Guards - $170.00
    • By William Maley
      The spotlight for Toyota's truck and SUV lineup has been on the Tacoma TRD Pro. But the company is moving the spotlight on three models; RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra with the introduction of new trims and various updates.
      We'll work our way on three models that made their debut this morning at the Chicago Auto show in alphabetical order. First up is the 2018 RAV4 Adventure, position for those who live an active outdoor lifestyle. It certainly looks the part with a taller ride height, larger fender flairs, blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels, and lower body cladding. The interior comes with all-weather floor mats, door sill protectors, and 120V outlet in the cargo area.
      Power still comes from a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. But the Adventurer gets the RAV4's optional towing package as standard. This includes an upgraded radiator, engine oil cooler, and transmission oil cooler. The Adventurer goes on sale this September with pricing to announced at a later date.
      Next is the 2018 Sequoia. All trims will get the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. Outside, the Sequoia boasts a new front bumper and grille.
      There is a new trim joining the Sequoia lineup known as the TRD Sport. This trim features black mirror caps and exterior badges; smoked taillight lenses, and 20-inch alloy wheels finished in black. Black fabric covers the seats, with leather an option. There is also a TRD gear knob and TRD floor mats. Power comes from a 5.7L iForce V8 with 381 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic. There is the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Toyota has done some suspension work for the Sequoia TRD Sport with Bilstein shock absorbers and TRD antiroll bars.
      Finally, there is the 2018 Tundra. Like the Sequoia, the Tundra will get Toyota's Safety Sense-P suite as standard equipment, along with a revised grille and headlight designs. There will also be a TRD Sport trim on offer as well. For the Tundra, this includes a hood scoop, body color mirrors and bumpers; LED headlights, 20-inch silver aluminum wheels with black insets, and TRD Sport decals on the bedsides. Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear antiroll bars are used to improve handling.
      The TRD Sport will be available on the double cab and CrewMax body styles, along with the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
      The 2018 Sequoia and Tundra arrive at dealers in September.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Roughing It in Style - - Toyota Introduces the New 2018 Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure Models
      New Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport Grades Receive added Styling and Performance Handling Upgrades Standard Toyota Safety Sense – P Refreshed Styling on all Tundra and Sequoia Models New RAV4 Adventure adds Dirt-Inspired Styling and Higher Ride Height CHICAGO, Feb. 9, 2017 - - Families on the go, TRD style!  Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup truck and Sequoia large SUV have long been ideal for adventuresome families in need of that unique combination of performance, utility, towing ability and comfort.  For 2018, the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have developed the new TRD Sport grade for Tundra and Sequoia, offering active families an extra dose of sportier styling and performance for added fun and excitement on their next journey.   
      In addition to the new TRD Sport grades, Tundra and Sequoia will receive new styling, convenience and safety features for all 2018 models, including Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) as standard equipment.
      Outdoor family fun isn’t exclusive to Toyota’s two largest truck and SUV models.  For the 2018 model year, the popular RAV4 compact crossover adds a new Adventure grade for young families looking for fun in out-of-the-way places.   Already a fun-to-drive crossover for young families with active lifestyles, the new RAV4 Adventure adds a sportier take-me-anywhere attitude for the weekend warrior.
      Tundra TRD Sport
      The new Tundra TRD Sport is available on 4x4 and 4x2 grades in CrewMax and Double Cab configurations and powered by the proven 381-horsepower 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.  Driving performance will be enhanced with the addition of TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features for the TRD Sport include:
      Color-keyed mirrors, front and rear bumpers Color-keyed hood scoop 20-inch alloy silver sport wheels LED Headlights with smoked chrome bezel, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights Mesh grille with body color surround TRD Sport bedside graphic Exterior colors for the TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray, Midnight Black Pearl, Blazing Blue Pearl and Barcelona Red Metallic.
      The exterior styling is complemented with interior features that include a TRD shift knob and TRD Sport floor mats. 
      The TRD Sport is just part of an overall refresh for the 2018 Tundra.  Safety will be enhanced on all Tundra models with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS-P) as standard equipment.  This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Auto High Beams (AHB) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).  Drivers can view the status of TSS-P through an upgraded Multi-information Display.
      The 2018 Tundra will receive exterior updates that include a new mesh grille on select trims while the Tundra Limited and 1794 Edition will receive a new billet style grille.  The Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition will be equipped with new LED Headlights and Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights.  LED headlights and Fog Lights are also available when the TRD Off-Road Package is selected on SR5 models.  The SR and SR5 grades will receive halogen headlights with a black bezel and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). 
      Sequoia TRD Sport
      The brawny 2018 Sequoia TRD Sport will be available in 4x4 and 4x2 models equipped with the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.   Road handling is enhanced with TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features on the Sequoia TRD Sport will include:
      New front grille and bumper grille insert Metallic black mirror caps 20-inch alloy black sport wheels Darkened rear tail light housing Black satin finish TRD Sport badging on the front doors and a Metallic black and chrome Sequoia badge on the liftgate Exterior colors for the Sequoia TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and the new Midnight Black Metallic.  The stylish exterior treatment will be complemented by an assortment of interior convenience features exclusive to the Sequoia TRD Sport including:
      Standard black fabric seven-passenger seating Optional Black leather captain chair seats (part of the optional Premium Package) TRD shift knob TRD Sport floor mats TRD Sport sill protectors In addition to the TRD Sport, Sequoia will be available in SR5, Limited and Platinum grades in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.  All will be powered by the i-Force V8 engine. Like Tundra, the 2018 Sequoia will raise the bar in the area of safety as TSS-P will be standard on all models (includes PCS w/PD, LDA, AHB, and DRCC).    
      All Sequoia models will also come standard with new LED headlights with LED DRL, and LED fog lights.  Additional exterior updates include a new front grille and bumper grille insert, distinctive to each grade.  A bumper opening chrome surround will be equipped on TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum grades. 
      The 2018 Sequoia will be available in eight exterior colors including three new colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Toasted Walnut Pearl.  Additional colors include: Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, and Sizzling Crimson.
      Inside, all Sequoia models will come standard with a new instrumentation panel gauge cluster and 4.2-inch Multi-information Display (MID) that tracks the status of TSS-P.  Also new are an updated center speaker grille smoothed to the surrounding dashboard and interior trim with wood-like accents for Platinum grade.
      RAV4 Adventure
      The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive.  Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height.  As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P.  Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:
      Large overfender flares 18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires Lower body guards Black headlight bezels Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.
      The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:
      Unique interior trim panels Leather-wrapped shift knob 120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area Adventure door sill protectors All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.
      The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.

      View full article
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