2017 Toyota RAV4 review: What they are not telling you about this SUV


The 2017 Toyota RAV4 is the best compact crossover
for you if you’re interested in unraveling a minor automotive mystery. This is America’s best-selling SUV of any
type. But it’s far from the most engaging to drive. Its engine lacks today’s most advanced technology. And the styling seems to be reaching for a
sporty look without quite nailing it. Base prices are on the high side — the top-of-the-line
Platinum model starts at $37,000 and you can’t get it with leather upholstery. This Hybrid Limited model stickers for thirty-five
grand — and although it’s significantly more powerful than the gas-only RAV4, it’s no more exciting to drive. So what’s the attraction? I’m Chuck Giametta. Join me for a CarPreview video review of the 2017 Toyota RAV4 [music intro] The nameplate debuted for 1996, at the dawn
of the crossover age, when Toyota launched the Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel
drive. None of its four design generations has had
true four-wheel drive using instead lighter-duty all-wheel drive. But each has been among the volume leaders
in a class that’s grown to a dozen direct competitors, including the Honda CR-V, Ford
Escape, Jeep Cherokee, and Nissan Rogue. This latest RAV4 got a mild facelift for 2016
and also added the Hybrid model. For ’17, it goes upscale, adding the Platinum
version and, more important, every RAV now comes standard with a comprehensive set of
safety features, including emergency braking that can automatically stop it before you
hit another vehicle or a pedestrian. Most competitors limit that sort of safety
coverage to upper trim levels, and then charge a thousand dollars or more for it. So no mystery that safety-minded shoppers
should consider a RAV4. Even the entry-level LE model gets the Toyota
Safety Sense feature. Besides emergency braking, it includes self-correcting
steering to keep you in your lane and radar cruise control to maintain a set distance
from traffic ahead. Most RAV4 shoppers choose the next model up
the ladder, the XLE. Interested in sportier looks and tighter handling? Go with the SE. The Limited was the flagship, but the Platinum
assumes that role for 2017. All these models come standard with front-wheel
drive. About sixty percent of buyers choose all-wheel
drive. The only choice in a gas engine is a four-cylinder
with below-average power for the segment. Most rivals have direct fuel injection; it
doesn’t. And it has to motivate a crossover that’s
a little heavier than the class average. Still acceleration is about midpack, and so
is fuel economy. If, however, you want to do more than merely
keep up with everyday traffic, consider a V-6 Cherokee or a turbocharged Escape or Subaru
Forester. If you’re interested in a compact-crossover
hybrid, your investigation stops here: this is the only one in the class. It teams a four-cylinder gas engine with an
electric motor to power the front wheels. Another electric motor back here kicks in
when you need all-wheel drive. The Hybrid produces more power than the gas-only
RAV4, but it’s 350 pounds heavier, so acceleration is about the same. It is, however, the most fuel-efficient compact
crossover of any type; it even beats the subcompact Subaru Crosstrek hybrid. Still, fewer than 15 percent of RAV4 buyers
consider it the answer to their compact-crossover riddle. Every RAV4 driver must contend with the enigma
that is this steering. It treats precision and road feel like secrets. It’s the prime suspect in an uninvolving driving
experience. Its accomplice is a suspension that allows
lots of body lean in sharp turns. The SE model reacts quicker and feels more
composed. But it’s the choice of just five percent of
RAV4 shoppers. On the upside, every RAV4 is a stable straightline
cruiser. We’re mystified that handling isn’t a greater
priority to the majority of RAV4 drivers. But when you experience this crossover’s comfortable
ride and quiet, well-designed cabin, the attraction begins to reveal itself. The structure is solid, the interior roomy
and pleasant. Gauges and controls are logically arrayed
and all but the LE and XLE have convenient pushbutton ignition. The shifter moves through a cheap plastic
gate, but this padded swath across the dashboard is a real upmarket touch, and every model
has lots of interior storage. LE and XLE have cloth upholstery, the others
get a synthetic leather Toyota calls SofTex. It’s cooler and more durable than leather,
the company claims, and with this nice stitching, it feels pretty convincing. The front seats are firmly supportive, SE
buckets get extra bolstering The rear seat is among the more spacious in
the class. All but the LE have a power liftgate, and
cargo room is exceptional — although their extra powertrain hardware gives hybrids this floor intrusion. So room and comfort are clues. But to really unravel this mystery, you’ve
got to look to issues of reliability, quality, and reputation. They’re excellent and Toyota says they’re
the top three reasons buyers purchase a RAV4. Sure enough, independent sources like JD Power
and ALG rank this among the very best crossovers for dependability and resale value. And with Toyota Safety Sense now standard,
every RAV earns Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. All that adds value, and even if prices are
not rock bottom, Toyota tends to be generous with incentives. That helps offset prices that are higher than
most direct competitors, with the new Platinum model among the costliest vehicles in the
class. Starting just over $29,000, the XLE with all-wheel
drive is the single best selling RAV4. It comes nicely equipped with 17-inch alloys,
heated mirrors with integrated turn-signals, a power moonroof, and the power liftgate. SE, Limited, and Platinum count LED headlamps
among their standard features, along with 18 inch alloys. The SE wheels follow that model’s dark-trim
theme. Toyota doesn’t offer Android Auto or Apple
CarPlay, relying instead on its own smartphone integration, called Entune. It works well, and can be supplemented by
imbedded navigation that doesn’t require a cell signal. Imbedded nav, which includes a bird’s-eye-view
camera system, is standard on Limited and Platinum. It’s a $525 option on the XLE but a $1,300
extra on the SE, where it’s bundled with a high-power JBL audio system. The Platinum is the first RAV4 with features
like a heated steering wheel and hands-free power liftgate. It’s aimed at compact-SUV buyers who want
more amenities without the bulk of a midsize or the baggage of a premium-brand. Speaking of which, Toyota’s upscale Lexus
division sells an enhanced version of this crossover as the NX. It starts just a few hundred dollars above
the new RAV4 Platinum. So solving the RAV4 popularity puzzle comes
down to some very practical matters. It makes few demands on its owners, and if
you don’t demand driving excitement, it’s likely to prove a trustworthy companion. And that’s exactly what lots of people want. What’s so mysterious? For more on this and other cars, trucks, and
SUVs, go to CarPreview.com and please subscribe to our CarPreview YouTube channel.

Paul Whisler

99 Comments

  1. Exciting handling has a lot in common with weirdos that jump lanes all the time or drive 200km/h on tiny roads near a cliff.

  2. If you want Sporty handling SUV go for Mazda CX5. But i dont care i like this Rav4. Styling wise and Value i'll go for Rav 4

  3. I love this 2015 le AWD, but now that the extended DIY servicing is coming due I'm finding it is not DIY friendly. So far the oil and engine filter changes were easy, but when I discovered the transmission dip stick is no longer available, this had me worried and I was right. The transmission oil change is complex and requires 3 special machines to do the work. This means you NEED Toyota to be 100% certain to get the job done right and be warrantied. I'm not buying another Toyota, and I'm going back to the next vehicle that still carries the old 4X4 system. Jeep is where I'm going to when this vehicle's life is over. Give me the tough locking front hubs and Dana front axle any day. I know a ploy when I see it, and forcing people out of DIY this way is too obvious.

  4. The SE drives like how he like it but only 5% will pick the SE. The rest has vague steering lol what does that tell you about this guy. I love how my 17 rav4 hybrid feels, smooth and easy. I'm driving a small suv everyday and don't need to feel like I'm working out at the gym every time I drive. If I want to feel every bump on the road and carve corners I wouldn't buy this suv.

  5. Actually I have heard that this Rav-4 is fun to drive it has good handling. Was this car supposed to compete against a BMW M5 or something ? why do you keep on talking about performance and exciting to drive? People who buy this Rav-4, CRV and the rest dont buy any of them because their exciting to drive. Please focus on what these cars are built for and why people buy them.

  6. What do you mean it doesn't have true four wheel drive? What do you think happens under 25mph when you push the button?

  7. I have a 2009 Limited with the V6 and I love it. I got this one shortly after having a WRX and it's almost as much fun to drive. If it had a stick shift it'd be more fun.

  8. The Rav4 is not a true AWD vehicle. Please do some research on youtube about how this AWD system does not work well. I just bought a 2017 Rav4 and very disappointed with it. I am already trading it in for a Subaru. I have owned and raved about Toyotas since I was sixteen and this car is not good in the snow or ice. The Crosstek is far superior. I will debate anyone on this issue.

  9. I own the 2015 awd got new. The car is unsurpassed on snow packed highways and in the snow is great. But it does best w/WINTER tires, not all season(I use Avalanche square lug tires) . This will give a slightly higher road noise on the snow cleared flat top. I was a driver in the army and used to jeeps and tracked vehicles. I've always been a Jeep purchaser. I liked the clearance which was even all around and under vehicle. The one glitch is Toyota decided to run the exhaust pipe dead center under the engine in the front which is visible as a pimple. It lowers OA clearance by 1.5", and in a bad location under any vehicle at that. A reliable car for getting out of snow banks and stuck conditions. The ladies love it too and has heated seats.

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  11. Hmm i have a 2014 rav4 limited and i just realized that it has the same interior aspects (black and red) than the 2017 one.

  12. I purchased a 2016 RAV4 Limited Hybrid. It is a great little SUV. The only thing I am disappointed is the outdated GPS software. It leaves out many suburb city name (not match Postal Service name address). My Garmin or Magellan GPS have the correct city name.

  13. the only issue is that the head rests are terrible and the seats are too narrow.

  14. I have been looking for a new Midsized/compact SUV. The RAV4 has the comfy ride and quiet interior that I am looking for, and nice layout of the dashboard (more tradition design). The RAV4 is nice but this (unfortunately) is more like a hatchback – it sits too low. I guess they now call these crossovers. I want a compact SUV that is a SUV – meaning it should sit up higher for better visibility and safety.. The RAV4 tries to be sport with the lower roofline (not what I am looking for). It's a shame that I can't buy this one.. It really is nice. (Just a note: I looked at the new Honda Pilot. It is larger and sits up nice and high like I like. I love everything about the Pilot but the dashboard design so terrible (very nontraditional) that I can't buy that one either). Oh well, I will keep looking..

  15. Toyota is the best car brand in the world. They know what the majority of people want, a reliable and dependable vehicle. I own a 2016 Toyota Corolla S Premium. It's a a great car that i feel safe in and I know won't let me down. Who cares about performance or if it's boring, they get you from point A to B without any problems.

  16. So, what this guy is basically saying is that the Rav4 is a shitty but reliable car. Maybe not really shitty. But when alternative models are better at everything, that makes the Rav4 the shittiest of the bunch. But isn't that what Toyota is known for?

    If cars had attribute meters/stats, most Toyotas would suck at everything except durability, perceived reliability and possibly safety. Toyota has always been the tasteless, boring, safe choice. Many people know that already, but feel they don't need to be reminded of it, especially those who highly value the brand's perceived reliability. This is especially true in third world markets where Toyota manages to sell turd far worse than the Rav4 just because it has a "Toyota" on it. Toyota reserves all their good stuff for Lexus so they can milk more upmarket buyers.

  17. If I wanted driving excitement, I'd get an MX-5.  However, the MX-5 is noisy, hard riding, cramped and has no storage space.  On the other hand, the RAV 4 is quiet, comfortable, roomy and a pleasure to daily drive.

  18. I drove the 2016 Rav 4 LE last year for a couple days while my truck was in the shop being serviced. We had 8" of snow and the Rav4's AWD system worked great. Plenty of room.

    The 2.5L 4 cylinder has plenty of power. They're not a racecar but they'll get up and move pretty quick if you want them to. The base model LE with AWD has plenty of features and around $24-25k they're pretty well priced.

  19. I have a 2017 and its perfect..pefect ac..perfect heat…engine has enough pep for living in Ny..I'd buy it again..and it holds its resale..No jeeps for me …

  20. It's dependability. That's what you get with the Rav4. Oil changes are all you need more the most part. Mine was an insurance car from 2006-2015. I got it in 2016 and it's now a realtor car. I've doubled its mileage and the only thing that needed to be done so far was replacing the ORIGINAL battery from 2006.

  21. I have a 2011 Rav sport V6 and It is like a ROCKET SHIP, TONS of POWER…Bad thing is very basic interrior and Back door sucks with the spare tire. other then that there bullet Proof

  22. I thought the steering was fine. This actually has more power than others in it's class eg 132kw compared to outlander and Forester 124Kw with 4cy engines? what are you talking about.

  23. I own a 2014 it’s boring and reliable. It’s 2 wd and gets great mileage 30 mpg actual combined real life . Bought it new paid $23,000 on features it’s decent considering the price . I’ve owned Subaru great till they need service then $$$$ . To summarize Toyota = boring reliability and low service costs , finally good resale
    Oh the Jeep comparison REALLY?

  24. I've a Toyota Rav4 from new ,2002, its done175K miles and has not blinked once. What I want from a car is reliability. My next will be a Toyota.

  25. To me it's a piece of junk. Has had to many recalls. Just cheap looking and is over priced.

  26. The Toyota Rav4 does lag behind in looks and finish. However contrary to Chuck Giametta, the Engine is far more advanced than the carbon collecting Direct Injection engines adopted by other makers. Also the available tech leaves the others far behind for the value. Who is paying you Chuck….? Or or did you just not bother doing your homework…..?

  27. the 4cyl gas models have plenty of power.. I towed my camper down to the keys at +80mph and it did quite well without straining. that's even going over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Yeah its not a top fuel dragster but it still gets the job done and done well. Its comfortable on long drives even pulling a trailer. It handles as it should. I turn the wheel and it goes where I want it too.

  28. I drove the 1996 model as a learner… man it was nice and agile… never drove a rav4 since… but now im getting a beast 2008 rav 4 v6 sport… 22 years later im owning my 1st RAV 4..yay

  29. Toyota is only slightly more expensive to buy. Owning a Toyota makes sure you are extremely happy you spent the extra dollars All Toyota’s rock.

  30. If you want involving driving experience, get a sport car with a 6 speed manual transmission

  31. Because people don't want all that complicated bullshit in their cars, keep it safe, useful , low cost comformable & simple I say. It's stupid how you say it has poor handling when you never really pushed it.

  32. I didn't buy my Rav4 LE AWD for the style, or the exiting driving factor, or the acceleration, or the power, or trying to be cool.

    I bought it because it will drive forever without mechanical issues, I don't care if my kids get crumbs in the backseat or if it gets a dent in the parking lot, I can haul my family and luggage comfortably, and it cost me less than $24k to get a car with AWD.

  33. I bought a RAV4 XLE AWD. I wanted a vehicle to just…work. If I wanted a CVT that will break, I would have bought the Rouge. I like the Rouge, except Nissan's reputation with the CVT is poor. Too bad. The Jeep…HA ! lol. I hope they come with a lifetime warranty and a AAA card. The Honda CRV ? It's a nice vehicle but Honda's reliability slipped a bit in the past few years. So many folks are going to turbo charged 4cyls. No thanks. Another lubricated part to wear out. Thanks Toyota for keeping it simple and reliable !

  34. Nonsense. My previous vehicle was a 2013 GLK350. Traded for a limited 2016 Rav. Steering and precision are pretty equal to the previous. Handling is excellent considering that the tires are engineered for gas economy. Acceleration is 6.7 seconds to 60 using the sport mode and shifting manually starting in 4th. Refined and quiet over most road surfaces. Did a great job last New England winter season. Outstanding gas mileage and super comfortable seats. Also, I have been driving cars, all types through the years since I was 14years old back in 1969. Have owned more than 70 vehicles in that time. As far as SUVS go, I consider the Rav to be the best of its kind.

  35. Good review. Reliable yes, fuel economy for hybrid are great. Ride comfort, handling and noise are shit. Know this since my family owns one 🙂

    Great cars regardless

  36. be nice, if you didn't keep putting those stupid "facts" covering the screen… you can just SAY them.

  37. I own one, love everything but: steering breaking, power, winter stopping, cruise control breaking, safety brakes, or the boring experience giving me the tenancy to be super tired while driving. But the safety features will shock you back to life when you are trying to pass someone on the interstate but can't because the radar. Or the constant freaking out the system does when the slush from the road covers radar and cameras.
    I like everything but driving it. Traction is great unless you need to stop in the winter. AWD works great. The AWStop only works, when you don't want or need it to.

  38. You can keep your GARBAGE CVT transmissions, GARBAGE Direct injection and GARBAGE Turbochargers. I'd go with a Toyota instead of the competition's lastest wing ding bells and whistles that are proven headaches. Call it as boring as you like but I'll take reliability and resale value over EXCITING repair bills. There's a reason Toyotas have the reputation they do.

  39. I would simply say that buying a Toyota rav 4 car makes you confident to do so without any hesitation as it last for years & it deserves the money spent ! Thank you Toyota 👌

  40. I have driven Toyota's since 1988. I have put one O2 sensor on a 241k mile Corolla. That's it !!! Never a water pump, never an alternator, never a coil, I have never had an AC problem and I live in Texas. The only thing I do is routine maintenance ( oil, filters , brakes, and wiper blades ) . While others are complaining about expensive repairs I complain about the price of wiper blades. I have a very nice home and when people ask me how I can afford such a nice house I tell them because I drive Toyota's !!!

  41. You know what's expensive and exciting? Waiting for the tow truck to tow your JEEP.

  42. I disliked this video the second you recommended a jeep Cherokee. The xj's were phenomenal, but the new ones are trash.

  43. Don't buy a RAV4 limited, the JBL Greenedge Stereo is BRUTAL.. This is for many years from about 2012-2018. Look it up on various Toyota Forums.

  44. Kia sportage sx turbo. Will mop the floor with the rav4 in performance and handling. Have had one for 3 years quite happy with it.

  45. I’ve been at Toyota owner for years I had a Camry a Corolla a Toyota supra now I have a Rav4 . Simply put reliability is king by the way the other cars are still running . Handed down through out various family members

  46. Judging by the comments, you shouldn’t talk shit on the #1 best selling suv in the market. 😀. And your very wrong about so many things in this vid.

  47. Be careful this rav4 just mafunctioned and killed a whole family all airbags didn't deploy a da'gerous car.sorry i can't add the pictures

  48. Performances générales bien ordinaires, performance et endurance du freinage affreux et confort des sièges en tissus exécrable. Bruit de roulement prononcé. j'en possède un 2015 et ai bien hate de m'en départir.

  49. Which RAV4 should I get? The 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016, 2017? Should I get a hybrid or non hybrid? Thank you

  50. This Rav4 is better than my CRV. I plan on getting one of these eventually.

  51. the attraction is that it is still built in Japan/Canada and not in the US

  52. Honestly this car Samsung it comes to maintenance you have to get maintenance more than a regular car almost every so often like maybe 2 months are maybe even a month or even like 2 times a month most cars takes longer to have to have get maintenance

  53. Leased a 2018 RAV 4 XLE and is due back next year. Guess what I’m leasing next year?! 😄

  54. If a driver as a professional rewiver seats in a car like this guy than you allready know he is full of shit… Man cant adjust his seat right and he is talking about performance of a car…

  55. You want cutting tech and excitement buy BMW are jaguar you gonna be very excitingly drive to dealership for never ending fixate every few months

  56. I would never buy Direct Injection engine. I guess you like carbon built up around your intake valves…… YUCKIE

  57. We have a 2015 RAV4 and the GPS is all but useless.  It's very small and way too dim to be seen during the daytime with a lot of glare.  It is a very tuff little thing and we have gotten 32+ MPG with interstate only driving on 500 to 1000 mile trips.

  58. This guy must be getting kick backs from competitor car companies, last time I watch him.

  59. When I buy a vehicle I start with reliability, that's why I just bought a 2019 Rav4 LE two wheel drive model, my wife and I love it.

  60. So much of your review is elitist enthusiast hog wash. If I want excitement in my drive through the mountains, I’ll take my Miata. What I want in a vehicle like my 2016 RAV4 Limited is comfort, convenience, reliability, with a measure of style. The RAV4 delivers on all counts. For you to suggest a Jeep or turbo Ford compact SUV is totally throwing reliability out the window. Further, direct injection, by itself results in carbon build up on intake valves requiring additional maintenance. Toyota does direct injection right by using it in concert with port injection to prevent excessive carbon deposits on the valves. Lastly, the RAV’s 6 speed automatic transmission is orders of magnitude more reliable than many of the CVTs offered in competitors. You remind me of the reviewers at Motor Trend who will never give Toyota a fair shake.

  61. Here the SE trim with revised suspension is touted as the way to go, while Motortrend claim it gives an uncomfortable choppy ride. Personally for this type of car on the average US road, ride comfort is more important than ultimate cornering ability for most owners.

  62. It kills me how some reviewers just can't understand why people would buy a vehicle that's not a sports car. Some reviewers have been driving high end cars for free so long that they are out of touch with what people want.

  63. Toyota really blew it when they dropped the V6 option for the Rav after 2012. I love my 265 hp V6 and can't stand the sluggish response of the 4 bangers. Too bad because I really like the newer designs.

  64. Toyota vehicles are super popular because they are reliable. Weirdly its why I never think about buying them. Anytime you turn you see someone driving a Corolla, Camry, Rav4. The same for Honda. I like to be different…a little bit. I go for vehicles that attracts looks and questions. Nothing unique about the Rav4 besides reliability…for the most part.

  65. I bought the XLE and it does not have a power lift gate! Your review was good, but I bought this vehicle assuming it had it……….Jim

  66. With no disrespect intended, this guy lost me when at 03:12 he recommended viewers getting a Jeep or Ford, both with POS trim. He jumped the shark when using terms like "uninvolving driving experience." WTH does that mean. If showed up to the Toyota sales floor and said "I was considering getting the RAV4, but I heard on YouTube that it's flaw is it provides an uninvolving driving experience," I suspect the salesman would kick off the car lot, while screaming "I don't sell cars to girlie men! Go over to the Volvo lot, I hear with every car purchase they give you a free bumper sticker that says 'IT'S OK TO BE A GENTLE MAN.'"

    I have a 2018 RAV4 XLE AWD. We live in San Francisco. All I have to say about the performance of my RAV4: I was at the VA Medical Center for medical care (Agent Orange exposure in Viet Nam). As we were driving home I demonstrated the manual shift to the wife, remarking that as we were traveling east on Clement I couldn't shift past second gear because there's a stop sign every two intersections. She said she didn't care about what I was doing with what she thought was an automatic transmission "thingy."

    The wife LOVES our Toyota. It has a luxurious feel, it has plenty of "pep" (sorry, that's what she calls it), she feels safe in it. The AWD gives her a feel of safety in the rain and on turns. She likes that everything works. She especially likes her RAV4 when she's hot rodding around town, where her top speed the way she drives is about 35 mph. I keep the car well maintained, and spotless. The car is kept perfectly aligned.

    What we like best of all, our RAV4 is the closest one can get to calling a car an investment. By that I mean the RAV4 and other Toyotas depreciate at a snail's pace. This is because these cars are like a tank in construction, everything fits, there's no rattles, and the engine and transmission are legend, many examples showing 300,000 trouble-free miles on the odometer.

    That's why we love our RAV4. Oh, I have yet to take it on the freeway with a stopwatch to find out its 0 to 60 time. But I do confess, I drive with reckless abandon, meaning I roll with ECO mode OFF!!!

  67. my RAV is 2011, 230K miles so far, V6 sport, this guy wants to bash Rav, jerk. I bet he drives a Chevy that lasts for three years and then is ready for the junk yard.

  68. This guy should be in the oil business… He bored the life out of me. And I don't mean in the Debbie does Dallas way.

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