Test Drive: 2013 Toyota RAV4


I’ll say it, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 has won me over. In the past, I always felt that the little Toyota was too small, too under-powered, and had an exterior that was un-inspired and an interior that felt and looked cheap. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised when I slid behind the wheel of Toyota’s latest version of the RAV4. It still won’t win any beauty contests from the outside, but the exterior design has improved greatly over the years. The limited edition I was lucky to have sported fog lamps, a rear spoiler and 18” alloy wheels.

Settle in behind the wheel and the RAV4 continues to surprise you. My version was fitted with attractive two-toned black and rust red softex-trimmed upholstery, with matching colors throughout the cabin. The RAV4 comes extremely well equipped, especially when considering the cost as tested was just a hair over 30,000.

There’s an abundance of features like eight airbags, ABS, tire air pressure monitoring, moon roof, power lift gate, dual climate control, back-up camera, blind spot monitoring, 8-way adjustable and heated power seats with memory, USB ports, Blue Tooth connectivity and an easy to navigate centrally mounted touch screen.

The back seats comfortably accommodate grown adults and can split recline or fold completely flat for added comfort and trunk space, which is already considerable. Everything adds up to create a product that looks and feels more expensive than it actually is.

Where the RAV4 underwhelms is in the muscle department. Power is delivered via a 2.5 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with Toyota’s popular variable valve timing VVT-I system. This set up is only good for 176 horsepower at 4100 rpm. The limited power leaves a lot to be desired when accelerating, but helps the Toyota make a competitive 26 mpg city/highway combined. Another important consideration is that the Toyota RAV4 doesn’t have AWD as an option. Each model is FWD only.

I began my time with Toyota’s small SUV not expecting to be very impressed. After handing the keys back over I’m happy to report that my expectations were exceeded in almost every way. Sure you don’t get an expensive active AWD system or a powerful V6 like other SUV’s on the market. Truth is, many Toyota customers aren’t looking for or even needing that. If you want a small SUV that’s reliable, comfortable, well equipped and attractive on the inside and out…. for the money, you don’t have to look much further than the 2013 Toyota RAV4.

Price as tested: $30,015.00

-Brandon Randall

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