What's New for 2014:
- Family of Entune audio systems
- Optional Technology package for RAV4 Limited adds several safety features
Toyota says that it created the compact crossover SUV segment with the original RAV4, and now, nearly 20 years later, the RAV4 is among the largest vehicles in its exceptionally broad class. It competes against the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Rogue Select, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Volkswagen Tiguan.
In addition to the standard RAV4 model, Toyota produced a low-volume electric version of the RAV4 in 2013, one based on the previous-generation 2012 RAV4. The automaker had not confirmed whether this model will continue for 2014 as this overview was written.
Models and Features
Three versions of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 are on sale: LE, XLE, and Limited. Choosing the XLE trim level adds fog lights, aluminum wheels, roof rails, variable windshield wipers, heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, and upgraded exterior trim. A power sunroof is also included for this trim level, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control, nicer interior trim than is found on base LE versions, a cargo cover, and sport-bolstered front seat designs.
The RAV4 Limited is equipped with SofTex leatherette seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, heated front seats, keyless passive entry with push-button starting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and sun visor extensions. Larger 18-inch aluminum wheels, automatic headlights, and a power tailgate also distinguish the RAV4 Limited.
Options and Packages
Aside from roof rails and a cargo cover that can be installed in the RAV4 LE, the RAV4 XLE and Limited trim levels can be optioned with Entune touch-screen audio systems that can include satellite radio, HD Radio, iTunes tagging capability, advanced voice-recognition technology, a premium audio system, and a navigation system. Safety upgrades are limited to the Limited version, which offers a Technology package containing a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure alert, and Auto High Beam headlights.
Under the Hood
A 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine is the only power plant offered for the 2014 RAV4. It generates 176 horsepower, delivered to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission equipped with Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes. In addition to sharpening the transmission's shift timing, the Sport mode quickens the RAV4's throttle and steering response, Toyota says. An automatic limited-slip differential is also standard.
A Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional. In Auto mode, the RAV4 AWD operates as a front-drive vehicle, transferring torque to the rear wheels when the front wheels slip or when the system detects, through steering inputs and yaw sensors, spirited driving. In Sport mode, power transfer to the rear wheels begins the moment the steering wheel is turned. Up to 50% of engine power can flow to the rear wheels in Auto and Sport modes, depending on driving conditions.
The RAV4 AWD also has an AWD Lock button that works at speeds up to 25 mph to lock the engine power split evenly between the front and rear wheels for maximum traction on slippery surfaces.
The Toyota RAV4 is EPA-rated to return 24 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg in combined driving when equipped with front-wheel drive. Add the optional AWD system and those figures are 22 mpg, 29 mpg, and 25 mpg, respectively.
Safety Ratings and Technology
In addition to 8 air bags and Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seat designs, the 2014 RAV4 is equipped with a standard reversing camera and Smart Stop Technology that is designed to prevent the crossover from accidentally accelerating as long as the driver has their foot on the brake pedal. For 2014, a new Technology package adds a lane-departure alert system, Auto High Beam headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, and a rear cross-traffic alert system.
In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2014 RAV4 receives a 4-star (out of 5 stars) overall rating. Note that in the frontal-impact test, the front passenger protection level is rated 3 stars.
As this overview is written, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not officially rated the 2014 RAV4 for crashworthiness.