2017 Toyota RAV 4 Platinum all wheel drive compact CUV is a bit of a disappointment, but still a solid offering in the class. As a pioneer in the small utility vehicle market Toyota has done little to fight off the encroachment of Mazda, Subaru and Ford. The only place the 2017 RAV4 leads the class is in safety technology, with Toyota Safety Sense. In my opinion that alone weights the scales heavily in the RAV’s favor.
The exterior design adopts the angled headlamps, boat nose and sharp side lines of all the Toyota and Lexus line, while the interior
remains pretty plain Jane even with the up-trim leatherette interior. Seating comfort is passable; however, on longer trips you would be glad you selected the higher trim option. The dual zone climate control, heated 10 way power seats, decent rear seat leg and head room and lots of storage make the RAV4 a practical and sensible selection if you are looking to a small, economical, easy to drive utility vehicle. There is a shortage of cup holders, and there is only one USB and power point.
Hybrid option available
Power is underwhelming, but enough to get by for most who will buy this as a practical use car. The 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine produces only 176 horsepower and the optional Hybrid power plant cranks out 195. Neither will give neck snapping acceleration, but either will merge with traffic while offering decent economy. At 26 mpg overall for the gas model RAV4 is not leading the class, but if fuel economy is a major consideration you can opt for the Hybrid and reach a decent 31 mpg for only about an $800 premium.
Ride quality is decent without being anywhere near sporty. The car leans a bit much on corners, the steering is soft and the braking is about average for the class. All that being said the car is easy to drive, a pleasure to park and has few quirky irritations when operating.
Technology is where the RAV4 shines.
The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes emergency braking, lane keeping warning and assist, pedestrian warnings with emergency braking and dynamic cruise control. The system is standard on all Toyota cars and utilities for 2017.
There are a couple of features available only on the Platinum models; these include the heated steering wheel, Smart Key system, Entune with the 360 degree birds eye camera and a tail gate that opens with a sweep of your foot under the bumper. The 360 camera also incorporates predictive lines that show where the front corner of the car will be if you continue the current rear turn.
The 2017 RAV4 starts at a base price in the mid-20’s and can move up to about 39,000 with the Platinum series and all of the accessories. For a serviceable commuter utility, the mid-range RAV is fairly priced and equipped. If you are looking at the fully loaded versions of the Platinum you may consider moving over to the Lexus Nx for a few thousand more.
In this era of personal performance cars and statement vehicles the RAV is refreshing in its down to earth functionality. It has a job to do, does it well without drama or pretense.
Learn more about the RAV4 here
Listen to the on air review here.