GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toyota's Rav4

I forgot I was driving a crossover.  The 2012 Toyota Rav4 is so agile that I just forgot I had all that passenger room and storage space behind me.  I really enjoyed driving the Rav4.

For most of the people in my extended circle of friends, relatives and acquaintances, this vehicle would be enough.  Sure, I have about the same percentage of performance freaks in my circle as there are in the universe, but they are not the majority.

Underlying my recommendation is my belief that Toyota is a dedicated and reliable maker of vehicles.  And I'm not alone.  Despite a very challenging period in Toyota's history including the negative press regarding unintended acceleration, the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, the strong yen, the customers have remained loyal.  Net revenues were down 2.2 percent for fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.

This 5-door, 4x4 is powered by a 3.5 liter DOHC (double overhead cam valve) V6 that produces 269 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 246 ft-lbs of torque at 4600 rpm.  It has dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) which optimizes the rpms and controls the valve lifts resulting in a more efficient engine performance.  The engine is paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.  It has on demand 4-wheel drive, an electric power steering system and a sport-tuned suspension.

The cost of my vehicle with something called the extra value package MSRP discount (Basically, they threw in the delivery charge.) is $29,497.  I think its a handsome package for that money.

Fuel economy is 19 city/26 highway.  OK, not great.  Annual fuel cost is estimated at $2,500.  The 4-cylinder Rav4 has fuel economy of 22 city/28 highway.  Toyota, how about a turbo on that four?

One thing that annoys me in cars is the overly complex navigation/sound/ etc. systems.  Hats off to Toyota for keeping it simple.  I was able to check my fuel economy instantly and as an average by pressing a simple round button on the steering wheel.  It just proves that you can have your heart's desire without going through 50 steps to get a radio station.  I just hate that.

The cabin is very nicely appointed, comfortable seats, nice-to-the-touch use of materials. 

The Rav4 will debut later this year as an all-electric SUV has an expected driving range rating of approximately 100 miles and charging time of approximately six hours on a 240V/40A charger. The RAV4 EV’s driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equal to or exceed the gas powered RAV4 V6. Arriving fully-equipped with an MSRP of $49,800 the RAV4 EV doesn’t compromise on performance, comfort or versatility.

Look also at the Mazda CX5, Honda Pilot, Chevy Equinox. Jeep Liberty, Nissan Pathfinder.

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