Toyota RAV4

29 tips, secrets and surprises about the new Toyota RAV4

UPDATE: I just published a tutorial on how to get a new Toyota RAV4 without haggling. We use email instead of negotiating at the dealership. Click here to see this tutorial…

I admit it. I am a biased Toyota RAV4 fanboy.

Back in 1995, I saw the RAV4 for the first time and got it without test driving it.

Back then, the original two-door RAV4 was stunning to look at. Everywhere I went, people stopped me and asked me about this futuristic-looking crossover SUV.

And since 1995, I have bought (or leased) 6 Toyota RAV4s.

In fact, we are about to lease another new Toyota RAV4 hybrid any day now.

Here is my current 2015 RAV4 Limited (right) next to the new 2016 RAV4 Limited (left):

RAV4 2015 2016 side by side

The RAV4 is going to be the #1 best-selling crossover of all time

Toyota claims the RAV4 is going to be its best selling car – beating out the current winner (the Camry).

An even loftier goal is to beat out the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape to become the best-selling crossover here in the States.

Why do the Toyota RAV4 win over so many new-car buyers?

The RAV4 is going to sell well, because it caters well to the pillars of a top-rated car:

  • Dependability
  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Fuel economy

And the best part is the Toyota RAV4 is value priced.

As the RAV4 ages, it holds its resale value (a.k.a. residual value) well… averaging a 58% residual. This keeps the RAV4’s value from plummeting to the ground the moment it leaves the dealer’s lot.

In fact, RAV4s are better cars than some luxury brands costing tens of thousands of dollars more.

The Toyota RAV4 looks as good as a luxury car (for less money)

RAV4 2016 chrome handle

Often, I catch myself saying the Toyota RAV4 is the best looking car in a parking lot – and this includes luxury cars costing double… even triple the price.

All trim levels now feature sweet looking, wide-vent designed wheels that will last a lifetime. (Plastic wheel covers are a thing of the past.)

RAV4 2016 shifter

Even the shifter looks great.

And the Toyota RAV4 does not surprise us. (For the most part) just change out tires and brakes and we can get hundreds of thousands of miles of service-free driving.

Toyota keeps improving the look of the RAV4 – here is what is to come in the near future:

RAV4 concept car


I only drive the RAV4 Limited – I find it offers the best trim package in the lineup

Personally, I would only drive a Toyota RAV Limited Edition.

I feel it is by far the best value for the price.

Here is the difference between the RAV4 XLE and RAV4 Limited in 2016

Toyota significantly hiked the price of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited over last year’s model.

It is now an extra $5,240 more than the Toyota RAV4 XLE…

But I still think the Limited upgrade offers tremendous value as we get these exclusive extras:

The RAV4 features AMAZING defrosters

Believe it or not, one of my favorite Limited benefits is the AMAZING RAV4 defrosters.

The cars I drove in the past always struggled keeping the windows clear of fogging up…

But the RAV4 Limited’s defrosting system clears windows in as little as 10 seconds.

Even better, choosing the back defrost option also defrost the side view mirrors. This is great after foggy conditions, ice build up or slushy snowfalls.

Even the windshield wipers can be cleared of ice – just click the front-defroster button and ice and snow melts away in mere minutes. This is a life saver after a winter storm.

RAV4 push button start

Instead of carrying around a key, we get a key fob instead.

With the key fob in our pocket (or purse), we hit the brake pedal and push the button to start our car.

My favorite part is it is (almost) impossible to get locked out of the RAV4. When the cars “sniffs” the key fob inside, it beeps (and refuses to lock the doors). The exception is when the battery runs low (and I have a nifty hack to get out of that jam – see below).

In the past, push button start had many issues. But today, these issues have been (mostly) worked out.

Warning: Do not get the key fob wet – it can permanently destroy it. And replacement keys are over $200.00.

Bonus tip #1: If the key gets locked in our car or trunk, a dealer can make an inexpensive key that opens doors (but does not start the engine). Make sure to have proof that you own the car.

Bonus tip #2: If your key fob runs out of battery, we can hold it directly on the start button – wait 8 to 10 seconds and start the car.

Toyota RAV4 heated front seats

Flip the switch to “Lo” or “High” and make cold seats comfy cozy in less than 30 seconds.

SofTex trimmed seats included in the RAV4 Limited

The RAV4 Limited recently upped their luxury game…

We get Toyota’s SofTex-trimmed seating, with leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever at no extra cost.

SofTex is synthetic leather. When we compare it side-by-side with genuine leather (including perforations and luxury-car stitching), there is a lot to like. It even feels good.

SofTex actually runs cooler than real leather, because it is designed to reflect the sun’s infrared rays.

Tip: A few times a year, I apply Aerospace Protectant (this stuff is amazing) to SofTex seats. It is remarkable at keeping my SofTex seats looking new over 4 years now.

Toyota RAV4 power lift gate

Opening the trunk door by hand seems like no biggie…

But having the lift gate rise in a button click is handy when completing a shopping trip.

In case of emergency, the lift gate offers jam protection – stopping instantly when it needs to.

Even better, the lift gate’s height has been programmable to stop just before hitting the ceiling in a garage.

RAV4 height-adjustable driver’s seat (with memory function)

As we approach our car, the seats go in motion and adjust to our perfect pre-programmed seating position.

(This is a feature normally reserved for luxury cars, but it is included in the RAV4 Limited.)

Also, the seats are surprisingly comfortable. They feature power-lumbar support and sport bolsters.

Includes Toyota’s Entune infotainment system

The RAV4 Limited includes Toyota’s own Entune® App Suite. This includes Destination Search, Facebook Places, iHeartRadio,, OpenTable®, Pandora® and Yelp®.

It also includes real-time info, including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.

(Entune is an extra cost in the RAV4 XLE version.)

Auto dimming rear view mirror with home link

RAV4 frameless rearview mirror

The 2016 RAV4 Limited includes a unique, frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

This adds a touch of elegance to the otherwise clunky-looking, framed rear-view mirror.

The mirror includes 3 programmable home links embedded in the mirror. So we can open up to 3 different devices in a single touch (e.g. door opener, house lights, etc.)

Toyota RAV4 JBL sound system

Another option upgrade in the RAV4 Limited trim level is the premium JBL® Audio.

It comes included with the Tech upgrade.

(But many say the upgrade is not worth it.)

Tip: If you have the JBL audio system, turning off the ASL system seems to improve JBL’s audio – especially with a satellite signal.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 is reliable and dependable

When I ask car mechanics about maintaining and repairing the RAV4, they always say, “It just needs brakes and tires.”

This is (mostly) true.

I have driven 6 different Toyota RAV4s since 1995.

And since then, I have replaced an oxygen sensor and a timing belt.

Two of the RAV4s I drove surpassed well over 230,000 miles each. And all I did was change the oil. (I did not even pay for the recommended maintenance service).

My last RAV4 had an odd transmission “shudder”. It was a $5,000.00 repair. But this was covered under Toyota’s 60,000-mile drive-train warranty. And this “glitch” has been fixed since the 2015 model year.

Other than that, it is true. Just tires and brakes are all we need to worry about on the Toyota RAV4. I would budget an extra $90 a month in maintenance and repair costs.

In fact, I just found out Toyota is actually making brake pads last even longer. When I traded in my last RAV4, it had over 60,000 miles with its original brakes still going strong.

RAV4 2016 moonroof controls

Even the power moonroof is reliable, dependable – dare I say fun…

The moonroof is manufactured well. In fact, it is better engineered than luxury cars costing twice the price.

It is engineered to keep the wind and noise out.

And it never leaks.

Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) for the Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 safety features

My 2013 Toyota RAV4 did not perform well for an important crash safety test.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it earned a poor rating for performance in the small-overlap front crash test.

A combination of poor structure and inadequate control of the crash test dummy’s movement prevented the RAV4 from earning better than a poor rating.

In fact, this poor safety showing was a big reason we only held onto the car for a short amount of time.

It has now scored a “G” (i.e. Good) for all 5 safety categories.

In fact, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top safety picks.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4’s optional “automatic braking” offers significant protection in a frontal crash.

Here is the latest crash test on video – notice that the crash-test dummy could walk away from the all-important small overlap test:

(The only negative safety report is the hassle of using the child seat latch.)

In the event of a crash, the RAV4 surrounds us by 8 safety airbags.

After watching this crash test, I am confident my family is driving in one of the safest cars available.

Toyota’s RAV technology package shields against distracted drivers

The most dangerous part of driving the Toyota RAV4 is avoiding other distracted drivers.

But the good news is the RAV4 Technology Package helps keep us safe.

The RAV4 offers these 7 standard safety features:

Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that SUVs equipped with VSC are in 67% fewer car accidents (than those without the technology).

VSC uses sensors to detect when our RAV4 is skidding sideways.

When this happens, Toyota’s Vehicle Stability Control system applies braking force independently of any of the four wheels AND automatically controls engine output. This prevents lateral skidding.

Toyota RAV4 Traction and Stability Control (TRAC)

The RAV4 is great – even fun in the snow.

There is no need to switch to winter tires, either.

Toyota’s built-in TRAC technology prevents wheel slippage when the RAV4 accelerates quickly on wet, snowy or slippery roads.

When TRAC detects wheel spin, the system applies brakes or slows down the engine to regulate spinning and help ensure proper contact of the tires. This prevents the car from becoming unstable.

Tip: When stuck in deep snow, I turn on “Sport” mode and turn off traction control to get out of a jam.

RAV4 Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) can significantly stabilize our car in emergencies

We all were taught to pump our brakes when it is slippery out.

ABS uses technology to do all the pumping for us – faster and better than we can do it ourselves.

When the weather produces slippery roads, ABS helps bring our RAV4 to a safe stop.

The RAV’s anti-lock brake system has saved me from running off the road during bad weather many times.

RAV4 Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)

We all think stopping a car applies even braking pressure to all 4 tires.

But today’s RAV’s Electronic Brake-force Distribution system applies computer-assisted braking to each individual tire.

It factors in each tire’s pressure, different balance of load – even the weight in the gas tank. As a result, the RAV brakes evenly and safely when we slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

Toyota RAV4 Brake Assist (BA)

Also, more than 50% of all drivers fail to apply enough brake to stop a car in case of emergency.

When Brake Assist detects an attempted panic stop, it strengthens the RAV4’s braking power.

Toyota RAV4 Smart Stop Technology® (SST)

Sometimes, we accidentally hit the gas when we really want to hit the brake.

Smart Stop Technology® senses this and power down the engine to override this common mistake.

And yes… SST is smart enough to recognize when we are using this for starting up a steep hill.

LATCH, which stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren.”

LATCH claims to make it easier for us to fasten our child seat to the RAV4.

But honestly, I never used LATCH when I drove with my children. Instead, I found it easier to use the standard seatbelt system. And according to safety professionals, it is just as effective as using LATCH.

Toyota RAV4 Technology Package

The Toyota RAV4 Technology Package can now be had as a $725 option on a RAV4 Limited, SE or XLE trim package.

The RAV4 Technology Package features 3 hi-tech offerings that help make every drive less fatiguing and safer, including:

Toyota Pre-collision System for the RAV4

This valuable safety system uses the RAV4’s hidden cameras and laser radar to detect objects quickly approaching the front of the vehicle.

When there is the quickly-growing danger of a collision, the pre-collision system prompts us to brake with audio and visual alerts.

If we do not act quickly, the pre-collision system slows down the RAV4 for us. This prevents (or significantly reduces the severity of a) crash.

Toyota RAV4 Blind Spot Monitor

The RAV4 has a few blind spots (especially over the passenger-side front fender).

When another vehicle moves into our blind spot, we are visually alerted.

When we start to steer towards another vehicle in our blind spot, both a visual and audible sound alerts you.

We get the same alert when backing our RAV4 into reverse gear.

RAV4 Lane Departure Alert

RAV4 2016 dash lane departure warning settings

When we are not paying attention and drift out of our lane, Lane Departure Alert warns us.

Four small cameras plus sonar sensors constantly monitor the road’s lane markings. And if we drift out of the lane, we are warned – even nudged back.

I tested this out. At highway speed, the car nudged itself back into the proper lane 100% hands free. Any time the RAV4 drifted right or left, it corrected itself in a calm, graceful way.

This feature is impressive, but not perfect…

Strangely, Lane Keeping Assist did not pivot me back on a single-lane country road. (However, it did visually and audible alert me as it should.) I am certain that this glitch is easily fixed with a software update.

I would gladly pay thousands of extra dollars for this one safety feature alone, as I occasionally drift outside my driving lane.

Tip: Turn the Lane Keeping Assist setting to “Sensitive” – the default setting will not merge the RAV4 back from drifting off the road.

RAV4 automatic high beams (AHB)

No longer do we need to panic and remember to turn off our car’s high beams.

Now, we can illuminate the road in front of us without accidentally blinding oncoming traffic…

The RAVs Auto High Beam automatically switches our headlights from low to high beam (and back again).

The auto-headlight control works so well that there’s no reason to ever turn it off. Just push the bright’s stalk forward and the high beams go into auto mode. (Although some report sign reflections can incorrectly turn the high beams off at times.)

Birds Eye View Camera system

See a live, 360-degree perimeter view above our car – right from the RAV4’s infotainment screen.

This is handy when parallel parking, backing into a spot (or overcoming blind spots).

Tip: I carry stacks of napkins inside the armrest… because when it rains or snows, the cameras get dirty and show fuzzy images. A quick wipe solves the problem.

RAV4 Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)

Of course, standard cruise control helps to make highway driving easier.

But the reality is highway driving is not always straightforward…

Everything from stop and go traffic to distracted drivers adds the wrong kind of adventure to driving.

But Toyota’s Dynamic Radar Cruise Control for the RAV4 fixes the shortfalls of standard cruise control.

Think of it as an autopilot for our car – it adjusts the car’s speed… automatically maintaining a safe distance that is forward sensing.

If the car in front of us suddenly slows down (or stops), our RAV4 does the same – automatically.

The combination of the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control along with the RAV4’s pre-collision system automatically stops the car when it senses a crash.

Toyota’s Safety Sense System (Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steer Assist,  Auto High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control) comes standard in the Limited RAV4. It is as an option in the Convenience Package on the XLE and in the Advanced Technology Package on the SE Model.

The RAV4 now has a new mini dash readout

For the first time ever, we can make adjustments right in front of our eyes:

RAV4 2016 mini dash

Fuel economy for the Toyota RAV4

Let us be honest, shall we?

Most car companies have to be in cahoots with the oil and gasoline companies…

Because the Ford Model T from over 108 years ago got 21 miles to the gallon for fuel economy.

That is just 6 m.p.g.s less than today’s technologically-advanced cars of today.

(Give me a break.)

According to the US Department of Energy, the Toyota RAV4 averages 25 m.p.g. And it uses unleaded fuel.

Here is the readout of my average gas mileage on my 2015 Toyota RAV4 Limited:

RAV4 2015 gas mileage

But just recently, fuel economy plummeted more than 4 m.p.g.s. because of the switch to winter fuel and 10-minute morning warmups.

Tip: The RAV4 drives in Eco mode, standard mode and Sport mode. Eco and standard mode are BORING and sluggish. Sport mode should be called normal mode, so I always drive in Sport. And the best news is Sport mode gets about the same fuel economy as Eco and normal.

Is the RAV4 hybrid worth it?

If we hedge our bets and think gas prices are going to surge up again, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid might fit the bill.

Automotive journalists are raving about the hybrid:

Yes, the hybrid version boosts an 32% fuel efficiency…

But it is the added zip that is wowing the reviewers. The mere 18 extra horsepower along with the electric motors gives the RAV4 a “Tesla like” boost to its acceleration. This makes driving this fun car even more fun.

Even better, the RAV4 hybrid is just $700 more than the conventional gas-only RAV4.

With that said, I HIGHLY recommend leasing a Toyota RAV4 hybrid instead of purchasing one…

I almost ALWAYS recommend leasing a car – especially cars with battery technology as it has not proven to reliably work well over 60,000 miles. Plus CVT transmissions continue to have reliability issues (and insanely high repair costs).

Power in the Toyota RAV4

If you are looking to win a drag race, do not try it in a Toyota RAV4…

But for everything else, the RAV4 is surprisingly powerful.

It boasts a 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine that maxes out at 176 horsepower.

And a real six-speed automatic transmission delivers 172-foot pounds of torque. This means passing other vehicles are a breeze.

As I said above, the Toyota RAV4 includes standard, Eco and Sport mode.

Eco and standard modes are flat out sluggish and boring. Passing other cars is downright scary in Eco mode.

The good news is Sport mode drinks about the same amount of gas as the rest. So I always choose Sport mode when I drive.

(I wish Toyota would offer the option to drive in Sport mode by default.)

Is the Toyota RAV4 the best looking car in the parking lot?

When we leave the mall, our Toyota RAV4 Limited looks just as good as higher-priced luxury cars in the parking lot.

The design of the RAV4 has been gradually honed over the last decade…

It looks sharp. I would feel great getting it valet parked at a country club or a fancy hotel.

And yes… finally – the 2016 Toyota RAV4 finally comes with LED exterior lights (missing since its start in 1995).

The RAV4 is cleverly designed for safety, too. In fact, it is rated as one of the safest vehicles on the road.

Even the interior is luxurious looking. Seat and dash panel accents with French stitching give the Toyota RAV4 a refined feel.

In fact, it rivals the rich look of the Lexus (without the high price tag).

Warning: sadly, the RAV4’s carpeting material is a dirt magnet (especially the color black). And Toyota’s all-weather floor mats are not exactly good value for the money. Instead, I HIGHLY recommend buying WeatherTech floor mats for the Toyota RAV4.

Utility and the Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 is known as a sport “utility” crossover.

And it is the RAV4’s utility that impresses me.

We drive our Toyota RAV4 to the beach, into over-crowded cities – even in foot-high, snow-covered roads.

The Toyota RAV4 turns a tight circle diameter of 34.8 feet – making it a cinch to make U-turns.

And while the size of the inside of the RAV4 is surprisingly roomy, the outside dimensions make it easy to pull into tight parking spots.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 towing capacity is rated for 1,500 pounds. This is standard for crossovers of comparable size (with 4-cylinder engines).

When we add a tow hitch and a bike carrier, we can easily trot 4 bikes with us on our adventures.

Tip #1: The RAV4 comes with predrilled holes to install a 3rd-party towing setup. (Toyota does not offer one anymore). I would NOT recommend a UHaul tow hitch as it quickly rusts…

This is the tow hitch we had installed. So far, so good.

Tip #2: Do not use the RAV4 to tow boats. The RAV4 is too short in length – and this is not a good setup for boat towing. Towing a boat could be too much stress for its transmission cooler.

Tip #3: When winter ends, we are going to get the Thule Vertex 9029XT Hitch-Mount Bike Carrier to transport our bikes. It is highly rated and highly recommended. It is well built. And it is a cinch to load and off load our bikes. Also, make sure to order the Thule STL2 locking pin to attach this to your hitch (because one is not included).

The Toyota RAV4 and comfort

When moving from an older RAV4 into a 2016 RAV4, we notice a lot of comfort improvements.

It is quieter than it was in 2014. A larger floor silencer pad and extra noise-abatement material further reduces the RAV4’s outside noise.

My sound reader measured the RAV4 at 70 decibels.

It offers better handling. Driving fast around bends and tight corners is actually thrilling. Its low center of gravity helps it take turns without ever feeling like it is going to tip over (like other SUVs and crossovers).

And the ride is comfortable and solid. New shock absorbers and retuned springs have been added at all four corners.

The RAV4’s height makes it easy to enter – even for tall people like me. Just walk into your seat without bending down.

Even the seat belts are comfortable – they are adjustable, too.

Toyota added more spot welds and extra mounts to the rear suspension. These enhancements further reduce noise and vibration. Plus it helps to improve the RAV4’s vehicle stability.

Toyota’s popular SofTex synthetic-leather material wraps each seat. I find SofTex synthetic leather is a superior option to real leather. It keeps its shape much longer. And it looks fantastic as the RAV4 ages – all while lowering costs.

And the same SoftTex material adorns the trim panel extending across the dash (complete with fancy french stitching).

The RAV4s leather-wrapped steering wheel just feels darn nice.

Heated front seats (hi or lo settings) warm up quick… in about 30 seconds.

Strangely, only the AUTO window button (driver’s window) is illuminated. The Lane Keeping Assist button is, too. But the mirror controls are (unfortunately) not lit. Why would Toyota skimp on this?

And, the side-view mirrors and the steering wheel position is not remembered like the seats are. This is another head scratcher.

Cargo space is always excellent in the Toyota RAV4. And this year is no exception.

Usable space is great, and it is easy to fold the rear seats down to extend the storage area. The RAV4 boasts a whopping 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space – there is plenty of room in the back.

Over the last decade, the RAV4’s back seating area is beyond spacious.

There is generous leg room.

The extra room in the back makes it a cinch to travel with children in baby seats.

The latest Toyota RAV4 has a tiny floor hump in the back – so the person in the middle seat rides in comfort.

And my favorite part is the rear seat backs recline. And each seat moves back and forth. (This is great when we go on long road trips.)

The RAV4 Limited offers a hands-free, power tailgate that rises up (instead of swinging out like it did in the past). This makes loading groceries a breeze – especially when the weather is bad. It even offers programmable height adjustment to accommodate different garage-ceiling heights.

Dual climate control is amazing in the front row – especially since my wife likes things warmer than I do. The disappointing news is the RAV4 continues to lack climate control for those sitting in the rear. And it gets cold in the back when the temperature drops.

RAV4 2016 heated seat controls

The RAV4 Limited includes heated seats in the front. And they work fast. In less than a minute, they are comfy cozy.

The good news is the back seat finally gets a power outlet – so we can use this highly-rated heated blanket to keep those in the back warm and toasty.

The All Wheel Drive (AWD) option is a no brainer for those living in snowy climates. It feels solid on the road – especially while driving in bad weather. (And it is impossible to feel the all-wheel drive kick in.) Plus All Wheel Drive boosts the residual value of the RAV4.

The RAV4’s keyless, push-button start is cool. It also gives us the option to purchase remote start – a must-get extra if you live in cold climates.

Tip: Unfortunately, Toyota’s optional remote start is not reliable.

Instead, find a local place that installs a Compustar remote start. The latest system can be had for $250 or so. It has a 3-mile range and is solid as a rock.

The all-important Toyota RAV4 cup holders

RAV4 2016 cup holder

Anyone who drives more than 30 minutes knows the value of a cup holder.

And for many years, the RAV4 cup holder has been one big fail.

My last three RAV4s required cup holder inserts because the size of the hole was much too big.

Even worse, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 saw each front row cup holders moved a foot apart – not good.

The newest 2016 Toyota RAV4 cup holders got a makeover – and it is mostly a win…

Each cup holder remains (strangely) a foot apart.

But the good news is cups no longer need inserts to work proper.

And it is clear they invested a lot of time perfecting the cup holder holes…

I tested many differently-sized coffee and soda-cup sizes.

Most of the cups fit nice.

Two sizes did not work well: the 12-ounce coffee cup was too small for the opening – it was virtually impossible to pull out of the hole. And the 32-ounce soda cup was too big – blocked by the sweeping dash ledge overhang.

Toyota built in the driver’s side cup holder to accommodate a mug with a handle. It is a nice attempt, but it did not work at all for me.

The bottom line is 16-, 20- and 24-ounce cups fit the bill. Any other sizes are a fail.

The RAV4 Infotainment center stack

RAV4 2016 center stack phone settings

Toyota’s weak point continues to be its infotainment center stack.

Entune (Toyota’s multimedia navigation and telematics system) continues to attract mixed reviews.

Each year, Entune gets a little better. But it remains a bit ruff around the edges.

Pairing phones and bluetooth devices require installation of an app on your smart phone (which is tedious). Quite frankly, the handshake between the RAV4 and our devices could be a lot easier.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (both of which are far superior options) remain blocked from installation.

And if you enjoy playing CDs, this new RAV4 ditched it. There is no CD player anymore.

The good news is I can see Toyota opening up Google and Apple’s car driving software in the near feature. Hyundai caved in a few months ago.

Toyota RAV4 price in the USA

The Toyota RAV4 comes in the following trim levels:

  • LE
  • XLE
  • Limited
  • SE

And Toyota offers a hybrid option in the Limited and XLE trims.

I cannot recommend buying the lower-priced Toyota RAV4 LE. This is the RAV4’s low-price trim option.

Many RAV4 LE buyers complain about its cheapness.

Its low price is known as a “loss leader” – it is priced low to attract us into a Toyota showroom.

It is offered to upgrade us into a higher-priced car.

For example, the Toyota RAV4 LE comes with inferior, smaller-sized brakes.

This not only saves manufacturing costs, but requires us to get expensive replacement brakes more often.

And as the brakes wear down, rust accumulates. This causes the brakes to screech – even when the brake pads are good. This is a $300.00+ fix.

Plus, the braking action does not inspire a lot of confidence.

The RAV4 LE’s Inferior sound proofing causes a sloshing sound from the fuel tank when braking.

The seats are not as comfortable as the higher-priced XLE or Limited.

And the interior is mostly hard plastic. The seats are cloth material.

The Toyota RAV4 LE does not come with dual climate control (not good when we share the car with another person).

The difference between the RAV4 LE and the more expensive trim levels are night and day.

With that said, the other RAV4 models offer tremendous value for the price.

For example, the car I drive (the Toyota RAV4 Limited) has a stellar total cost of ownership

The true cost to own it over 5 years (driving an average of 15,000 miles per year) is $37,480.

Most striking is how low repairs are – $710 after 5 years.

Maintenance hits our cash flow hard after 3 years – this is why I always lease new cars every 30 months.

If you plan to drive the 2016 Toyota RAV4 “into the ground”, I would set aside at least $95 a month for repairs and maintenance.

And getting an extended warranty in today’s cars is a must…

New cars are certainly are not like they used to be. And this is a good thing…

They are safer and more convenient than ever.

But this comes at a price:

There are many more components on today’s cars.

And whether it is fair or not, we no longer can fix most things on a car.

Of course, we all want to know the price of the 2016 Toyota RAV4.

Here is the full sticker MSRP pricing:

Model # Model Drive Transmission Grade MSRP (“Sticker Price”)
4430 RAV4 2WD A/T LE $24,350
4440 RAV4 2WD A/T XLE $26,270
4470 RAV4 2WD A/T SE $29,265
4450 RAV4 2WD A/T Limited $31,510
4432 RAV4 AWD A/T LE $25,750
4442 RAV4 AWD A/T XLE $27,670
4472 RAV4 AWD A/T SE $30,665
4452 RAV4 AWD A/T Limited $32,910
4444 RAV4 AWD CVT XLE $28,370
4454 RAV4 AWD CVT Limited $33,610

Tips to get a better experience driving the Toyota RAV4

Automatic, remembering driver’s side seating

RAV4 2016 seat memory


How to fix the RAV4’s “rain drops” problem

Toyota designed the RAV4 to be quieter than ever.

But this comes at a cost in the weirdest of places – the side windows. When it rains (or snows), rolling down the windows does not clear away rain drops or snow buildup.

Yes. This is certainly inconvenient. Some say even hazardous.

The fix for me is to keep the windows clean at all times. I prefer Stoner’s Invisible Glass (ironically the manufacturing plant is minutes from my house). Also, any “glass wax” product helps rain drops and snow build up slide off the windows.

The ultimate bug remover

The RAV4 slices through the air quite nicely.

But the same front design attracts a fair amount of dead bugs.

I find when I periodically apply WD-40 with Kleenex’s Viva paper towels, the bugs rinse right off after the next car wash.

How to keep RAV4 windshield wipers lasting longer

Believe it or not, weather has little effect on windshield wiper blades…

Rather, it is cheap windshield wiper fluid that dries up and wears out wiper blades.

I never put the cheap stuff in my RAV4… instead I use Stoner’s All Season Windshield Washer Fluid. It does a great job at a fair price.

Speaking of wiper blades …

Skip over Toyota’s windshield wiper replacements

Every 6 months or so, it is recommended we replace windshield wiper blades.

This is overkill. I am able to go at least 18 months (or longer) using higher quality washer fluid (see above) and better wiper blades.

The time for replacement comes when wipers streak as it rains.

In the past, I have tested official Toyota replacement wiper blades. But they are cheaply made, fail too quickly (and are ugly to look at, too).

Instead, I go with Bosch wiper blade replacements. (This is where I get them for almost half the price.)

Bosch is the same company that manufactures wiper blades for many high end cars (like BMW).

Toyota corners the market for rear replacement wiper inserts. They force on us an odd size that many competitive windshield blade insert manufacturers do not offer. So we are forced to get the rear-blade replacement from Toyota’s parts department.

Speaking of the back windshield blade…

The secret to clean the rear window on the RAV4

Keeping the back windshield clean is a pain. The wiper seems permanently stuck in the middle of the glass.

But the good news is the arm raises with this little trick – carefully unlatch the cover… this allows us to raise the back windshield wiper.

Let air out of the tires on the Toyota RAV4

RAV4s are delivered to the dealership with 60 p.s.i.

The dealership prep team (usually the salespeople) are supposed to let the air out, but often forget.

Make sure the tires are at the proper inflation – check the driver’s side door jamb for the details.

On the flip side, make sure the spare tire is properly inflated, too. When winter arrives, the tire’s pressure might fall below the minimum safe threshold. This triggers the TRMS low-tire pressure light.

Do not give out your real phone number to the Toyota dealership

Each RAV4 comes with a free 3-month subscription of SiriusXM.

And the service offers a far superior signal compared to free radio.

But about 2 months into driving your new RAV4, a blitz of SiriusXM telemarketing calls will ensue.

No other telemarketing calls are as annoying. Your phone is going to ring off the hook until you listen to the pitch to continue with a SiriusXM subscription.

Tip: Use a FREE throwaway phone number provided by Google Voice to block these annoying calls. Any calls go right to your own free voicemail account.

Are you ready to get into a new Toyota RAV4 at the absolute lowest price?

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Markus Allen

Family man. Truth seeker. Life hacker... more about me here...


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