Toyota knew what buyers wanted even before the industry had a term for it. And although it was one of the first crossover SUVs to hit the market, the RAV4 wouldn't be called "crossover" until many years after its 1996 debut.
Heading into 2013, Toyota has heightened the RAV4's enduring appeal with all-new interior and exterior design. Sporting a sloped hood, sleek lines and a stunning cabin, the RAV4 proves the facelift was worth the wait.
The RAV4's V6 option is no more, however, leaving only a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque -- relatively low for its class. A six-speed automatic transmission delivers power to the front wheels in the standard configuration. You can opt for all-wheel drive. A front-wheel drive RAV4 manages 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway; the heavier all-wheel drive system reduces efficiency to 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
Towing ability is low, even for a crossover. While a Ford Escape can tow 3,500 pounds, a RAV4 is limited to 1,500 pounds. Another drawback is its lack of V6 or turbocharged four-cylinder options, leaving the RAV4 well behind many competitors.
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