Following a significant refresh in 2016, the Toyota RAV4 continues with the same appearance inside and out. It does, however, gain plenty of new standard safety features, making this already safe crossover even better for families.

Pricing and Equipment

The Toyota RAV4 starts at $25,870 for its base LE trim level with front-wheel drive – for an extra $1,400 buyers can opt for all-wheel drive to handle slippery conditions. The LE is fine, but we expect most consumers will gravitate towards the midrange XLE trim, which starts at $27,790 and comes with:

  • Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Moonroof
  • Fog lights
  • Entune infotainment system

The RAV4’s trim levels range from simple in the LE to fully loaded in the $37,110 Platinum trim, giving plenty of options to a wide range of buyers.

Performance Pros

  • The RAV4 is more refined and comfortable on the road than before.
  • The transmission keeps the engine revs low at highway speeds, helping minimize noise.
  • On models with all-wheel drive, the “4WD Lock” mode adds confidence when trekking through deeper snow.

Performance Cons

  • Under a full load of people and cargo, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine feels strained.
  • The SE trim’s sport-tuned suspension is barely noticeable.
  • The all-wheel-drive system doesn’t help any with normal drivability like it does on some sportier crossovers.

Interior Pros

  • There are plenty of storage cubbies for all your pocket-dwelling items.
  • Lots of cargo room with up to 73.4 cubes with the rear seats folded flat – even the 38.4 cubic feet with the seats up is good.
  • Comfortable front seats are great on long-distance journeys.

Interior Cons

  • The dashboard can be a little busy for some buyers.
  • The base LE trim is loaded with hard, scratchy plastic, giving it a cheaper look and feel.
  • The rear seats lack cushioning and support.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Toyota RAV4 was already an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus, and things get better in 2017. It now features standard Toyota Safety Sense, which adds forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

In the day and age where crossovers are becoming more polished to drive, the RAV4 is behind the curve. Yes, it’s improved over previous years, but it still lacks the stability and confidence of its competition.

The Bottom Line

The 2017 RAV4 will satisfy customers looking for a roomy and comfortable crossover with plenty of features to choose from, but it will disappoint those looking for a more engaging drive.