2018 Toyota RAV4

2018 Toyota RAV4
2018 Toyota RAV4 Side View
2018 Toyota RAV4 Infotainment System

2018 Toyota RAV4 Review

Toyota's RAV4 is a compact SUV currently in its fourth generation, offering seating for five. Over the last few years since its US launch as a 2013 model, it's been exceedingly well-received. More than 407,000 units were sold in the United States in 2017, making this Toyota's top-selling vehicle as well as the most popular vehicle domestically, that isn't a pickup truck. This popularity centers on high reliability, a spacious trunk, generous cabin space, and keen pricing. Competing against SUVs such as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, the RAV4 features a refreshed line-up for this year, with a new Adventure trim and some adjustments made to the sporty SE.

Despite some enhancements, the RAV4 is getting on its years, lacking contemporary features such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. However, the RAV4 also continues to represent good value for money, as a well-specced variant can be had for under $30,000 and includes a host of safety features as standard. The question is, how long will the current incarnation of Toyota's RAV4 satisfy the market?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 7 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2018 Toyota RAV4 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2017 RAV4?

The 2018 range received a new Adventure trim that allows for a new maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs when equipped with all-wheel-drive and offers a heated steering wheel. The sporty SE trim has also been given a higher ride height, with ground clearance improved from 6.1 inches to 6.5 inches for better rough road ability.

Pros and Cons

  • Array of standard safety features
  • Smooth ride
  • Cavernous and versatile cargo area
  • Wide range of available trim levels
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility
  • Only one engine option
  • Below average cabin lacking in refinement

What's the Price of the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

With a destination fee of $1,045 applied to each of the models, the RAV4 range is priced between $24,660 and $36,400, with the option of upgrading to all-wheel-drive for an additional fee of $1,400. The entry-level LE trim in FWD configuration has a basic MSRP of $24,660 as the cheapest model, whilst the XLE costs $25,750. The new Adventure trim with its outdoorsy feel is priced at $27,950, whilst the sporty SE variant has a price tag of $29,040. The two top-end trims cross over the $30k mark as most expensive, with the Limited marketed for $31,155 and the Platinum edition costing $35,000.

Best Deals on 2018 Toyota RAV4

2018 Toyota RAV4 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid LE Plus
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2018 Toyota RAV4 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

As with most products from the Japanese manufacturer, the RAV4 is a predictable, consistent vehicle to drive - it handles well, taking corners with confidence, although some body roll is present. The standard suspension is adequate in terms of absorbing bumps in the road, and the result is a smooth and comfortable ride for all but the SE trim. The sportier suspension on the SE offers improved handling but makes for a coarser and more rigid ride. In our opinion, the benefits of the sportier trim are not worth the sacrifice in ride characteristics. Whilst the SE offers a sporty driving style, the Adventure model is more outdoor-oriented, with raised ground clearance, an adventure shift lever, and enhanced towing capabilities.

Across the range, composure under heavy braking isn't the greatest, with the pedal requiring heavy pressure and a long pedal action bringing inconsistent results. Although average stopping distances were achieved in emergency brake tests, drivers will need to get used to the way RAV4's brakes respond.

The sensation of heaviness continues with the steering presenting a heavier-than-normal sensation not common among crossover SUVs. This doesn't compromise the nimbleness of the RAV4 but is a welcome sensation giving the impression of being solidly planted. The power-steering is very effective and makes maneuvering tight spaces an easy affair. But it's just not very exciting, lacking the engagement of the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V.

For off-roading options, a pseudo-limited-slip differential on the all-wheel-drive equipped models gives the RAV an advantage on muddy gravel roads and in snowy conditions.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Toyota RAV4 A Good SUV?

Featuring in a very competitive segment, the RAV4 has remained massively popular over the last few years; thanks to its generous cabin space, cavernous cargo area and comprehensive list of standard safety features. Although some rivals offer a more refined cabin and a more enjoyable drive, the RAV isn't without its advantages: high-reliability ratings, extensive warranties, and above-average fuel consumption are all reasons why it would make a good addition to your family - with family being the keyword. Not a true off-roader, the RAV4 is best suited to family driving, mild gravel travel and city conditions. For more adventurous trips, a closer look at the Subaru Forester is recommended. If a spacious cabin and keener drive are what you are after, the Honda CR-V may be a better option.

What Toyota RAV4 Model Should I Buy?

With a six-model range, the decision on which RAV4 model to buy can seem confusing. Depending on the buyer's priority, the Adventure trim or SE trim make good options with their more luxurious seats (although leatherette is available on the SE only), 18-inch wheels, upgraded infotainment system, and improved ground clearance.

One drawback of the SE trim is an inability to tow, and for this reason, the Adventure trim may be better for families who enjoy road trips, vacations or the utility-focused nature of an SUV. Whist some buyers would prioritize heated seats and steering, an upgraded infotainment system with navigation and a blind-spot monitor may be more important, in which case either the cold weather package or power premium bundle can be added on. Even with an extra package installed, the Adventure trim remains at around $30k in total, which is much better value for money than the pricey top-end trims.

Check out other Toyota RAV4 Styles

2018 Toyota RAV4 Comparisons

Honda CR-V Honda
Subaru Forester Subaru

2018 Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V

A prime competitor in this segment, Honda's CR-V tops the RAV4 in terms of offering a turbocharged engine that provides both excellent fuel efficiency and more satisfying performance. The Honda boasts improved acceleration and power-on-demand. Although the RAV4 doesn't disappoint in terms of economy (and has a Hybrid option), the Honda simply offers a more pleasant driving experience. A better quality cabin on the CR-V also includes a few features which the RAV4 does not have, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as finishes that are superior to what the Toyota has on offer. With its vast array of standard safety features, the Toyota compares well from an overall evaluation perspective, but can't match the overall package offered by the CR-V.

See Honda CR-V Review

2018 Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester

The Subaru offers a very similar overall experience to what the RAV4 does, with an equally spacious cabin, exceptional cargo volume, and slightly better head and legroom for passengers. Where RAV4 excels in its ability to provide more onboard safety features. But the Forester offers more ground clearance and permanent all-wheel-drive making it more suited to rugged excursions and making it a true adventure SUV. the X-Mode function on the CVT transmission also makes it more suited to poor terrain while the RAV4 is decidedly more of a soft-roader. Neither cabin is particularly luxurious, but both are spacious and ideal for camping gear or mountain bikes. Considering the fugged appeal of both, the Forester presents as the better adventure SUV.

See Subaru Forester Review
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