The 2018 RAV4 range consists of six trim levels, each built on the same powertrain: a smooth 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, which makes 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. Equipped as standard in front-wheel-drive configuration, each trim level can also be upgraded to all-wheel drive mode. The range includes a base level LE, XLE, and new Adventure trim, with the SE at its mid-point, followed by the Limited and Platinum models.
The entry-level LE trim is released as standard with 17-inch wheels, fabric seats, hill start assist, a backup camera, and a 6.1-inch infotainment system. The next model up, the XLE, adds bespoke styling, as well as a tilt-and-slide moonroof. The Adventure model is a new addition to the range for this year and is characterized by black exterior styling, a raised ride height, and 18-inch wheels. The SE is RAV4’s sportier trim, equipped with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, leatherette seating which is heated in the front, and more adjustments for the driver’s seat. Nearing the top end of the range, the Limited edition features 18-inch wheels, blind-spot warning, and a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror. This trim features the Premium Entune audio app with integrated navigation.
The fully-loaded Platinum trim gets a hands-free power liftgate, platinum badging and a premium JBL sound system - tallying eleven speakers with a subwoofer. Additionally, a 360-degree camera with perimeter scan, keyless entry on all the doors and heated steering are incorporated in this fully-specced model.
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.
Additional packages are trim specific, with the base model and top-end model having no optional packages available, although navigation can be equipped to the LE at a cost of $675.
On the XLE trim, there are three optional packages. For keyless entry, blind spot monitor, roof rails, navigation, and a backup camera, the Plus Package is priced at $800. Alternatively, the Power Plus package is available and is comprised of the Power package features, as well as a height-adjustable power liftgate, and costs $1,215. A third option, the Power Premium bundle, builds on those features from the Power Plus package but adds the Entune Premium Audio system with navigation and App suite for a total cost of $1,740.
The Adventure variant offers the same hierarchy of packages, albeit at a lower cost as roof rails are already equipped on the vehicle. A unique Cold Weather package is also available, adding heated front seats, steering wheel and a wiper de-icer - priced at $1,060.
For the SE model, the Advanced Technology package is comprised of a birds-eye view camera with perimeter scan, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, the premium JBL audio system, and keyless entry with a remote power liftgate. This bundle costs $2,460. The premium JBL sound system can also be equipped separately for $1,310.
Two options are available on the Limited edition, namely the aforementioned Advanced technology package (with the same features, barring those already standard on this top-level trim), and can be installed for $1,935. Similarly, the premium JBL audio setup can be had for only $785.
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.