RAV makeover earns an enthusiastic rave
PHOENIX — In describing what makes the redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 different from the model that preceded it, Toyota officials use the Japanese term “waku doki” — which they say means a “heart-pumping, adrenaline experience.”
I am not sure that the RAV4 qualifies for such a sentiment, unless French stitching on an instrument panel sets your heart pounding (I'm betting that it probably doesn't). But it's that level of detail that separates the 2013 RAV4 from its predecessors.
Of course, the detail you're most likely to notice is its new wardrobe. This fourth-generation crossover sport utility vehicle is the first RAV4 that's good-looking, reflecting Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda's wish for more emotionally engaging products.
The 2013 model is the first RAV4 that makes little pretense about its off-road abilities, eschewing its faux-truck styling for a sophisticated rendition of what passes for a modern-day station wagon. It's still distinctive up front — less so out back, where you'll find that the spare tire is no longer mounted on the door.
And I would encourage you to look at where it's stashed —inside, under the cargo floor.
Why? Because alongside the spare is a place for stowing the rear tonneau cargo cover when it's not in use. A small touch, perhaps, but it gives you the sense that every detail was considered.
You can see it elsewhere in the interior.
Look at the pillar between the front and rear doors. There, you'll find part of it has been scooped away to allow for extra elbow space. Next, look at the long horizontal vent at the center of the instrument panel. It blows air to the rear, over the heads of front-seat occupants. This keeps rear-seat occupants comfortable while costing Toyota less than running vents through the center console.
Why should you be concerned about Toyota saving money? Because it allows for a significantly upgraded cabin, where leather and leatherette trim soften the plastic and metallic surfaces. Interior ambience is noticeably improved, especially on upper trim levels.
Controls are placed high and are very intuitive to use.
Speaking of trim levels, there are three: base LE, mid-level XLE and line-topping Limited. The differences come down to how much standard equipment you want.
All RAV4s have a manual tilt/telescope steering column, steering wheel controls for audio and hands-free phone. In addition, you'll find a 6.1-inch touch screen, a backup camera, AM/FM/CD audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary jacks, six speakers, power windows, locks and mirrors, and keyless entry.
If you want a power moonroof, integrated fog lights, leather seats, French stitching or the optional navigation system, you'll have to step up to the XLE.
Larry Printz is automotive editor for The Virginian-Pilot.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kennametal profits drop more than half in fiscal fourth quarter
- Post-Gazette offers voluntary buyouts in bid to avoid layoffs
- Range Resources cuts workforce 11%
- U.S. Steel CEO expects rebound
- GNC sales, profits slip in second quarter
- PPG puts brand 1st in strategy to reach commercial paint market
- Bayer sets sights beyond aspirin
- Travelers find direct Web route to Priory’s spirited past in North Side
- Muni bond funds stressed
- Voice-assisted technology raises privacy concerns
- Plastics propel Bayer’s 2Q earnings