Buying Guide

2012 Toyota RAV4

Fair Market Price $13,716 Base 2WD


22 City / 28 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 73 cu. ft.



The third-generation RAV4 is another Toyota product that pioneered its segment and has recently weathered an assault from competitors. However, the RAV4 has something of an ace up its sleeve in that it’s large enough to accommodate optional third-row seats–something few of its direct competitors offer. Seating arrangements are flexible, and there’s also an underfloor cargo area. With the rear seats folded down, the RAV4’s cargo hold will easily swallow an adult-size bicycle. This mid-size crossover’s utility doesn’t come at the price of efficiency thanks to the fuel-sipping ways of its 166-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. At the same time, the RAV4 can be had with Toyota’s excellent 3.5-liter V-6, which makes 269 hp. That’s enough to snap this crossover from 0 to 60 mph in less than seven seconds–something you won’t experience in a Chevrolet Equinox. There are areas where the RAV4’s age spots show–the all-business interior looks rather drab, for instance, and both engines could benefit from a six-speed automatic transmission (the four-cylinder employs a four-speed, the V-6 gets a five-speed). And like almost all Toyotas not named FJ Cruiser, it could use an injection of impassioned design.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

Trim levels: RAV4, Sport, Limited

Body style: SUV/crossover, 5- or 7-passenger

Engines: 2.5L I-4, 166 hp, 165 lb-ft

3.5L V-6, 269 hp, 246 lb-ft

Transmissions: 4- or 5-speed automatic

Passenger volume: 144.4-144.6 cu ft

Capacities: Towing 1500-3500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 12.3/36.4-37.2/73.0 cu ft

The RAV4 receives the Entune infotainment system, which brings internet radio and some web searching functionality into the vehicle (provided that you supply a smart phone).

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

All: 19-22 mpg city/25-28 mpg highway

  • Third-row seat is rare in thesegment
  • Powerful V-6 engine
  • Bland inside and out
  • Newer transmissions might improve fuel economy

Surprisingly spacious and speedy.

  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Santa Fe

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