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Eric's Autos: 2023 Toyota RAV4

Eric Peters on

How do you decide which crossover to buy, given how similar most crossovers look? Well, you have to look under the skin.

If you do, you'll find some important differences.

What It Is

The RAV4 is a compact-size crossover similar to others in the same class, such as the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Mazda CX-5 (and CX-30). It differs from others in the class in several key functional respects, such as not coming standard with a very small engine that's heavily turbocharged to make up for it -- or a CVT automatic transmission.

There are some other differences, too.

Prices start at $27,575 for the base LE trim, with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as a stand-alone option. A top-of-the-line Limited with AWD, an 11-speaker premium JBL audio system and a 9-inch LCD touchscreen lists for $37,280.

 

There are also Adventure ($33,770), TRD ($37,195) and Woodland ($33,025) trims in between. The TRD trim gets a number of functional upgrades meant to enhance this RAV4's capabilities when the pavement ends, such as more ground clearance, a revised suspension with different shocks than other RAVs come with, selectable terrain drive modes, plus chip-resistance fender flares and a more grippy set of tires mounted on wheels specific to this model.

This one also has a 3,500-pound tow rating -- the highest in the class.

What's New

The Woodland hybrid variant is new. It's meant to offer buyers fuel efficiency (close to 40 mpg in city driving) and off-road capability. A new/larger (12.3-inch) main gauge cluster is available in higher trims and standard in the Limited trim.

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