My latest test car from the Automotive Media people was a 2013 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD SUV that was painted Shoreline Blue Pearl metallic and featured a black Softex (leather-like) five passenger interior. The RAV4 is classified as a compact SUV, and is currently in its fourth generation of production, having been sold in America since 1996.
The new 2013 RAV4 was rolled out to the public earlier this year in a splashy Super Bowl ad featuring Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang) playing the part of a wish-fulfilling genie. One Mr. Henderson, standing near his RAV4, wishes that “the spare tire was gone”, and Ms. Cuoco magically removes it from the rear of the Toyota. The man actually was wishing for a trimmer profile, but Toyota’s message, nonetheless, is that the car has attained such with its new design. I actually was somewhat fond of the outside spare tire on the old RAV4, which incidentally has now been placed underneath, not removed. Other wishes granted to the Henderson’s have nothing to do with the automobile, but the talking squirrels in the commercial are hilarious. Cost to Toyota for the Super Bowl ad – about $3.9 million.
My test car carried an M.S.R.P. of $31,964, including freight, and was the Limited all-wheel drive model. The RAV4 can be purchased with front-wheel drive, although part of its name, RAV4, denotes four-wheel drive. RAV stands for recreational activity vehicle, by the way, and it’s a big seller – 170,000 units per year on several occasions. Options on the RAV4 included a technology package for $1,660, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert for $500, and running boards for $549. The Limited had standard items such as proximity keyless operation with pushbutton start, power liftgate, moon roof, remote start, backup camera, twin heated power buckets, Bluetooth/USB connections, roof rails, and tilt/telescope/leather steering wheel. The technology items were satellite radio, 11-speaker JBL stereo, and a navigation system.
Power for the RAV4 is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine (176 hp/172 lb. ft.) coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 mph acceleration time is reportedly 8.4 seconds, and fuel economy ratings are 22 city/29 highway, 25 overall. Weight of the RAV4 is 3,425 lbs., wheelbase is 104.7”, overall length is 179.9”, width is 72.6”, height is 65.4”, and the fuel tank holds 15.9 gallons.
Ruth and I took the Toyota to Denver twice, and in typical Toyota fashion, the car almost drove itself. It rides, guides and passes other vehicles in OK fashion, and holds five adults comfortably. With the back seat folded down, the cargo capacity is 73.6 cubic feet.
The RAV4 styling for 2013 is somewhat of an improvement over last year’s model, and despite my fondness for outside spare tires, I must say I like the rear end treatment. A person can probably set a Subway combo lunch on the protruding taillights on each corner. Big running board/steps are attached between the wheels, which are 18” ten-spoke silver alloys fitted with P235/55R18 Toyo A20 all-season radials.
If Kaley Cuoco wants to grant me a wish relative to my test RAV4, it would be a red or black paint job and more bling inside the tires. Those things could be easily rectified for me or for a prospective buyer of America’s 19th best-selling vehicle.