The need for a compact crossover in this day and age is like bread needing butter, and the 2015 Toyota RAV4 LTD comes into the picture like it was made to be there. The RAV4 has been a popular model for Toyota for decades and, in its latest avatar, its grown, literally, to become larger, more spacious and practical and more modern than ever before, bringing the best of both worlds – compact cars and SUVs. Who doesn’t want that? Car-like handling and efficiency coupled with the ability to deal with the rough stuff like most SUVs do, all in a package that you can just love every day. Here’s the lowdown.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 LTD is the top-of-the-line trim level and it shows in the design elements which grace this winner of a crossover from the world’s leading automaker. Design evolution is a wonderful thing, and with Toyota’s waku doki philosophy reflected not just in the design, but also in the layout and feel of things, it’s evident that it has been a major step forward to better connecting the car and the driver. The sharp, chiseled front end gets angular headlamps and a dash of chrome to accentuate its car-like qualities, while still being tough enough to be considered a more compact SUV. The lower front grille is also contrast-highlighted in silver.
The side-profile is dominated by the big, flared wheel arches, the side body cladding and the sloping roof line which make it look very sporty. Not to mention the effect achieved by those wraparound headlamp and tail-lamp clusters. The RAV4 LTD rides on 18” wheels with all-season tires, suited for road and, to some extent, off-road.
The Toyota RAV4 is as functional and rugged on the inside as it is on the outside. The interior feels very well put together and Toyota has ensured the use of quality materials to deliver an interior that’s built to last. The dimensions utterly belie what lies inside because as compact as the RAV4 is on the outside, it’s surprisingly spacious and airy on the inside. The powered moon-roof also does its fair share to contribute to the airiness.
The SofTex seats offer good comfort and ergonomics and the driver’s seat has 8-way power adjustments with memory. The front passenger seat gets 4-way power adjustments. Both front seats have good bolstering for better support during dynamic driving. The second row is also very comfortable and offers good knee room. Flexibility is a given in modern Toyotas and the RAV4 gives you 38.4 cu ft of load space, which can be expanded to 73.4 cu ft with the second row folded down.
On the technology front, you get Entune Premium Audio with Navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and the App Suite with its bundle of goodies to make connected life easier on the move. There’s also a backup parking camera for making reverse maneuvers less of a bother.
Safety is never a concern, least of all in the top-spec trim that is the 2015 Toyota RAV4 LTD. With the RAV4 offering an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with EBD and Brake Assist with Smart Stop Technology, the shortest and surest of stopping distances and times in the most reassuring manner are possible. The standard vehicle stability control and traction control further enhance dynamic preventive safety on the move, keeping line of travel and body roll in check, even when taking corners at speed.
Protective safety is well taken care of with a full complement of front, side, knee and curtain airbags. The seats are also designed to be whiplash-resistant in case of rear impacts. On the options list is a package which includes the blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure alerts and auto high beam.
Powertrain, Drivetrain & Performance
Armed with a smooth gasoline engine, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 packs enough grunt to go about everyday business as well as whatever you may throw at it. The heart is a 2.5L in-line four cylinder naturally-aspirated engine which makes 176 hp at 6,000 rpm and a more than adequate 172 lb-ft of turning force at 4,100 rpm. All of this is funneled to the front wheels via a 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission which strives to find the balance between strong power delivery and maximum fuel efficiency.
Speaking of efficiency, the RAV4 surprises with its efficiency. Yes, a front-wheel driveline is a bonus because you get 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, with a combined 26 mpg overall. Factor in the 15.9 gallon tank and you have a range of over 400 miles before you need to fill up again. It can also move from 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 108 mph. Moreover, while some may talk of the AWD car’s ability – and there is a choice – the FWD is the one which can deal with almost anything, and the only time in the real-world you would really feel the difference is in torrential rain or if you decide to go mud-plugging in slush, which is not always the case. For all intents and purposes, this is an urban SUV.
A vehicle like the 2015 Toyota RAV4 needs a bundle of peace of mind considering its abilities. A 3-year/36,000 mile basic bumper-to-bumper warranty is standard. Furthermore, there’s a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty as well as a 5-year/unlimited mile rust-through warranty on the corrosion perforation of sheet metal.
Like the generations before it, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 makes a strong case for itself. It’s compact and usable in the city and extremely capable and practical when heading out of town. Its proportions offer more space than one would imagine and there is no shortage of features or creature comforts while you’re on the go. It’s more than an evolution and Toyota has been busy working to ensure it delivers the goods in today’s competitive market. It is one of the most practical and appreciable crossovers that money can buy. The reliability, as with every Toyota, always speaks for itself.
Specific Make/Model & Trim Package: 2015 Toyota RAV4 LTD FWD
Base Price for this model: $28,450
Body style: Five-door, crossover SUV
Engine & Torque: 2.5L in-line four cylinder, 16-valve DOHC, naturally-aspirated gasoline, 176 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 172 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic, FWD
Curb weight: 3,500 lbs
Wheels & Tires sizes/specs: 18”, 235/55 R18 all-season tires
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile basic; 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain; 8-year/100,000 mile hybrid system; 5-year/unlimited mile rust and perforation
Towing Capacity: 1,500 lbs
Fuel economy EPA: City/Hwy MPG: 23 City / 30 Hwy / 26 Combined
0-60 MPH, Quarter Mile: 8.7 seconds, 16.7 seconds
Top Speed: 108 mph