Once upon a time, Toyota’s Corolla was the benchmark for affordable family transportation for Canadian buyers and the brand's top seller in Canada. And while the Corolla remains one of Toyota’s shining stars, the RAV4 has overtaken it as its most popular vehicle on these shores. It’s not difficult to see why, though. Compact on the outside, spacious on the inside, and offering greater versatility than its stable-mate and many of its rivals, it’s difficult to ignore.
The RAV4 was recently refreshed last year with new styling, plus a much-anticipated fuel-saving hybrid version. For 2017, Toyota continues the momentum with more standard equipment, plus a new trim level.
Standard on all new RAV4s is Toyota’s Safety Sense P package. Safety Sense P includes lane-departure warning with steering assist, radar cruise control, pre-collision warning with emergency autonomous braking, radar cruise control, and automatic high beams. Toyota's decision to make this equipment standard on all RAV4s is an impressive move; these features typically carry a hefty price tag and are usually limited to the top level of trim on rival products.
Speaking of top-of-the-line, the 2017 RAV4 Limited gains a new high-end Platinum package. It includes a hands-free power liftgate, ambient interior lighting, proximity key sensors for all doors and tailgate, unique interior trim, and plush floor mats. It can be distinguished from other RAV4s by its lack of black plastic on the bumpers, wheel arches, and rocker panels.
All RAV4s come generously equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display system, reverse camera, USB, Bluetooth with streaming audio, Siri Eyes-Free, cargo cover, keyless entry, heated front seats, automatic headlights, wiper-de-icer, and roof-rails. Equipment upgrades include an eight-way power driver's seat, heated steering wheel, bird’s eye parking camera, navigation, power tailgate, a moonroof, and more.
The standard engine for the RAV4 is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine which produces 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, and comes paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes. LE and XLE trim levels come standard with front-wheel drive; AWD is an option. AWD comes standard on the SE trim level and the Limited. Consumption on the RAV4 is rated between 10-10.7 L/100 km city, and 7.8-8.4 L/100 km highway.
Hybrid RAV4s feature an identically sized 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine which is backed by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack and CVT. All RAV4 Hybrids receive all-wheel drive as standard; the rear wheels are driven exclusively by electric power, though. Hybrids produce 194 hp total, making them the powerhouse of the RAV4 range. The RAV4 Hybrid, presently the most economical hybrid SUV on the market is rated at 6.9 L/100 km city and 7.8 L/100 km highway.
For 2017, Toyota has shifted the RAV4 Hybrid’s trim range around. The new base model is the LE+; XLE is now an upgrade that includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power moonroof, power-operated tailgate, chrome interior door handles, blind-spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and scuff plates. The sporty-looking Hybrid SE trim adds 18-inch wheels, unique fascias, plus LED headlamps and daytime running lights, standard navigation, and a multi-angle reverse camera.
Pricing for the 2017 RAV4 starts at $27,395 for the base LE trim with front-wheel drive and spans $38,155 for the Limited AWD. Pricing for the Hybrid starts at $34,405 for the LE+ and tops out at $41,760.