The Toyota RAV4, already a leader in the crossover SUV segment it launched nearly 15 years ago, offers even greater value for 2011. The new Upgrade Value Package for the Base models adds popular options at a special value price.
The Upgrade Value Package is available on Base grade four-cylinder and V6 RAV4 models. It adds a six-CD audio system with XM Radio (subscription required); steering wheel audio controls; 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels; color-keyed door handles; Daytime Running Lights (DRL); roof rack; privacy glass; power tilt/slide moonroof; upgraded fabric interior; and, on two-row models, a rear cargo area tonneau cover.
The 2011 RAV4 is offered in three distinct grades – Base, Sport and top-of-the-line Limited – and with a choice between the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a V6. Both engines can be teamed with either front-wheel drive or electronic on-demand four-wheel-drive, giving consumers a wide array of vehicle choices. The roomy RAV4 offers an optional third-row seating on Base and Limited grade models.
Performance and Efficiency
The RAV4’s standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 179 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM, placing it at the high end of standard engines in the segment. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Integrated twin balance shafts reduce noise and vibration. Toyota engineered every aspect of the new 2.5-liter engine for low friction performance. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) switches the length of the intake tract in two stages, based on RPM and throttle angle, to ensure strong torque across the engine speed range.
The four-cylinder engine is partnered with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency is excellent for its class, with EPA MPG estimates of 22 city/28 highway on 4×2 models and 21 city/27 highway on 4×4 models. An uphill/downhill shift control significantly reduces “hunting” between third and fourth gears during winding uphill driving. Braking on the downhill automatically causes a downshift, which enhances engine braking for better control. A flex lock-up torque converter continuously controls lock-up switch slippage to enhance fuel economy.
A powerful 3.5-liter V6 is also available, generating 269 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 246 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,700 RPM. The V6 is also equipped with dual VVT-i to maximize performance and efficiency while reducing emissions. The V6 is equipped exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission, and it offers better fuel efficiency than some less powerful competitors. The V6 RAV4 can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds, yet has estimated EPA fuel economy MPG ratings of 19 city/27 highway for 4×2 models and 19 city/26 highway for 4×4 models. All RAV4 models meet Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV II) certification.
Handling and Ride
A strong, stiff body structure, four-wheel independent suspension and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) give the RAV4 agile, sporty handling and a comfortable car-like ride. The compact EPS unit contributes to fuel economy by eliminating the traditional power steering pump and provides computer-controlled assist only when required. In addition, EPS is interfaced with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) for handling control under adverse road conditions.
The RAV4 Base grade model rides on P215/70 R16 tires with 16-inch steel wheels or available P225/65 R17 tires with styled steel or five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. The Sport grade, enhances driving performance with its standard 18-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. The Limited grade rides on P215/65/R17 tires with standard six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels.
The RAV4’s available automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driver input. The system can continuously and seamlessly switch from front-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive mode, maximizing fuel efficiency. In Auto mode, torque distribution to the rear wheels is decreased during low speed cornering for better maneuverability.
A 4WD manual locking switch maximizes torque distribution to the rear wheels. When vehicle speed reaches 25 mph, the system reverts to Auto mode. Lock mode also disengages when the brakes are applied, optimizing ABS and VSC operation. RAV4 4×2 models have a traction control-based automatic limited slip differential (Auto-LSD).
All RAV4 models equipped with the available third-row seat come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). HAC provides additional control for on-road and off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface; DAC is designed to enhance low-speed descending ability by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with minimal intervention from the driver.
The RAV4’s reinforced cabin integrates front and rear crumple zones and energy-absorbing materials on the ceiling and doors. Active headrests on the driver and front passenger seats move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant’s head and the headrest. The front three-point seatbelts integrate pretensioners and belt-force limiters. Second- and third-row seats also provide three-point seatbelts and height-adjustable headrests in all seating positions.
The driver and passenger advanced front airbags are designed to inflate according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor occupant classification system is designed to determine if the seat is occupied and the passenger’s weight category and then determines whether the airbag should inflate. In addition, driver and front passenger front-seat-mounted side airbags and first and second-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags are standard.
Like all SUVs in the Toyota lineup, the RAV4 comes standard with the STAR Safety System™. On RAV4, that includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) and an Anti-Lock Brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). The enhanced version of VSC interfaces with the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system to influence steering assist. The integration of EPS allows the enhanced VSC system to better anticipate the onset of vehicle loss of control and more effectively respond to driver operation and vehicle behavior.
Comfort and Convenience
Form, fun, functionality and value are plentiful in the RAV4 with a generous array of standard convenience features across all three grades, including air-conditioning; a tilt/telescoping steering wheel; AM/FM CD stereo with MP3/WMA playback capability, XM Radio (subscription required); six speakers; an auxiliary audio jack; cruise control; outside temperature gauge; remote keyless entry; engine immobilizer; ten bottle/cup holders; power windows and door locks; power mirrors with folding feature; illuminated entry system, and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.
The available Appearance Package on selected Sport grade models gives the RAV4 a sleeker look. Its unique rear door design features chrome accents and deletes the spare tire and tire cover. (The package equips the RAV4 with run-flat tires.) Other external cues include color-keyed power heated outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators and folding feature; a stainless steel exhaust tip; unique badging and a clear rear step bumper protector. Inside, the Appearance Package adds chrome interior door handles; chrome parking brake tip; chrome-accented shift lever and vent trim and unique doorsills.
The Limited Grade brings a touch of luxury to the RAV4, adding dual zone automatic climate control with micro dust and pollen air filter; Smart Key System with Push Button Start that allows the driver to open the vehicle by simply carrying the key fob and grasping the door handle; upgraded seat fabric; AM/FM six-disc CD changer with MP3/WMA playback capability; XM Radio (subscription required); interior footwell lighting; leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls; leather-trimmed shift lever with metallic insert, and a cargo area tonneau cover.
The new Upgrade Value Package adds some of the Limited grade’s features to the Base grade, including rear privacy glass, roof racks, and a rear cargo area tonneau cover. An optional tow package for V6 models increases towing capacity to a maximum of 3,500 pounds.
Available features on the Sport grade, in addition to those offered on the Base grade, include a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, touch screen DVD navigation system, JBL audio system with hands-free Bluetooth connectivity, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar support.
Additionally, the Limited grade offers an available 120V power outlet and exclusive Blizzard White Pearl exterior paint. All RAV4 models offer a backup monitor system with rear-view camera and monitor integrated into the auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Built on a 104.7-inch wheelbase, the roomy RAV4 was engineered with a focus on quiet ride quality. For example, eliminating outer moldings from the windshield and door glass enhances aerodynamics and reduces wind noise. The RAV4’s contemporary design strongly conveys the Toyota identity in an aerodynamically efficient shape. The grille, headlamps and distinct, sharp character lines give RAV4 a rugged yet sporty look. The rear view conveys a more traditional SUV style, with LED tail lamps and an externally mounted spare tire in a color-keyed shell (except Sport Appearance Package).
The RAV4 Sport grade stands apart from the Base grade with P235/55 R18 tires on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels; color-keyed door handles and overfenders; integrated fog lights; rear privacy glass; smoked headlamp trim; sport-tuned suspension, and dark charcoal fabric seats.
The Limited grade is distinguished from the Sport grade by 17-inch aluminum six-spoke alloy wheels with P225/65 R17 tires and a unique front grille with chrome accents, roof racks, color-keyed power heated outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators and folding feature, and multi-reflector halogen headlamps with auto on/off feature.
A brushed metallic silver finish on the center cluster, door trim and steering wheel spokes gives the RAV4 interior a contemporary style. Three-tiered Optitron gauges provide an upscale look. Useful touches are also evident with the addition of a large vanity mirror with “eye-friendly” ceiling lights, illumination on two extra-large front cup holders and a cell phone holder in the center console. The Limited grade offers an additional level of refinement with an air conditioning vent dial, chrome accented air conditioning vent garnish and a chrome parking brake tip.
The RAV4 offers numerous seating configurations, under-floor storage (on models without the third-row seat) and provides a 73-cubic foot cargo area with all rear seats folded down. The 60/40-split second row seat features reclining seatbacks and an armrest with two cup holders. The seats slide fore and aft to maximize room for passengers or cargo. The second row seats fold flat using convenient tilt-down levers on the side of the seatbacks; two-row models include an additional one-touch fold-flat lever in the cargo area. The optional 50/50 Split-and-Stow® third-row seat on Base and Limited grades accommodates two passengers and folds flat under the rear deck.
Abundant interior storage includes a dual glovebox; front door compartments; a large center console box; front seatback pockets and a rear door storage pocket. On two-row models, two storage compartments are concealed under the rear cargo area floor by a water-repellant foldable deck board.