2015 Toyota RAV4

Starting MSRP: $23,680 - $29,850

Estimated MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy

2015 Toyota RAV4 Review

The 2015 Toyota RAV4 is a popular small crossover that hits all marks equally well, making it a solid choice.

By Aaron Turpen
Last Updated 05/03/2016

The 2015 Toyota RAV4 is a well-made, nicely-rounded small crossover with the versatility and fuel economy most expect from the segment. One of the first small crossovers on the market, the RAV4 proved early on that the concept would be a popular one. The compact crossover segment is now one of the fastest-growing in the industry.

There are three trim levels for the 2015 RAV4, including the LE, XLE and Limited. The base RAV4 LE comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, power folding mirrors, a split-folding rear seat that also reclines, Bluetooth, a USB port and a rear view camera.

The XLE trim adds features that include fog lights, heated side mirrors, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate, improved sport seating in front and a cargo cover. The 2015 RAV4 XLE is available with options like a power liftgate and navigation.

The top-level RAV4 Limited includes the features from the XLE plus push-button start, proximity key, heated front seats and leatherette upholstery. Driver assistance features such as rear cross-traffic alerts and lane-departure warning are added with the optional Technology package. 

Exterior

Exterior
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The RAV4 was last redesigned for the 2013 model year, and the updates make the RAV4 a good looking crossover. Whereas most of the segment is moving toward a more rounded, sedan-like appearance, the RAV4 is still a little boxy. This has advantages, most notably in interior space, but there are some disadvantages as well. For example, the fast arc of the roof above the rear doors cuts into headroom during entry and egress.

The RAV4 is an interesting mix of rounded corners and blocky edges, with several features meant to improve aerodynamics also adding a bit of a technical appeal. Contemporary buyers may find that the RAV4 has a polarizing look, but sales figures indicate that most like the 2015 RAV4’s exterior design.

Interior

Interior
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For the segment and price point, the 2015 RAV4 has an impressive interior. Roominess is key for Toyota’s design and the lifted dashboard and European curves it contains add legroom and a more spacious feel to the cockpit. Although some ergonomic issues remain, the RAV4 is hitting nearly every major mark of excellence in this competitive segment. Materials quality is especially worth noting.

Cargo space is excellent in the 2015 Toyota RAV4. Usable space is great and it’s easy to fold the rear seats down to open up a cavernous 73.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

A low load floor, a flat-folding second row and a cargo cover that’s easy to insert and remove are all bonuses here. Upper trims enjoy a power-operated and adjustable rear liftgate as well.

Others in this segment have more plush interiors or better ergonomics, however, and some may find a few competitors more comfortable overall. For its value and all around appeal, though, we give the RAV4 high marks.

Performance

Performance
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All versions of the 2015 RAV4 utilize a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 176 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

Acceleration is average for the segment, though the four-cylinder engine can get quite noisy when pressed for speed. Zero-to-60 mph times are over 9 seconds in both front- and all-wheel drive models.

Fuel economy is about average for a four-cylinder SUV in this segment, with the RAV4 getting up to an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg city/highway. All-wheel drive models get slightly lower estimates of 22/29 mpg.

Technology

Technology
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As the 2015 RAV4 proceeds forward, one of its chief updates is in Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Entune has received mixed reviews and is often the only black mark for a Toyota vehicle. In this latest rendition, Toyota greatly improved the Entune user interface to make it easier to use. Although there are still some clunky nuances, on the whole Entune is much simpler to operate than it has been in earlier models.

Entune smartphone apps have been slowly expanding and improving as well, with available features now including things like Pandora music streaming, sports and traffic info, on-demand weather updates, and more. Some of these require you install an app on your smart phone, but the process, once completed (it can be tedious), works relatively seamlessly.

Safety

Safety
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The 2015 RAV4 achieved good marks in most crash tests with the notable exception of a low "Poor" rating for the common small-overlap frontal crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing resulted in an overall crash test rating of four out of five stars.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The Toyota RAV4 enjoys a reputation for reliability and is a solid performer in its class. Although its performance in IIHS’ small-overlap frontal crash test may turn some shoppers away, the 2015 RAV4 does have a good cost-to-benefit ratio on the whole.

Pricing is relatively high compared with some SUVs in the segment, but not too much so. Historically, the RAV4 holds its value well, especially when equipped with all-wheel drive. Value for the purchase price is also good in terms of accoutrements and fuel economy, further bolstering the cost-effectiveness of the 2015 RAV4.

Overall

Overall
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Although it doesn’t particularly stand out in any single metric, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 does have an overall well-rounded nature that makes it a good value proposition in our assessment. It remains a popular little crossover in today’s market, and deservedly so.