We took the 2015 Toyota RAV4 on a garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale or whatever you call it trip around Denver this week. I would rather have gone to a local car show, but you know what they say: “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
The RAV4 is a handy hauler that is ideal for these kinds of all-purpose uses. We lowered the rear seats and off we went on the treasure-finding excursion!
The RAV4 was all-new for 2014 and the small SUV is essentially unchanged for 2015, minus a few new options and features.
The biggest change comes in the revised frontal structure that improved the vehicle’s small-overlap frontal-offset crash test score, put on by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Features & Options
The top of the line 2015 RAV4 Limited ($29,850) with AWD we were testing came with a power liftgate, moonroof, roof rails, power heated outside mirrors, premium audio with navigation, backup camera, heated front seats, and push-button start.
It also came with two optional packages: Entune Premium Audio ($785) with an 11-speaker JBL Green Edge system with all Entune Premium functions. This RAV4 Limited also came with a Technology Package ($725)that included a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure alert, and auto high beam.
Total MSRP with destination: $33,808.
Heading out on our garage sale trip, we found the cabin of the RAV4 to be a nice combination of style and function. The two-tone interior isn’t luxurious, but it doesn’t feel cheap either and its nicely finished.
Top of the line Limited adds SofTex to the sportier seats and that made it easy to slide in and out.
We liked the push button start as we were in and out of the compact SUV all day and didn’t have to fish the keys out of our pocket once.
The 38.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row seats was used up in the first few stops of the day but it offered excellent cargo carrying ability. We even used the cargo area tonneau cover to hide the items we were piling in. As the garage sale trip continued, we lowered the flat folding second row seats for an abundant cargo area.
As my wife found larger treasures, the power lift gate was a real handy feature.
We used it all day.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that has 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It’s coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel mileage is an EPA estimated 22/29 city/highway with AWD and 25 combined.
The small SUV is a good city commuter and was the perfect size navigating the neighborhood streets. We could turn completely around in the street without having to back up. When we did back up, the standard rear view camera was a life saver.
We had a small child run out at one of the houses and we were able to see him on the standard dash screen.
The optional roof rack bars ($315) are also a must for those hailing mountain bikes, snow boards or the larger garage sale finds my wife kept running across.
It’s easy to tie things down with the extra bars running the length of the roof rack.
The RAV4 has enough power for city commutes and for the family using it for urban hauling. We did think it was bit under-powered at altitude in the mountains west of Denver but most people will be driving the small SUV in the city and that won’t be much of an issue.
You can switch the 6-speed automatic between the Eco, Normal, and Sport modes to adjust the driving feel. Sport offers sharper gear shifts and throttle response, with the electric power steering being backed off by 20 percent.
Despite this, the RAV4 doesn’t offer the most sporty driving dynamics. On the fun to drive meter we would rate the RAV4 fairly low.
We didn’t fully test the AWD system but you can expect the dynamic torque control to aid handling. The all-wheel drive system manages torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling.
Torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with 100:0 FWD engagement under normal driving to improve fuel economy. For more rugged driving situations we would recommend the Toyota 4Runner.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD is a handy hauler that will fit families well. It’s great for hauling the kids, the dog, and those garage sale goodies.
The compact SUV delivers function, comfort, and excellent usability. It will do exactly what a small SUV should: be a solid means of transportation that will also keep you safe.
2015 Toyota RAV4 Gallery
Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
*The rating scale of Automoblog is based 1-5 with 5 being the best.