With its long run as a popular small crossover SUV, the used Toyota RAV4 has a lot to offer - including excellent fuel economy and family-friendly comforts. The RAV4 has constantly evolved over the years, keeping in step with what modern drivers need and want. Before you enter the used market, give our buying guide the once-over.
Used Toyota RAV4 Buying Guide
Fourth Generation, 2013-Current
Comfort: These models are the family-friendliest yet. During longer rides, the roomy cabin cuts down on sibling rivalries. Browse your used lot for modern luxuries - the heated front seats will even ward off frosty weather.
Technology & Convenience: Entune smartphone integration capabilities, including hands-free calling, provide a vital link to the outside world. The system's touchscreen is easy to figure out - a bonus for drivers who aren't so tech-savvy.
Safety: Parents will love high-tech driver aids. Among these is the forward collision mitigation system, which automatically applies the brakes, acting fast when danger strikes.
Performance: RAV4 models from this era offer car-like steering and handling that's perfect for navigating a congested city grid.
Third Generation, 2006-2012
Comfort: If you're looking for extra passenger space, shop for a third-generation RAV4 with third-row seating, which can seat up to seven passengers. Modern features, like dual-zone automatic climate control, make for a comfy ride.
Technology & Convenience: Look for a RAV4 with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and increase your peace of mind on family road trips. Beginning in 2012, the touchscreen interface and Entune smartphone integration became available to keep you connected.
Safety: From 2007 and on, front-seat side airbags and two-row side curtain airbags were standard equipment, keeping your family safer than ever.
Performance: These RAV4s offer two different engines. If you want to stretch fuel economy to the max, look for the four-cylinder option. For more thrills on the highway, give the V6 a whirl.
What Drivers Love about the Used Toyota RAV4
Drivers of all model years have lots of good things to say about the Toyota RAV4 and it tech gear. Bluetooth audio sounds crisp and clear over the cabin's central speakers. With the upgraded Entune system, the navigation system even shows you real-time traffic, so you can find your way around the most congested spots. Then there's the ride, which feels smooth and controlled - especially with the fourth-generation's six-speed automatic transmission.
What to Look for in Your Used Toyota RAV4
The most important change between the third and fourth generations has to do with passenger accommodations. The third-generation Toyota RAV4 offered an optional third row, making the perfect pick for a family of seven. There was no such option during the fourth generation, which has a maximum capacity of five.
What to Watch Out For
Overall, any Toyota RAV4 is a great pick for fuel-conscious buyers (the 2016 model, for example, earned up to 23 city/30 highway mpg). If you're shopping for an older, third-generation model, though, you may be happier with the V6 engine, which is paired with a modern five-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinders from this era use a four-speed automatic transmission and don't feel as peppy in highway merging situations.