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Toyota RAV4: not the SUV you thought you knew

Photo courtesy of Toyota

More than a half dozen variants means there’s likely a RAV4 for you.

The fact that the all-new Toyota RAV4 even has a model called the Adventure tells you this isn’t the citified small SUV you thought you knew.

This fifth generation of the original car-based crossover, now built on the underpinnings of the midsize Camry sedan, has copped a more ready-for-anything attitude. Additional ground clearance (bringing it to more than 8 inches) helps set it apart, as does an AWD system with presets for sans-pavement situations ranging from mud to rocks—though it’s still not fit for tackling the toughest trails.

To go with its bolder styling, this RAV4 gets a new 203-hp 4-cylinder engine. If max fuel economy is your thing,gasoline-electric hybrid models, which clock in at 219 horsepower and 40 mpg in combined driving, are also available.

Speaking of driving, motoring along in the RAV4 Adventure is pleasant enough, with good ride comfort and confident handling. Some drivers will wish for a little more power than the base engine provides, which is where the noticeably quicker RAV4 hybrid models come in, albeit without the Adventure’s rugged persona.

Inside is a quiet, roomy cabin with upgraded materials and creature comforts, such as satellite radio and a power liftgate that take the rough out of roughing it. And last but far from least, Toyota’s comprehensive suite of advanced safety systems is standard.

With AAA's free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222. 

Vehicle layout: 2.5-liter inline 4 (203 hp), 8-speed automatic, AWD
MSRP, base model: $25,650; (as tested: $38,865)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 25/33/28 (AWD)
Safety ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall; IIHS: good (all crash-related ratings); Top Safety Pick Plus
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Final assembly: Ontario, Canada; Japan
Spare tire: Compact temporary

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