RAV4 is a surprising crossover

I’ve been rough on the Toyota RAV4 in my reviews of it. In the past, I’ve described it as a great ride for a five-foot-tall nun who likes to fish occasionally.

I should explain that I don’t think the RAV4 is a bad vehicle. Even when I gave it the least favorable reviews, it was still a fairly decent car. It’s a crossover, rather than a true SUV, and that sets it at a disadvantage for my reviews. For a hunting and fishing rig, I prefer a true four-wheel-drive with plenty of ground clearance, but crossovers are generally all-wheel-drive, and they sit lower to the ground in order to increase their fuel efficiency.

But despite all that, and despite the fact that the RAV4 is a smaller vehicle than what I generally like, it’s actually a pretty sweet ride. It comes in a wide range of packages, including a hybrid version. There also are trim packages from the $25,000 LE all the way up to the Platinum, which starts at $36,000, so you can get a lot of options for a lot less than you’d pay for some of the other vehicles on the road.

I drove the Platinum version a few weeks ago, and as happens each time Toyota sends one to me, the RAV4 impressed me more than I thought it would. The Platinum is the top end of the RAV4 range, and the one I drove was listed just under $40,000. For that price, it seems you get all sorts of extras, like rear-seat TV screens, a heated steering wheel, and heated and cooled seats. It was comfortable, handled well, got about 28 miles to the gallon, and most importantly, it had no trouble with the forest roads I took it on in order to get to a couple of fishing holes. And that’s all you really need, right?

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