Toyota RAV4 2013-2015
In typical Toyota fashion, there is nothing remarkable about the 2013
revisions to the RAV4, but small improvements most everywhere
result in a better vehicle. Fuel economy is improved with the
new six speed transmission as well as overall responsiveness when
merging and passing. Styling is more streamlined yet the
physical dimensions have not significantly changed. Its greatest
strength seems to be that it has few weaknesses. The RAV4 has ample
cargo space, competitive fuel economy and a descent overall
ride. That said, it is not a standout in style, performance,
interior design or price. It does, however, have Toyota’s strong
reputation for dependability which helps to bolster used market
|Rather dull road manners
Often overpriced (buyers)
The 2013 RAV4 is a 5-passenger compact crossover
available in three trim levels: All are powered by a 2.5L-160hp
4-cylinder engine backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
LE – standard features included power folding
mirrors, automatic headlights, cruise control, rearview camera, rear
privacy glass, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a tilt and
telescoping steering wheel, reclining 2nd row seat, 6 speaker sound
system with six inch touch screen, CD player, USB/iPod audio
interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and 17-inch
XLE – additional features included dual zone
automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, fog lights, and power
sunroof and 17 inch alloy wheels. An optional navigation system
package was available which included Toyota’s Entune smart phone
integration system and satellite radio.
Limited – this top of the line model offered
synthetic leather upholstery, 8-way power adjustable driver seat with
memory settings, keyless ignition and entry, power lift-gate,
auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, and 18 inch alloy
wheels. Optional add-ons include the navigation system with Entune
which can be bundled with a high-end JBL audio system. Also
available is a blind-spot alert with cross-traffic alert option.
EV – a limited production all-electric model
originally introduced in 2012 and continued for 2013 and 2014.
It did not receive the new design upgrade the other RAV4’s received in
2013. It carried a 154 hp electric motor mated to a single-speed
Most notable changes to the exterior are the redesigned lift gate and
removal of the externally mounted spare tire. The previously
side-hinged cargo door was replaced with a roof-hinged lift gate which
makes loading at curbside easier. The spare tire is now stored
under the cargo floor, taking some weight off the tailgate but also
eliminating some interior storage.
Gauges can be clearly read, and both the audio and climate controls
are mounted high and within easy reach. The climate controls on LE
models consist of three rotary knobs that make adjustments simple.
However, the automatic climate controls on XLE and Limited transfer
mode and fan speed to repetitive-step pushbuttons, which are not as
easy to adjust. The standard dashboard screen turns most audio
controls into “virtual” pushbuttons, but they’re relatively easy to
Hard plastic is abundant in LE models, and though
XLE and Limited add a padded dash beltline, material quality is
average at best for the class. However, two-toning and some bright
trim help aid the overall look, and higher-line models offer nicer
The front seat has good passenger room. Visibility is quite good,
aided by rear headrests that can be flipped down. Still, the rear
corners are a bit obscured by thick roof pillars, though the standard
rearview camera helps with this. The rear seat has good headroom and
legroom for adults. All models have a reclining rear seat back with
center armrest. Interior storage consists of a small glove box,
decent-size console box, a mid-dash tray, two cup holders, two small
console bins, and map pockets.
The cargo area measures 38.4 cubic feet (though a
speaker intrudes on Limited model with the JBL sound system), and
there’s a good amount of space even with the rear seat backs up. When
folded, the split seat backs rest flat and level with the cargo floor
for terrific storage room (73.3 cubic feet). The spare tire is
now stored under the cargo floor eliminating some storage space.
Available with either front or all wheel drive, all models (except the
EV) came with a 176 horsepower 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine. A six
speed automatic is standard. The EPA rating for front wheel
drive models was 24city/31highway (26 combined) and 22city/29highway
(25 combined) for all wheel drive versions.
Most models included Normal, Eco and Sports modes. The Eco mode
adjusted shift points and throttle response for more efficient
driving. The Sport mode quickened throttle response, held gears for a
longer duration and kept the transmission in a lower gear which added
a “weighty” feel to the steering.
The RAV4's acceleration is average for this market segment. The
transmission downshifts fairly quickly which helps with passing power
but if you drive assertively you may find it on the slow side.
When the vehicle is climbing up grades, the transmission tends to
shift between gears more frequently a result of Toyota’s efforts to
maximize gas mileage by tuning the drive-train. Like everything,
you take the good with the bad.
Overall ride quality is good on the LE and XLE but the top of the line
Limited version rode less fluidly, especially on rough pavement,
likely due to the larger tire size on these models. Wind and
road noise at highway speeds were acceptable and comparative to others
in this size class. Additionally, engine noise at full throttle
Overall, when rated against all other vehicles,
the RAV4 is an average to slightly above average performer. It
scored above average on fuel economy, quietness and vehicle comfort.
|2013: All-new design.
2014: Available technology package includes a
blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, lane
departure warning and automatic high-beam headlights.
2015: Minor changes, the most important being an
optional programmable-height power lift gate.
The RAV4 can't quite match the comfort of archrival Honda CR-V or the
driving dynamics of the Ford Escape, but it remains a well-rounded SUV
with a history of solid reliability and good resale value. There are
no glaring issues with any of these model years. The average annual
repair cost is under $450 which means it has excellent ownership
costs. The severity of repairs is low while frequency of those issues
is average, so major issues are uncommon for the RAV4.
Comparative to previous model years of the RAV4 the 2013-2015 model
years show a reduction in reported problems. For 2013 and 2014,
the top two problem categories were equipment and electrical
problems. For 2015, the top categories were equipment and
steering. There was a manufacturer’s recall on 2014-2015 models due to
a component of the electric power steering (EPS) electronic control
unit (ECU) which may have been damaged during the manufacturing
process. Over time, this damage may result in failure of the electric
power steering system. The issue does not appear to be
Like most Toyota vehicles, the RAV4 enjoys a
reputation (deservedly so) for delivering reliable service for many
years. That's not to say you'll be without repair and maintenance
costs, because you will. But if you maintain the vehicle
properly and make repairs when needed, your total bill will likely be
less than most vehicles over their lifetime. Because of this,
RAV4's command premium prices. This can negate any savings over it's
lifetime making a competitive vehicle just as attractive. Be careful
not to overpay, .Current
National Highway Traffic Safety Ratings (Highest rating is 5)
2013 RAV SUV 4WD
Overall Front Star Rating * * * *
Combines the driver and passenger star ratings into a single frontal
rating. The frontal barrier test simulates a head-on collision between
two similar vehicles, each moving at 35 mph.
Overall Side Star Rating * * * * *
Combines the side barrier and side pole star ratings into a single
side rating. The Side Barrier test simulates an intersection collision
between a standing vehicle and moving barrier at 38.5 mph. The
Side Pole Barrier test simulates a crash into a fixed object like a
tree or utility pole.
Rollover Star Rating * * * *
The Rollover Resistance test measures the risk of rollover in a
single-vehicle, loss-of-control scenario.
Dynamic Tip Result: No Tip
Rollover Resistance 16.90%
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