If I asked you what the most popular Toyota is, you would probably say the Camry. You would have been right a couple years ago, but now it is the RAV4. The recent surge in Crossover-
SUV popularity accounts for most of its rise to the top, but then too, Toyota offers the RAV4 in six trim levels, so there’s something for everyone. The latest of these variants is the Adventure.
As the name implies, the Adventure is the “rugged outdoors” model. Yet, although the Adventure stands a little taller off the ground—a half-inch—the changes are mostly cosmetic.
Most noticeable is the broad racing stripe on the hood, but there are also enlarged fender flares, black alloy wheels and extra lower-body cladding. Inside, drab rubber mats sit in the foot wells and in the rear cargo area. A tow-prep package and roof rails completes the equipment list.
The RAV4’s cabin features soft-touch surfaces and high quality trim, although the dash is somewhat busy, and some switches are hard to reach. The infotainment system is a bit clunky. It sometimes reluctant to accept your input. However, once I got past that, I found that programs, like the navigation system, worked well.
The interior is spacious. Front passengers enjoy roomy chair-like seating with an excellent view of the road. Folks in the rear sit a littler lower, but have plenty of head- and legroom. The cargo area in the back is one of the largest in its class, with 38.3 cubic feet of storage capacity, and the rubber mat comes in handy when stowing wet camping gear.
Toyota equips the Adventure, and all RAV4s, with advanced safety features, such as forward-collision warning and braking, adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are optional, but should be standard too.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. This is a smooth operating combo. The four-banger generates 174 horsepower, which I found satisfactory in everyday driving, but the automatic was sometimes hesitant to shift in passing situations. The RAV-4 is available with front-wheel- and all-wheel drive. EPA gas-mileage rating is 25-mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Behind the wheel, the RAV-4 Adventure is a car that is easy to live with. It is not exactly exciting to drive, but the handling is predictable. The steering is reasonably precise, but I wish it conveyed more feel of the road. However, customers are likely to be more impressed by its ride quality. The RAV-4 feels sure-footed, yet is compliant over bumpy roads. Furthermore, the cabin is pleasantly quiet, even at high speeds on the freeway.
The base price for the RAV4 Adventure, with front-wheel drive, is $28,695. All-wheel drive is an additional $700.