The Toyota RAV4, which David Thomas recently reviewed, was redesigned for the 2006 model year and is so far selling strongly. I also had an opportunity to drive this no-longer-little SUV.
The RAV4 looks stylish to my eyes, though like Dave I’m not a big fan of the spare tire on the back of the cargo door. Buyers do get a full-size spare with this setup, though, and that’s definitely a nice-to-have feature.
The 3.5-liter V-6 feels very strong and not at all burdened by the SUV’s weight, though there’s some mild torque steer under hard acceleration. The V-6 isn’t daunted by a full load of passengers, either, and its gas mileage estimates are impressive: 22/29 mpg (city/highway) for FWD versions and 21/28 for 4WD models. During a 100-mile stretch of flat highway driving at speeds between 75 and 80 mph, I averaged 26 mpg in a 4WD Sport.