We needed a car for winter driving, long trips, and occasional light hauling. We'd narrowed down to the RAV4, Santa Fe, Xterra, or CR-V. After we rented a RAV4 Limited V6 4WD for a long weekend test d...
We needed a car for winter driving, long trips, and occasional light hauling. We'd narrowed down to the RAV4, Santa Fe, Xterra, or CR-V. After we rented a RAV4 Limited V6 4WD for a long weekend test drive, we decided we liked the Toyota, and the extra power and traction of the V6 with 4WD. The first year for the V6 was 2006, so to keep our price down we chose that year.
We've found the steering to be firm and positive, suspension somewhat tight, a little rougher than our Camry sedan, but great for hauling and severe weather driving. The controls are fairly intuitive, but some of the SUV-related features - VSC, DAC, 4WD Lock, Hill Start Assist - left us a little confused. The power window controls on the drivers side are a little awkward to reach around the armrest handhold. Power-adjustable driver's seat makes for great long trip comfort, and seat heaters are a blessing when the temps are below freezing. The interior is fairly quiet on the highway, but not as quiet as our Camry.
But our first trip in the RAV4 proved the 4WD's worthiness and ability, as we drove 800 miles, then spent a week driving on snow-packed roads, and never had a problem, driving only with all-season passenger tires. Hiway mileage is still fairly impressive at 25 mpg or so, city is 19-21 mpg. We're expecting this SUV to last us a good long time, based on Toyota's overall reputation for reliability.