Buying Guide

2018 Toyota RAV4 buying guide | Answers to top questions about a leading crossover

The RAV4 is now Toyota’s top-selling vehicle, having last year outsold the venerable Toyota Camry, itself the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. for many years running. It was the top-selling non-pickup in the U.S. in 2017. And its popularity shows no sign of waning, with sales up more than 15 percent last year — pretty good for a compact SUV that arguably birthed the segment.

Here you’ll find all the information you need to make an educated buying decision if you’re considering a 2018 Toyota RAV4, including safety and reliability ratings, engine specs, horsepower, fuel economy ratings and pricing. And we’ll summarize what Autoblog’s professional auto reviewers think of the RAV4.

Is the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Safe?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Toyota RAV4 an overall crash-test rating of five stars, giving it top marks for protecting the driver and passengers against injury. Breaking it down further, the RAV4 gets five stars in side-crash tests and four-star ratings in both frontal crash and rollover resistance tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which also provides ratings for new vehicles based on its own comprehensive crash tests, has given the 2018 Toyota RAV4 its “Top Safety Pick” award. It earned “good” ratings for five of six crashworthiness tests but a “poor” rating for passenger-side small overlap crashes, which replicate crashes involving the front corner of a car. (For an overview of the “hellish” small overlap test, see this behind the scenes article.) IIHS gives the 2018 RAV4 a “superior” rating for front crash prevention and an “acceptable” rating for headlights, its newest ratings measurement, and a “good” rating for its LATCH anchors for child seats.

Ratings may differ for RAV4s from other model years, so be sure to visit the NHTSA and IIHS websites to review ratings on the specific vehicle you’re researching.

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 has not been included as part of the widespread Takata airbag recall.

Is the RAV4 reliable?

J.D. Power most recently reviewed initial quality in the 2017 RAV4 – which is extremely similar to the 2018 model. It gave the RAV4 three out of five possible stars — “about average” — for overall quality, overall performance and design, and predicted reliability. Diving deeper, J.D. Power gave the RAV4 five stars for both overall mechanical quality and body and interior mechanical quality, but just two stars for features and accessories, and ease of using controls or other features.

A note about J.D. Power’s methodology: we have some rather serious issues with the way it weights serious and less serious reliability issues. Read more about that here.

Find 2018 Toyota RAV4 pricing, information, and even ones on sale near you

In December 2017, Toyota issued a small recall of certain 2017-2018 model-year RAV4s, among six other Toyota and Lexus models, for having incorrect load-carrying capacity modification labels, which could prompt drivers to overload vehicles and increase the risk of a crash. The company said it would notify owners and provide them with corrected labels free of charge. The recall affected fewer than 700 vehicles.

How much interior and cargo room does the RAV4 have?

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 seats up to five people, with 42.6 inches of front leg room and 37.2 inches in the backseats. Passengers get 38.9 inches of head room in both the front and rear.

It boasts 38.4 cubic feet of cargo volume, or nearly twice that volume — 73.4 cubic feet — with the rear seats folded down. By way of comparison, the 2018 Ford Escape has 34 and 68 cubic feet, respectively, while the 2018 Honda CR-V tops out at 39.2 cubic feet and 75.8 cubic feet.

Cargo volume decreases slightly in the RAV4 XLE Hybrid trim package, to 35.6 and 70.6 cubic feet, respectively.

What are the RAV4 engines and specs?

Both the LE and XLE models come equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 16-valve engine that generate 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. On the Hybrid models, total output nudges up to 194 hp.

What fuel economy does the RAV4 get?

Gas mileage ratings will vary depending on model and front- or all-wheel drive configurations. The EPA rates the standard 2.5L four-cylinder model at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway. Jump up to the LE or XLE packages and you’ll get 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Opting for all-wheel drive takes those figures to 22/28 mpg, respectively.

Is there a hybrid RAV4?

The RAV4 is available with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, with the LE Hybrid starting at $27,235 and the top-of-the-line Limited Hybrid starting at $34,310. Two hybrid trim packages slot in between those: the XLE Hybrid, with a $29,130 starting price, and the SE Hybrid at $32,285. Fuel economy is highest on the hybrid models, at 34 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway.

Does the RAV4 have AWD?

As mentioned previously, the 2018 RAV4 comes in either front- or all-wheel drive options. All-wheel drive versions start at $25,910 on the LE trim package. Hybrid models are only available with AWD.

What is the MSRP of the RAV4?

The 2018 RAV4 brings a starting MSRP of $24,510 for the LE trim and goes up to $36,250 for the top-of-the-line Platinum. Use Autoblog’s Smart Car Buying program powered by TrueCar to search out competitive local pricing and savings on the 2018 Toyota RAV4.

Can I read the latest review of the RAV4?
Autoblog last reviewed the RAV4 for the 2013 model year, when the current generation first debuted. Contributing editor Seyth Miersma wrote that shoppers for small crossovers face a highly competitive market crowded with options for technology, driving performance and cargo capacity.

“In short,” he wrote, “the RAV4 is middle of the pack, all the way around. It’s not the prettiest, strongest, biggest, smallest, most or least fuel efficient, cheapest or most expensive crossover you can buy. It will be seen as highly acceptable to buyers who have always liked Toyotas, or those who don’t shop around very much.”

To get a sense of how the RAV4’s closest competitors stack up, use our Compare Cars tool.


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