After checking the reviews and doing the test drivers, we are pleased to welcome a 2018 Toyota RAV4 into our garage. Tons of features and a pleasure to drive.
Hilda prefers sitting “up high” in an SUV rather than “down low” in a sedan. So, there was never much doubt that we would replace our 12 year old Highlander with another SUV. But, which one?
Based on the car reviews, we short listed the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. These are the top sellers in the compact crossover segment, and about the same size as the outgoing Highlander. We also put the Subaru Forester on the list because of its very strong ratings. All three of these have quite similar dimensions, features and reliability.
What’s interesting is how the sizes of the smaller CUV’s have grown over the years. In 2005, our Highlander was a full size SUV and the RAV4 was “the next size down”. In 2018, the size of the RAV4 is pretty much that of the 12 year old Highlander. Also, the prices of the CUV’s were pretty much the same as the original Highlander had been so many years ago. So, we did not feel we were giving up by downsizing.
The old Highlander did have a six cylinder engine, but all our new short list came with four cylinder. The old Highlander had full time all wheel drive, something only provided by the Forester.
But the biggest eye-opener was the range of safety features offered by these vehicles in 2018. Each choice on our short list provided dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor and collision mitigation. Not to mention the backup camera, heated seats and steering wheel, sun roof and navigation. I think you get a lot more value in a new car today than was available 12 years ago.
Comparison Shopping before Buying the 2018 Toyota RAV4
Of course, we did lots of back to back test driving and checked out various dealers. The Subaru was a good drive, but it dropped off our list because we were really not impressed by dealer choices. In the end, the CR-V and RAV4 were neck in neck and we could have gone with either. We also tested the RAV4 Hybrid but the price increase was too big to justify at expected gas prices.
Honda has gone with a turbo and continuously variable transmission in the CR-V. Definitely more power than the RAV4, but I am still leery about the long term reliability of a turbo. In the end, we went with the normally aspirated RAV4 with its old fashioned six speed transmission.
Now, if I could only get Hilda to let me drive it once in a while!
Oh, and an added bonus. Our cost of insurance actually went down! It seems the insurance companies like the new safety features in the 2018 Toyota RAV4.