A Best Seller
By Ron Amadon
BOONSBORO, MD. – This charming little town has two things going for it. You can go north on Route 66 (!) and cut over to Funkstown or you can buy a book by best-selling author Nora Roberts in her very own store and then cross the street and spend the night at her B&B.
What does all this have to do with the RAV4? Both the crossover and the author are best sellers.
Robert’s books are eagerly awaited by her millions of fans worldwide, and the RAV was the nation’s third hottest selling vehicle last month, trailing only two pickup trucks. So there are a lot of people out there raving about their RAV.
Trim levels? Lots of them – LE, XLE, SE, Limited and Platinum. The “Silver Sky Metallic” version that graced the road test driveway was an XLE with AWD. It was manufactured in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, but darn, there were no hockey pucks in the cargo hold.
All models come with a 2.5-liter four with 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. Gone is the V6 option. Acceleration was on a par with the RAV’s competition and praised be, the tester came with a 6-speed automatic instead of a CVT transmission. The tranny was quick to downshift on South Mountain’s steep grades allowing a quick scoot around slow moving semis.
Inside you will hear what the four is up to as the rev counter picks up higher numbers. Yet noise suppression was good in more typical interstate cruising and around suburbia.
Look for 22 mpg around town, 28 on the highway for a combined 25 mpg said the EPA. I came in at 25.
Handling was on a par with the RAV’s rivals, and the driver’s chair proved to be very comfortable during an extended trip over lots of back roads. Why there was Fair Play, Downsville, Big Spring, Clear Spring, and Indian Spring, so it was only fair that we ended up in Big Pool. Maryland has some weird names, including one town named Accident.
Nice interior touches were a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a sunroof, plus reclining second row seats that nearly folded flat. That creates a generous 73.4 cubic feet of storage space. Two adults will be comfortable in the second row with the seats up of course.
And what do we have here on the dash? Knobs!!! They are used for ventilation, as well as audio off and on, volume control and station tuning. Honda pay attention here.
For a reasonable $525 a 23-item package brought forth worthwhile items such as navigation, voice commands, high resolution touch screen, traffic and weather information, rear view camera, and Gracenote album cover art among other gems.
Add in $90 for a cargo area Tonneau Cover, floor mats and a First Aid Kit, and the test RAV totaled $30,088 with delivery included.
New for 2018 is the “Adventure” model with fender flares, black alloy 18” wheels, black headlight and fog lamp surrounds, and some interior trim touches.
Choose a 2017 or ’18 and end up with a compact crossover that had a reputation for high quality construction, fit and finish, excellent resale price, abundant interior room, and long life.
Even Consumer Reports likes them.