Ξ Comments are off

2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD Review & Test Drive

posted by  
Filed under Automotive, SUV, Test Drives, Toyota

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Beauty Left HA Done Small

The Toyota RAV4, the industry’s original crossover SUV, gets a fourth-generation complete makeover for model year 2013.  The all-new RAV4 now has a more balanced split of performance and capability, including greater fuel economy, excellent cargo capacity-now with only two-rows of seats; a bolder design with a long list of standard features.  It is late in the model year but I just got my hands on the all-new 2013 RAV4 XLE AWD and its worth it with more driving fun, better looks and a new stunning interior.  There will be no changes to the 2014 model except for some new paint colors.

Get clearance pricing on the Toyota RAV4 from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand.  Get a Free Quote on the Toyota RAV4  or other vehicles now.

The new exterior styling is bolder and more modern than ever with strong proportions all around while conveying the agility and fun-to-drive character.  The front fascia shows the new ‘face’ of Toyota with a single chrome wing and centered Toyota logo.  Halogen headlights with projector low beams give the RAV4 a more modern look, and provide outstanding illumination in an energy-efficient package.  Brightness reduced RAV4 high beams also serve as Daytime Running Lights than can be turned off.  RAV4 XLE features standard foglamps that complement the RAV4’s front look.  The new dynamic exterior also features a progressive silhouette, with a sleek-sloping roofline and an aggressive character line.  The hood sculpts up to channel air to the steeply raked windshield A-pillars.  Power-remote/heated sideview mirrors and pull-out door handles are body colored but the lower aero-bodykit is black to give the overall look a more aggressive look.  A hockey-puck chrome strip wraps around the bottom of the greenhouse.  In a significant brake from its heritage, RAV4 switches from its side-hinged rear liftgate to a more convenient roof-hinged liftgate with a space-saver spare tire stored under the cargo floor.  RAV4’s rear roof spoiler not only visually extends the arc of the roofline but enhances RAV4’s aerodynamics, but incorporates a brilliant LED center brake light.  The new rear fascia also features new brake/tail/back-up lamps mounted higher in the liftgate.  As on other recently introduced Toyota’s, RAV4’s engineers paid special attention to aerodynamics, the most obvious detail being small vortex generators molded into the taillight cases and near the base of the A-pillars.  Less obvious are the aerodynamic undertrays beneath the passenger cabin that helps to smooth and control airflow.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Beauty Side Done Small

This all-new 2013 RAV4 is stronger and more rigid than ever.  Following body engineering principles debuted in the 2012 Camry and 2013 Avalon, RAV4’s body structure includes high-strength steel to help achieve several significant goals, including a robust and stiff platform that enhances steering and handling precision, and a body structure that is both stronger and lighter.  RAV4 engineers used several grades of high-strength steel to form key structural components in the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and door frames.  A strut tow bar links the top of the suspension strut towers to the main bulkhead at the rear of the engine, helping to increase torsional rigidity.  I can really feel the difference in smoothness and response when driving the new RAV4 on the highway and on the streets.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Dasboard Done Small

RAV4’s ‘human factors’ engineers and designers collaborated to create a versatile seating arrangement with excellent cargo space and a quiet interior with high levels of standard equipment.  The new RAV4’s dash panel is driver-centric and asymmetrical with primary and secondary controls all within easy reach.   On the passenger side, the scalloped dash panel creates a sense of airy spaciousness.  The dash panel features a soft-to-the-touch leatherette material with white single stitching.  All gauges feature a new Clear Blue Illumination which provides crisp visibility in most ambient light conditions, and a unified, coherent appearance at night.  The tilt/telescope is just the right size for easy use and feels great in my hands and comes with controls for the audio system, Bluetooth and trip computer on the Multi-Information Display (MID).  The driver and front passenger seats feature highbacks with sport bolstering providing ample support of the lower hips, lower torso and shoulders during cornering.  The driver’s-side features 6-way adjustment and the passenger-side features 4-way adjustment.  Each seat, as well as the 60/40 split/fold second-row seats features premium fabric with French stitching on the seats just like on the dash panel.  The second row seats recline several degrees to enhance passenger comfort and retractable head restraints for improved driver rear visibility.  In contrast to 2013 RAV4’s compact exterior dimensions, the cargo area is deeper, larger and easier to access than before, with over 38.4cu.ft. of cargo capacity behind the rear seats and class-leading 73.4cu.ft. with the rear seats folded.  Standard equipment inside not mentioned above includes a power moonroof, privacy glass, acoustic front windshield, roof rails, variable intermittent wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, dual-zone climate control with air filter, audio system with six speakers, AM-FM-CD-Sirius Radio, auxiliary jack, USB, backup camera, remote keyless entry, dual map lights, dual, lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, 3-12-volt plugs, cruise control, illuminated entry, black carbon fiber on each doors switchplate and center console with dual cupholders/storage trays including a deep storage bin with a padded armrest, power windows with driver’s-side express up/down, power door locks, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, digital clock, tonneau cargo cover and signature RAV4 floor mats front/back.  For $1,030.00 my RAV4 XLE came with the optional Display Audio system with navigation and Entune including a 6.1 inch touch screen with integrated backup camera, MP3/WMA playback, HD radio with iTunes taggings, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, and Control Vehicle Information with customization settings and phone book access, advanced voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.  The all-new interior is so much more comfortable, luxurious and ergonomic with the latest in connectivity features.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Engine Done Small

The all-new RAV4 is powered by a 2.5 liter DOHC, 16-valve in-line four cylinder engine featuring VVT-I for excellent low-end torque.  It generates 176hp at 6,000rpm and 172lb.ft. of torque at just 4,100rpm.  The optional V6 from before is discontinued.  Optional on the all-new 2013 RAV4 is the all-electric EV that is collaboration with Telsa Motors.  When fully charged it has an optimal driving range of 113 miles.

Replacing the previous-generation RAV4’s four-speed automatic is a new six-speed transmission with sequential shifting from the stick.  First and second gear ratios are optimized for around-town performance and the enhance highway mileage, fifth and six gears are overdrives.  Get up and go is also very good with 0-60 mph from a standstill comes in just 8 seconds.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Beauty Rear Done Small

Flex lock-up control can lock the transmission’s torque converter at speeds as low as about 12mph, a marked difference from the previous generation’s approximately 25mph engagement speed.  RAV4’s flex lock-up control torque converter helps increase efficiency while also smoothing powertrain performance.  A new Eco mode also promotes more efficient driving for maximum mpg.  A sophisticated high-speed interactive management system coordinates control of the RAV4’s new Dynamic Torque Control AWD, vehicle stability control and electric power steering systems to enhance the compact SUV’s performance, handling and safety.  The new Dynamic Torque Control AWD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in front of the rear differential.  Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to improve fuel consumption.  The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system uses information sent from various sensors (speed, steering angle, and speed, throttle angle and yaw rate) to automatically govern the transmission of torque to the rear wheels, as required.  The system works great and seamless, I never felt the transfer of torque when at speed.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Cluster Done Small

In Auto mode-when neither Sport mode nor Lock mode are activated-torque transfer to the rear wheels will take place not only when the slip is detected, but also when the system detects steering input and cornering forces while on-road.  As a result, the overall agility and driving performance of the new RAV4 is enhanced during both on-road and off-road driving.  When the all new Sport mode, standard on AWD models, is selected, torque transfer to the rear wheels will start from the moment the steering wheel is turned.  The new Dynamic Torque Control AWD system, with the feedback from driver steering input, will adjust automatically a 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to reduce the load on the front tires.  If later, an actual under develops, torque transfer to the rear wheels are automatically increased by up to 50%, further reducing tire loading to provide improved lateral grip.  As well as activating the ‘Dynamic’ behavior of the system’s front to rear torque transfer, the new Sport mode also modifies the RAV4’s power steering, throttle and transmission; decreasing power steering resistance, sharpening throttle response and offering higher revs, and automatic gearbox management, for a more dynamic, sporting driving experience.  For off-road driving, the system incorporates an AWD Lock button.  This allows me to lock torque distribution in a fixed, 50/50 ratio at speeds up to about 25mph.  Above that speed, the system automatically reverts to Auto mode.  Sport mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response and steering response.  When down shifting in sequential manual mode the six-speed automatic transmission in ‘S’mode, engine revs rise with a clearly audible ‘blip’ adding to the fun and exciting driving experience on the road.  The RAV4’s new Dynamic Torque Control AWD system automatically shifts from front-wheel drive (FWD) to AWD when acceleration or when sensors detect wheel slippage.  The AWD model comes with a single-seed transfer case that can smoothly deliver power to the rear wheels while enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing friction in the driveline.  The aluminum case is a light, compact design limiting weight at the front of the vehicle.  Low-viscosity lubricant helps reduce friction and contributes to enhanced energy efficiency.  Furthermore, AWD models have a rear differential with an integrated electromagnetic control coupling.  The coupling is engaged electronically when information sent to it by various sensors (vehicle speed, throttle input, and steering wheel angle) determines that additional torque should be delivered to the rear wheels.  RAV4’s AWD rear differential and electromagnetic coupling control provide smooth and efficient torque transfer to the rear wheels. Compared with the last RAV4, the rear axle carrier, retainer and gears are lighter in weight.  These new engineering facts for the AWD system gives the RAV4 AWD model excellent driving abilities in snow, mud or sand.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Front Seats Done Small

The fully independent suspension makes driving the all-new RAV4 AWD so much fun.  With front and rear anti-roll bars the RAV4 remains flat in tight corners quickening my heartbeat.  Up front is a proven MacPherson strut setup for smooth suspension movements.  A double-wishbone rear suspension is engineered and calibrated to compliment the roll and handling traits of the front setup.  Major components in the rear include upper and lower control arms, coil springs and gas-charged shocks.  Further enhancing the driving experience is the power-assisted rack & pinion steering system with vehicle-speed sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS) that has been tuned for a precision feel and quick response.  In Sport mode, steering has a firmer feel and shaper response to my steering inputs.  It is a joy driving the all-new model with dual personalities of comfort, normal and sport modes.  It responds to how I want the vehicle to react to my inputs.

The all-new RAV4 rides on new 17X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 225/65R17 inch all-season radial tires.  Safety and quickly slowing the RAV4 AWD down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.7 inch vented discs and 11.2 inch solid discs in the rear.  Each wheel is clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS, EBD, BA, enhanced vehicle stability control and Smart Stop Technology all work together to help me maintain my control when braking on wet or slick pavement.

2013 Toyota RAV 4 XLE AWD Back Seats Done Small

Standard safety equipment includes eight airbags featuring driver knee airbag and front passenger seat cushion airbag, driver/front passenger whiplash injury-lessening seats, LATCH child seat anchors, child protector rear door locks, tire pressure monitoring, daytime running lights, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD has it all too comfortably keep in front of the competition in the compact crossover sport utility segment.  It has a fun-to-drive attitude with bold new styling, a more spacious interior with all the latest in high-tech connectivity and driving systems.  Oh, I almost forgot, after driving the new RAV4 AWD for more than 400 miles I achieved an average mpg of 28.6mpg.

Get clearance pricing on the Toyota RAV4 from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand.  Get a Free Quote on the Toyota RAV4  or other vehicles now.



  • Price: $25,690.00/$27,535.00 as tested including destination charges
  • Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder  176 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 172 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
  • Total length: 179.9 inches
  • Total width: 72.6 inches
  • Total height: 65.4 inches
  • Track: f/r-61.8/61.8 inches
  • Ground clearance: 6.3 inches
  • Approach/departure angle: 29/22-degrees
  • Headroom: f/r-38.9/38.9 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.6/37.2 inches
  • EPA interior volume: 140.3 cu.ft.
  • Passenger volume: 100.7 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,585 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 15.9 gallons
  • Turning circle: 34.7 feet
  • EPA mileage: 22mpg/city, 29mpg/highway



You May Also Like


Automotive Manufacturers & Categories