I've driven my Barcelona Red RAV4 V6 4x4 more than 2000 miles since I received it, so it's time for a review! Here are RAV4 specs, but note that mine is the Base model and not the Limited, so it was a lot cheaper, has fewer gizmos, but has basically identical performance.
I'm not an experienced car reviewer -- these are just my impressions as a new RAV4 owner. My previous car was a 2000 Honda Civic EX, so keep that in mind.
The V6 is extremely fun to drive! Love it. When you hit the gas, the RAV4 leaps forward. There's plenty of power for passing even at high speeds, and you can get it over 90 MPH without even trying. Be careful!
The RAV4 handles well and corners tightly. Its turning radius isn't much worse than my Civic. The ride feels solid, and there are no vibrations or rattles of any kind. Even at high speed there is little road noise.
I like the interior, and it was very comfortable as both passenger and driver for a 1000-mile road trip. The controls are all intuitive. The front seats are comfortable and roomy. The back seat was huge for my two-year-old daughter in her car seat. I also had a chance to carry two adults in the back along with the car seat and they said that there was plenty of room.
The cargo area is gigantic. I recently had to buy a new dishwasher and it was easy to fit. If I had folded the back seats down I could have carried two dishwashers without any trouble. For the road trip, it was easy to carry suitcases for two adults and a child, along with a large stroller, a pack-and-play, and various other gear. It would be easy to fit luggage for five adults in the back without ever touching the roof rack.
Barcelona Red looks awesome, in my humble opinion. It wasn't my first color choice, but now I'm very glad I got it.
After the 1000-mile road trip there aren't any noticeable dings or dents in the hood or front area. There were a zillion bugs, but they cleaned off easily.
I have noticed that the rear end of the RAV4 gets much dirtier than the rest of the vehicle, probably because the flat surface creates some sort of dust vortex. When I got home from my trip, the front of the car was covered with bugs and the back of the car was covered with dirt.
Safety and Reliability
No problems at all, which shouldn't be a surprise for a new car.
I'm getting about 19.5 MPG during my daily commuting, which is a 50/50 mix of streets and highway. I could do better if I drove like a granny.
For the road trip, which was mostly highway driving, I got about 26 MPG and drove 80 MPH most of the time.
While experimenting, I was able to achieve a best of 33 MPG at 58 MPH, but who wants to drive that slow? You can also get similar mileage at around 40 MPH if you can keep the transmission in its top gear.
Note: The trip computer's reported mileage is consistently about 1.5 MPG higher than what I calculate with the odometer and gas station receipts.
I love my RAV4! When I drive it I feel like a superhero. I love the way it handles, I love the cargo space, and I love the comfort. I highly recommend the vehicle to anyone considering a small SUV.