What will change? Probably not a whole lot, considering Toyota just redesigned its popular compact SUV for model-year 2013. The company could add some new convenience features, including an updated version of its Entune infotainment system. A midcycle freshening, however, could be on tap for model-year 2016.
Why wait for the 2015 Toyota RAV4: To see if Toyota offers its compact crossover in a few new colors or with noteworthy new features. The latter seems unlikely; the company probably will save them for a 2016 freshening.
Why buy a 2014 Toyota RAV4: To enjoy another year of the current styling before midcycle changes potentially date it. Buying a 2014 RAV4 in fact will net you some newly optional safety features. They are the Technology Package, which includes blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and auto high-beam headlights. Unfortunately Toyota has limited availability of these worthwhile features to RAV4’s top-line Limited trim level.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Any changes to the RAV4’s exterior styling won’t be apparent until the model-year 2016 freshening. Until then, it will keep the compact SUV profile it adopted as a part of its 2013 redesign. Its appearance is a bit deceptive because it looks small on the outside, but RAV4 is capable of carrying up to 73.4 cu. ft. of cargo with the rear seat backs folded, which is among the most in the segment.
Prior to 2013, you could purchase a RAV4 with either a four- or six-cylinder engine. Much to the chagrin of performance enthusiasts, this compact crossover lost the V-6 as part of its redesign. Don’t expect Toyota to bring it back for 2015 or beyond. All models will continue with a 176-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive would be standard with all-wheel drive remaining an option across the board. The RAV4 EV would continue with front-wheel drive and a 154-horsepower battery-powered electric motor.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 should see no change to its EPA estimated fuel economy over its 2014 counterpart’s scores of 24/31/26 city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 22/29/25 with AWD. RAV4 EV models would rate 78/74/76, according to the EPA’s MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) scale. MPGe is a measurement of distance traveled per unit of energy consumed. The EV boasts a maximum driving range of 103 miles. Depending on your charging setup, the battery can be replenished in as few as 5-6 hours or as many as 44-52.
Expect the 2015 Toyota RAV4 to return in base LE, volume XLE, and top-line Limited trim levels. A tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and rearview camera will be standard across the board. Limited models will have faux leather “SofTex” upholstery with heated front seats, a power driver seat, and a navigation system. All versions will include some form of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, including the “App Suite” on Limited versions. Users download the Entune app to their supported smartphone for access to range of services. If customers demand it, the company could offer the Limited’s Technology Package on the XLE as well. As with all new Toyota models, the RAV4 will include complimentary scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
RAV4 prices will likely range from about $24,000 for the front-wheel-drive LE to $33,000 for a loaded AWD Limited, including destination fee. Most of the sales volume will come from the XLE, which should hit $28,000-$29,000 with the most popular equipment.
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