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2009 Toyota RAV4 Review

The highly-ranked 2009 Toyota RAV4 offers a spacious cabin and a comfortable ride, as well as one of the few third-row seats in the class, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a practical family vehicle.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 option
  • Ample cabin and cargo space
  • Third-row seat option
  • Good safety scores
  • So-so cabin material quality
  • Cramped third row




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Toyota RAV4 Overview

When it was new, critics liked the RAV4 because it has ample passenger space and comfortable seats, a strong V6 engine option and plenty of cargo space. It also offers a third-row seat, and while most critics didn’t find it very comfortable or roomy, extra seats for small kids could come in handy. The RAV4 also has high safety ratings.

The RAV4 is available with either a 179-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 269-horsepower V6. Toyota implemented a new four-cylinder engine for 2009, and critics said that while it’s not especially powerful, it provides adequate thrust for daily driving. Most critics, though, preferred the optional V6, which makes the RAV4 significantly faster without taking a huge toll on fuel economy. With front-wheel drive, a four-cylinder model achieves 22/28 mpg city/highway, while V6 models average 19/27 mpg, both of which are commendable for the class. Opting for all-wheel drive reduces fuel economy only slightly.

The RAV4’s cabin was generally well-liked by critics, who said it is well-designed and offers ample space for passengers and their cargo. With the rear seats folded, the RAV4 can carry up to 73 cubic feet of cargo, which is very good for the class. The RAV4’s rear tailgate opens to the right, rather than up overhead as do most rival liftgates, and some critics found this to be irksome at times. Some reviewers also found material quality to be a bit below their liking. Base models come standard with cloth seats and a six-speaker stereo. Higher trim levels deliver additional features like satellite radio, a CD changer, leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a power sunroof. A navigation system and backup camera are available on Sport and Limited trims as well.

See the full 2009 Toyota RAV4 specs »

Other Cars to Consider

One alternative 2009 compact SUV to consider is the 2009 Honda CR-V. The CR-V is highly-ranked thanks to its comfortable ride and highly-practical interior. Bear in mind that it lacks a third-row seat option and V6 engine option.

Another alternative to consider is the 2009 Chevrolet Equinox. Critics liked the Equinox’s spacious and comfortable five-passenger interior and its two available V6 engines. The RAV4 has stronger safety ratings than the Equinox.

Compare the RAV4 to the CR-V and Equinox »

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