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2018 Toyota RAV4 Review

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 ranks in the bottom third of the compact SUV class. The RAV4 has a spacious cabin, a comfortable ride, and good safety scores. Its interior materials and engine performance are just so-so.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy seating and cargo areas
  • Many standard safety features
  • User-friendly controls
  • Smooth ride
  • Mediocre cabin materials

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Compact SUVs category. Currently the Toyota RAV4 has a score of 7.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 44 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 7.9
Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2018 Toyota RAV4 a Good Used SUV?

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is a good option if you’re shopping for a used compact SUV. The RAV4 has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating and a good safety score, making it a solid everyday commuter vehicle.

This Toyota SUV has several strengths:

  • Smooth ride over rough pavement
  • Two rows of comfortable, spacious seats
  • One of the largest cargo areas in the segment
  • Many standard collision-avoidance features
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system

That said, the RAV4 is a bit short on frills:

  • Handling is composed but not sporty
  • Engine not especially powerful or fuel-efficient
  • Low-rent cabin materials with cheap look and feel
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

If you’re looking for a truly fun-to-drive SUV, you’ll want to consider alternatives like the 2018 Mazda CX-5 and 2018 Ford Escape first. We review the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid separately.

Compare the RAV4, CX-5, and Escape »

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has over 75 years of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

We’ve analyzed 44 Toyota RAV4 reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

How Much Is the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

You can expect to pay between $18,100 and $28,500 for a used 2018 RAV4. These figures are based on 2018 Toyota RAV4 listings on our site. The average price is $21,700. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Cost to Own?

The RAV4’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $23,000, which amounts to $4,600 per year. That’s about average for a compact SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New RAV4?

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is fully redesigned, and it starts at around $25,500. This all-new model has a stronger and more fuel-efficient engine, delivering up to 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Its interior looks and feels nicer than the 2018 model, and the SUV offers a few extra features like Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. You can save thousands of dollars with a used RAV4 and still end up with a very practical SUV. For many buyers, however, the added refinement of this new model is worth the price.

Read about the new Toyota RAV4 »

There are a few other RAV4 models worth considering if you want to save even more money. Models from 2013 through 2018 are all part of the same generation, and they share the same engine, transmission, and overall dimensions – making them all similarly capable. The 2018 RAV4 has the same standard safety features as the 2017 model, such as forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. These features were optional for 2016, but they were not available in models from 2013 to 2015.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 RAV4 »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

The 2018 RAV4 has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about RAV4 reliability »

2018 Toyota RAV4 Recalls

There are no major recalls for the 2018 RAV4 at this time.

See more information on Toyota RAV4 safety recalls »

Which Used Toyota RAV4 Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is available in six trim levels: LE, XLE, Adventure, SE, Limited, and Platinum. The base model Toyota RAV4 LE is well-equipped, so it’s a great starting point if you’re considering a used RAV4. For more creature comforts like a navigation system or a power liftgate, opt for a RAV4 Limited or Platinum model. All RAV4 SUVs share the same 176-horsepower engine.

  • Toyota RAV4 LE: The base LE trim comes standard with a 6.1-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, a CD player, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, and 17-inch steel wheels. The standard Toyota Safety Sense P package includes forward collision warning with brake assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.
  • Toyota RAV4 XLE: The XLE trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, fog lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • Toyota RAV4 Adventure: Building on the LE, the Adventure trim comes with all-season floor mats and cargo liners, roof rails, and distinctive styling tweaks like plastic fender flares and side sills.
  • Toyota RAV4 SE: The SE trim has a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, and it adds LED headlights, satellite radio, SofTex synthetic leather upholstery, and heated front seats.
  • Toyota RAV4 Limited: The Limited trim adds a navigation system, a larger 7-inch touch screen, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, blind spot monitoring, and a power liftgate.
  • Toyota RAV4 Platinum: The Platinum trim adds a heated steering wheel, a JBL stereo, parking sensors, a 360-degree parking camera, and a hands-free liftgate.

See 2018 Toyota RAV4 trims and specs »

What Does Toyota's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Toyota offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 85,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Toyota provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty on all its certified pre-owned vehicles, and it extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the initial sale date or 100,000 miles. Each CPO Toyota must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like a CarFax vehicle history report, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Toyota warranty page carefully.

Toyota’s CPO program is about average for an affordable carmaker, according to our research. Mazda, Hyundai, and Honda all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Toyota certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the RAV4?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the RAV4 a 2018 Top Safety Pick. The SUV received the lowest rating of Poor in the passenger-side small overlap crash test, but it earned the top score of Good in all other tests performed. The IIHS gave the RAV4 the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, as well as the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well the headlights illuminate the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the RAV4 five out of five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • forward collision warning with brake assist
  • adaptive cruise control
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • front and rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • 360-degree parking camera system

See RAV4 safety scores »

2018 Toyota RAV4 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Toyota RAV4 or 2018 Honda CR-V?

The 2018 Honda CR-V tops the RAV4 in a few key areas. The Honda sports a higher-quality cabin, desirable infotainment features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, superior fuel economy (up to 28/34 mpg city/highway), and a pair of zippier engine options. Both of these crossovers are roomy inside, and they ride quite comfortably on rough roads. The CR-V just feels more enjoyable to drive than the RAV4.

Which Is Better: 2018 Toyota RAV4 or 2018 Subaru Forester?

The 2018 Subaru Forester is another alternative to the RAV4. Like the Toyota, the Forester has a roomy interior with generous seating and cargo space. Both compact crossovers ride smoothly over bumps and dips. However, both vehicles also have cabin materials that feel rather cheap. The Subaru comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it’s available with a punchier turbocharged engine. On the other hand, it has fewer standard safety features and a higher average price. Both are fine options.

Compare the RAV4, CR-V, and Forester »

2018 RAV4 Performance

How Does the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Drive?

The RAV4’s suspension does a nice job of soaking up bumps and dips in the road, yielding a smooth yet stable ride. Overall, it’s a very comfortable SUV for tackling the daily commute, and with 6.5 inches of ground clearance and available all-wheel drive, it can trudge along snow-covered roads without issue.

One caveat is the sport-tuned SE model, which has stiffer springs and shock absorbers. These items sharpen the RAV4’s handling slightly, but they reduce ride comfort more than anything. We’d skip this model.

The RAV4 remains cool and composed out on the road. Its four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission scoot the SUV around town confidently, and this pairing delivers adequate passing power on the highway.

  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic transmission
Does the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The RAV4 gets decent fuel economy for a compact SUV. A 2018 RAV4 Hybrid model is also available, and it has substantially improved gas mileage.

  • FWD: 23/30 mpg city/highway
  • AWD: 22/28 mpg
2018 Toyota RAV4 Towing Capacity

The RAV4 can handle light towing duties, but its tow rating varies depending on the trim level. Notably, SE models are not rated to tow a trailer.

  • LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum: up to 1,500 pounds when properly equipped
  • Adventure: Up to 2,900 pounds (FWD) or 3,500 pounds (AWD)

Read more about RAV4 performance »

2018 RAV4 Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 RAV4 Seat?

The RAV4 is a two-row SUV with five seats. The front seats are plush and nicely contoured, and the SUV’s large windows provide good visibility in all directions. The rear seats are comfortable as well. Both rows offer generous headroom and legroom for tall passengers. The interior sports a stylish design, and a number of places on the dashboard are padded with soft-touch plastics. Other areas aren’t so well adorned, however, and some surfaces are constructed of hard and cheap-feeling plastic.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • heated front seats
  • SofTex synthetic leather seats
  • power-adjustable driver's seat
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

The RAV4’s second row has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. This LATCH system is user-friendly, and all of its upper and lower anchors are easy to find.

2018 Toyota RAV4 Features

Every RAV4 comes equipped with a touch-screen infotainment system. This screen is located high on the dashboard. It reacts quickly to inputs, and working your way through its menus is easy. With physical buttons and knobs for the core audio and climate control settings, you don’t have to rely on the touch screen for every function.

There are a few drawbacks to this infotainment system, though. Its screen can be tough to see in direct sunlight, and it doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which have become popular features in many other vehicles.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.1-inch touch screen, a CD player, six speakers, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, a navigation system, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free, an 11-speaker JBL stereo, and the Entune app suite (iHeartRadio, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp)
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a power liftgate, and a moonroof

See 2018 Toyota RAV4 specs »

Read more about RAV4 interior »

2018 Toyota RAV4 Dimensions

Toyota RAV4 Cargo Space

The RAV4 has 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 73.4 cubic feet with these seats folded. For a compact SUV, that’s a lot of cargo room.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Toyota RAV4 Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 3,455 to 3,630 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Built?

Toyota built the 2018 RAV4 at factories in Canada and Japan.

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