Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Compact SUVs have increased in popularity over the last few years, and the appeal for this class of vehicle was apparent during my test drive with the 2017 RAV4.

One immediate takeaway was the ample space for passengers and cargowhich made it easy for me to transport friends and cargo simultaneously. Indeed, the RAV4 would fit just as well in the workplace as it does at home. Fleets that offer a personal use program might like to consider enticing new drivers by offering the RAV4 as a personal use vehicle. It offers 38.4 cu-ft. of trunk space, and 73.4 cu-ft. with the seats down.

Fleets will also like the available safety options on the RAV4. I’m a sucker for safety, so it was nice to find out that Toyota’s Safety Sense package is standard for 2017. The safety package includes features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams. 

Blind-spot detection helps drivers detect approaching vehicles, and fleet managers will appreciate the pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. In 2016, some of the top reasons for fleet crashes came from damage that occurred while parked, as well as crashes due to parking/backing up, according to our annual safety report. Toyota's Safety Sense technology would serve well to remediate this issue for fleets.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

My outing with the 2017 RAV4 was in the Platinum AWD trim. And while I didn’t get the chance to take advantage of its capabilities on a surface other than dry concrete, it was nice to know that it could handle harsher weather conditions, which would be especially useful for fleets who don't operate out of sunny Southern California.

Toyota's RAV4 runs on a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that's paired to 6-speed transmission, which definitely gets the job done, and it gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.

The most common compliment the 2017 RAV4 received during my test drives with friends was how much space there was available for back-seat passengers. One of my friends who is over six feet tall said that he had ample leg room whilst sitting in the back. Other passengers reported even having enough ample space to swing their legs forward, without me needing to adjust the front seats at all.

The 2017 RAV4 also features the facelift it received for the 2016 model year, which first debuted at the April 2015 New York International Auto Show. The RAV4's current generation, its fourth, began with the 2013 model year vehicle.

Pricing for 2017 RAV4 models has been reduced by $500 for the LE base model, $925 for the Limited, $1,195 for the SE, and $1,330 for the XLE.

Related Photos: Toyota 2017 RAV4

About the author
Andy Lundin

Andy Lundin

Former Senior Editor

Andy Lundin was a senior editor on Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, and Green Fleet.

View Bio