Saturday, May 16, 2009

Best Frugal Cars : Toyota Rav4

Toyota Rav4 – My favorite “Performance” Frugal SUV

I’m breaking up my favorite frugal SUV review into two parts because I have a tie between the Toyota Rav4 and the Honda CRV both of which are great cars with excellent reviews but have different pluses and minuses.

The Toyota Rav4 is my personal favorite and the one we purchased. I call it my favorite "performance" frugal SUV because its 4cyl 179hp engine has more torque and, in my opinion, is noticeably peppier and sportier to drive than the 166hp CRV. For true performance you can also get the Rav4 with a V6 269hp engine (the CRV only comes in 4cyl). This V6 version is one of the fastest cars Toyota makes with excellent reviews for performance, speed, and gas mileage.

I think the Rav4 has a sportier more masculine look than the curvaceous CRV. As shown in the picture above, the Rav4 has a more traditional SUV exterior with some sleek curves and an exterior spare tire. I'm actually not a fan of the spare tire or side opening back door but love the rest of the Rav4's exterior. I also like the curves of the CRV but the hubby thinks it looks like an “egg” or “mommy mobile."

The Rav4 comes in 3 models – Base, Sport, and Limited. The Base model is the most frugal starting at ~$21K (you should be able to get it for ~$19K). This is a great deal if you don’t need a moonroof or other fancy options.

The Rav4 Sport model starting at ~$24K is my favorite for performance and good looks. The Sport model’s sport suspension makes this baby really fun to drive and great at cornering. It feels less like an SUV and more like a sports sedan. Really, it’s so fun to drive I seriously get disappointed every time I have to park and turn it off! It also has an exclusive Sport interior I love with a dark charcoal console and sporty black fabric. With a moonroof, 6 CD changer, and other options not found on the Base, it is a great choice for a little bit of luxury and performance.

The Rav4 Limited model, starting at $25K and going up to $31K with all the bells and whistles, pushes the frugal envelope. Personally, I prefer the interior and performance of the cheaper Sport model but if you like leather and a cushier ride (the Sport’s suspension makes it a tad bumpier) then check out the Rav4 Limited.

Photo Credits: Toyota website


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  2. Wow, thanks for the award. I'll post it soon. Love your blog and look forward to sharing frugal ideas with you!