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Fun, Fast and Economical
2007 Toyota RAV4

By Keith Burton

Toyota started the small SUV segment nearly 10 years ago when they introduced the first RAV4, a compact car-based sport utility that almost went un-noticed among the big SUV buyers of the day. But unnoticed is not in the vocabulary for this vehicle anymore.

The larger, more powerful and stylish RAV4, first introduced in in 2006, has created a big stir among buyers. Toyota wisely increased the size and power over all previous versions of this vehicle, and in so doing, has hit the target dead center in what is now called the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment, the fastest growing segment in the world of vehicles.

Just in case you are not familiar with CUVs, these are vehicles that are designed from car platforms and not trucks. CUVs are lighter, generally more fuel efficient and handle better than full size or mid size SUVs. The downside is that while they are usually more comfortable and get far better fuel mileage, they don't have the power, or strength to tow heavy loads. But they are just right for what most people use SUVs for.

The RAV4 for 2007 is a striking SUV with sleek styling and lots of comfort and room inside. For 2007, the RAV4 gains an important safety system as standard equipment. Driver and front passenger front-seat-mounted side airbags, along with first and second row roll-sensing side curtain airbags, are now standard (formerly optional).

The 2007 RAV4 is offered in three distinct grades Standard, performance-oriented Sport and top-of-the-line Limited and with a choice between two engines and either two- or four-wheel-drive. All grades offer a 269-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, making RAV4 the most powerful vehicle in its segment. Equipped exclusively with a gated-shift five-speed automatic transmission, the V6 RAV4 models offer fuel efficiency comparable with much less powerful four- and six-cylinder competitors.

This V6 engine makes for a very quick vehicle with 0-60 times in under 7 seconds. This speed in the 1960's would have made many muscle cars proud. The RAV4 is also available in a four cylinder version, which has more than enough power for must buyers.

Larger and Roomier, with Sporty Design
The new-generation RAV4 is built on an all-new platform that is significantly longer and wider than the previous generation. With overall length increased by more than 14 inches, the RAV4 provides room to offer optional third row seating. The larger cabin offers increased shoulder room for all passengers, and additional head clearance and legroom for second-row passengers.

The high-strength body structure and exterior details were engineered with a tight focus on enhancing quiet ride quality. For example, the outer moldings have been eliminated from the windshield and door glass, enhancing aerodynamics and reducing wind noise. A two-ply hood insulator with a middle air layer helps to further reduce noise transmission into the cabin.

The contemporary design strongly conveys the Toyota identity in an aerodynamically efficient shape, with a wider stance than before. The trapezoidal grille, four-bulb headlamps and distinct, sharp character lines give RAV4 a rugged yet sporty look.

It's a look that's also functional: the coefficient drag has been reduced from 0.35 to 0.33, among the best in its segment and a major factor in minimizing wind noise and maximizing fuel economy. The rear view conveys a more traditional SUV look, with a taller and wider stance than before, LED tail lamps and an externally mounted spare tire in a color-keyed shell.

The Sport grade stands apart with P235/55 R18 tires on aluminum alloy wheels; color-keyed door handles and fender flares; fog lights; roof rails and cross bars; color-keyed heated and foldable power outside mirrors; rear privacy glass; smoked headlamp trim, sport-tuned suspension and unique dark charcoal fabric seats.

Externally, the Limited grade is distinguished from the Sport grade by 17-inch aluminum six-spoke alloy wheels with P225/65 R17 tires and a chrome grille. The Limited also adds a number of interior amenities and offers a wider range of comfort-enhancing options.

Most Powerful Optional Engine in Its Segment
The standard RAV4 powertrain is an upgraded 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and teamed exclusively to a gated-shift four-speed automatic transmission (no manual transmission is offered). The smooth four-cylinder engine delivers 166 horsepower with 165 lb.-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM. Fuel efficiency is excellent for the class, with EPA mpg estimates of 24 city/30 highway on 4x2 models and 23 city/27 highway on 4x4 models.

The available 3.5-liter V6 has 269 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 246 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,700 RPM. The dual VVT-i system affects intake and exhaust valve timing to optimize torque and fuel efficiency.

The V6 is paired exclusively with a gated-shift five-speed automatic transmission. Uphill/downhill shift logic reduces the frequency of gear shifting during winding uphill and downhill driving.

The V6 RAV4 can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds and yet achieves estimated EPA fuel economy mpg ratings of 22 city/29 highway for 4x2 models and 21 city/28 highway for 4x4 models. Both RAV4 engines use regular-grade (87 AKI) fuel for maximum customer value, and both are EPA certified as Ultra Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV2).

Sporty Reflexes, Comfortable Ride
With its larger dimensions and increased passenger room, the RAV4 has almost a mid-size SUV feel for interior space.  Four-wheel independent suspension gives the RAV4 agile, sporty handling and a comfortable car-like ride.

The RAV4 employs an advanced Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system rather than a traditional engine-driven hydraulic system. A DC motor and gear reduction system built into the steering gear housing provide steering assist. This compact unit contributes to fuel economy by eliminating the traditional power steering pump and by providing computer-controlled assist only when required.

EPS also allows a more precise and timely control of steering assist than conventional hydraulic systems. And significantly, the system is interfaced with an enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system to enhance safe handling under adverse road conditions (please see page 5 for more details).

The RAV4 Bade grade rides on P215/70 R16 tires with 16-inch steel wheels or available P225/65 R17 tires with steel or aluminum alloy wheels; the V6 models step up to standard 17-inch wheels with P225/65 R17 tires, and the Sport grade, in addition to its 18-inch alloy wheels, enhances driving performance with exclusive sport-tuned suspension.

Electronically Controlled 4WD
An automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive system is available, which uses an electronically controlled coupling to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driver input. The system can continuously and seamlessly switch from front-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive mode, maximizing fuel efficiency. In auto mode, torque distribution to the rear wheels is decreased during low speed cornering for better maneuverability.

An excellent feature is a 4WD manual locking switch will disengage the auto mode, maximizing torque distribution to the rear wheels. When the vehicle speed reaches 25 mph the Lock mode will disengage, reverting back to Auto mode. The Lock mode also disengages when the brakes are applied, optimizing ABS and VSC operation. RAV4 4x2 models come equipped with an automatic limited slip differential as standard.

All V6 RAV4 models, and all four-cylinder models equipped with a third-row seat, come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). HAC provides additional control for on-road and off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface; DAC is designed to enhance low-speed descending ability by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with no intervention from the driver.  The system is welcome for those steep hills when constant braking, or climbing might cause the wheels to slip. But don't think of the RAV4 as a super-tough off road vehicle. Its best use is on regular roads and when weather conditions make driving hazardous.

Spacious Interior Comfort and Utility
The RAV4 seating allows for numerous configurations, and under-floor storage (on models without the third-row seat), providing cargo space comparable to some mid-size SUVs. The 60/40 split second row seats features reclining seatbacks and an armrest with two cupholders, and the seats slides to optimize room for passengers or cargo. The second row seats fold flat with the convenience of tilt-down levers located on the side of the seatbacks and in the cargo area. Two-row models include an additional one-touch lever in the cargo area. The optional 50/50 split-and-stow third-row seat on Base and Limited grades seats two passengers and folds flat under the rear deck.

A brushed metallic silver finish on the center cluster, door trim and steering wheel spokes gives the RAV4 interior a bold, contemporary style. Three-tiered Optitron gauges provide an upscale look. Useful touches are also evident with the addition of a large vanity mirror with "eye-friendly" ceiling lights, illumination on two extra-large front cup holders and a cellphone holder in the center console.

There is abundant interior storage that includes a dual glovebox; front door compartments; a large center console box; front seatback pockets; a rear door storage pocket and a recessed rear storage compartment with a foldable double-flap lid. On two-row models, two storage compartments are concealed under the rear cargo area floor by a water-repellant foldable deck board.

Unmistakable Toyota Value
Standard features are plentiful  across all three grades, including air-conditioning; a tilt and telescopic steering wheel; AM/FM CD stereo with six speakers, a universal mini-jack port, Satellite Radio ready and MP3/WMA playback capability; outside temperature gauge; remote keyless entry; ten front and rear bottle/cup holders;
power windows and door locks; foldable power mirrors; illuminated entry system; rear privacy glass, and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.

If you order the Limited version, you get some real luxury, including dual zone automatic climate control with air filter; leather seats; eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar; AM/FM six-disc in-dash CD changer with six speakers, a universal mini-jack port, Satellite Radio ready and MP3/WMA playback capability; engine immobilizer system; interior footwell lighting; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; leather-wrapped shift knob with metallic insert; cargo area tonneau cover and a multi-purpose cargo net (two-row models).

Towing
Like most CUVs, towing is not a major benefit, but you can order a tow package for V6 models, which provides a  maximum of 3,500 pounds. This is enough for most under 18-foot boats and trailers for ATVs.

On the Road
Driving the 2007 RAV4 is a pleasure. Steering is light and very communicative. It's really like driving a sporty car. Maneuverability is excellent and you will find yourself zipping around town at higher speeds than you should. Visibility in traffic is also very good, adding a secure feeling when the traffic is dense.

We drove both the four cylinder and V6 version of the RAV4. The six is rocket. Blazingly fast is a good term too, and this is for any vehicle. In more words, it is a lot of fun. The four cylinder is a bit sluggish off the line, but then has plenty of excess power once the engine's RPMs build. In many ways, the four is just fine and you get a slight 1 to 2 mpg improvement in fuel mileage. It is also the cheaper to buy than the V6.

Overall, we think Toyota has hit a home run with the new RAV4. It is roomy, has terrific performance and high fuel mileage, and it is wrapped in a nicely style body that draws stares. If this is the direction that all CUVs take for the future, this is going to be a hot segment for years to come.

Specifications

ENGINE

Type 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, double-overhead cam, 16-valve with VVT-i

3.5-liter, six-cylinder, double-overhead cam, 24-valve with dual VVT-i

Bore and Stroke 3.48 x 3.78 inches 3.70 x 3.27 inches

Displacement 2,362 cc (4) 3,456 cc (V6) Compression Ratio 9.8:1(4) 10.8:1 (V6)

Valve Train DOHC, four-valve/cylinder DOHC, four-valve/cylinder

Horsepower (SAE Net) 166 hp @ 6,000 rpm (4) 269 hp @ 6,200 rpm (V6)

Torque 165 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm (4) 246 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm (V6)

Ignition System Electronic, Toyota Direct Ignition Electronic, Toyota Direct Ignition

Fuel System SFI SFI

Recommended Fuel 87-octane unleaded or higher 87-octane unleaded or higher

Emission Category ULEV II ULEV II

POWERTRAIN

Drive System Type 2WD/Electric on-demand 4WD 2WD/Electric on-demand 4WD

Ratios

4-speed ECT automatic (2WD/4WD)

1st 3.943/3.938

2nd 2.197/2.194

3rd 1.413/1.411

4th 1.020/1.019

Reverse 3.145/3.141

Differential 2.923/3.080

5-speed ECT automatic (2WD/4WD)

1st 4.235/4.235

2nd 2.360/2.360

3rd 1.517/1.517

4th 1.047/1.047

5th 0.756/0.756

Reverse 3.378/3.378

Differential 3.080/3.080

CAPACITIES

Engine Oil (w/out oil filter) 4.3 quarts 6.0 quarts

Fuel Tank 15.9 gallons 15.9 gallons

Cooling System

1.8 gallons

2.4 gallons

SUSPENSION

Front Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar

Rear Double wishbone coil spring with stabilizer bar Double wishbone coil spring with stabilizer bar

Stabilizer Bar (inches diameter

front/rear)

w/out third seat: 0.95/N/A

with third seat: 1.0/0.87

w/out third seat: 0.95/NA

with third seat: 1.0/0.87

BRAKES

Front Ventilated disc Ventilated disc

Front Diameter (inches) w/ and w/o third seat: 11.8/10.8 11.8

Front Swept Area (square inches) w/ and w/o third seat: 237.5/206.8 237.5

Rear Solid disc Solid disc

Rear Diameter (inches) 11.2 11.2

Rear Swept Area (square inches) 191.9 191.9

Total Swept Area (square inches) w/ and w/o third seat: 429.4/398.7 429.4

Parking Hand operated Hand operated

STEERING

Type Power assisted rack and pinion Power assisted rack and pinion

Overall Ratio Base and Limited/Sport: 14.4.1/14.6.1 14.6.1

Turns (lock to lock) Base and Limited/Sport: 2.8/2.7 2.7

Turning Circle (curb to curb) 16- and 17-inch tires: 34.8 feet

18-inch tires: 36.8 feet

17-inch tires: 34.8 feet

18-inch tires: 36.8 feet

TIRES AND WHEELS

Wheel size

6.5 x 16 inches (standard on Base)

7.0 x 17 (available on Base, standard on

Limited)

7.5 x 18 (standard on Sport)

7.0 x 17 inches (standard on Base, Limited)

7.5 x 18 (standard on Sport)

Type and Material Standard steel w/ wheel cap/ optional aluminum

alloy

Standard steel / optional aluminum alloy on Base

/ standard aluminum alloy on Limited & Sport

Tire Size

P215/70 R16 (standard on Base) / P225/65 R17

(available on Base and standard on Limited) /

P235/55 R18 (standard on Sport)

P225/65 R17 (standard on Base, Limited)

P235/55 R18 (standard on Sport)

Tire Type All-season steel-belted radial blackwalls All-season steel-belted radial blackwalls

Spare Full-size Full-size

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS (inches)

Wheelbase 104.7 104.7

Overall Length 181.1(with spare tire cover) 181.1(with spare tire cover)

Overall Width w/ and w/o overfender: 71.5/73.0 w/ and w/o overfender: 71.5/73.0

Overall Height

w/ and w/o roof rails- two-row: 68.7/ 66.3

w/ and w/o roof rails-three-row: 69.1/66.5

w/ and w/o roof rails-two-row: 68.7/66.3

w/ and w/o roof rails-three-row: 69.1/66.5

Tread Width (front/rear) 2WD: 61.4/61.4

4WD: 61.4/61.4

2WD: 61.4/61.4

4WD: 61.4/61.4

Minimum Ground Clearance 7.5 inches 7.5 inches

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS (inches)

Headroom (front/middle/rear) Front (w/out moonroof) 40.8

Front (with moonroof) 39.5

Middle (w/ and w/out moonroof) 39.7

Third seat (w/ and w/out moonroof) 37.2

Front (w/out moonroof) 40.8

Front (with moonroof) 39.5

Middle (w/ and w/out moonroof) 39.7

Third seat (w/ and w/out moonroof) 37.2

Legroom (front/middle/rear) 41.8/38.3/30.0 41.6/38.3/30.0

Shoulder Room (front/middle/rear) 57.1/55.3/52.6 57.1/55.3/52.6

Hip Room (front/middle/rear) (53.8/52.4/43.3) 53.8/52.4/43.3

EPA Cargo Volume (cubic feet)

*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight

and distribution

Behind front row w/ second and third row folded: 73.0

Behind second row w/ third row folded (three row model): 37.2 Behind second-row in tow-row model: 36.4

Behind third row (three row model): 12.3

Behind front row w/ second and third row folded: 73.0

Behind second row w/ third row folded (three row

model): 37.2

Behind second-row in tow-row model: 36.4

Behind third row (three row model): 12

EPA Interior Volume (cubic feet) 144.6 (two-row model)

144.4 (three-row model)

144.6 (two-row model)

144.4 (three-row model)

Passenger Volume (cubic feet) Two-row model Front: 57.4, Second: 50.8

Three-row model Front: 57.4, Second: 49.8,Third: 32.0

Two-row model Front: 57.4, Second: 50.8

Three-row model Front: 57.4, Second: 49.8,Third: 32.0

EPA Class Small-size SUV Small-size SUV

EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY* (city/highway/combine mpg) *Actual mileage may vary

four-cyl V6

2WD 24/30/26 22/29/25

4WD 23/27/25 21/28/24

VEHICLE MASS and TOWING (lbs.)

Curb Weight

2WD: 3,300 Base, 3,371 Limited, 3,373 Sport

4WD: 3,444 Base, 3,512 Limited, 3,514 Sport

2WD: 3,527 Base, 3,547 Limited, 3,549 Sport

4WD: 3,655 Base, 3,675 Limited, 3,677 Sport

GVWR (two-row/three-row models) 2WD: 4,430/4,730

4WD: 4,535/4,865

2WD: 4,600/4,895

4WD: 4,720/5,015

Payload (two-row/three-row models)

2WD: 1,130/1,430 Base;

1,059/1,359 Limited; 1,057 Sport

4WD: 1,091/1,421 Base;

1,023/1,353 Limited; 1,021 Sport

2WD: 1,073/1,368 Base;

1,053/1,348 Limited; 1,051 Sport

4WD: 1,065/1,360 Base;

1,045/1,340 Limited; 1,043 Sport

Maximum Towing Weight 1,500 2,000 (standard towing) 3,500 (with Tow Package)

Maximum Tongue Weight 150 200 / 350 with Tow Package

ANGLE OF APPROACH/DEPARTURE (degrees)

29.3/25.4 29.3/25.4

BASIC LIMITED WARRANTY COVERAGE

Three-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive Three-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive

Five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Five-year/60,000-mile Powertrain

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