Toyota’s well-liked RAV4 compact SUV, now in its 21st year of production, has two new trim levels and adds a load of new safety features for 2017.
The new Platinum trim is now the top-of-the-line gas powered RAV4 model, and a sportier SE grade is new to the RAV4 Hybrid. That brings the total number of versions to eight: LE, XLE, SE, Limited, and Platinum for the RAV4, all available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive; and XLE, SE, and Limited for the RAV4 Hybrid, available only with all-wheel drive.
RAV4’s standard safety technology is taken to new heights for 2017 with the introduction of Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), a suite of safety features including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control.
The RAV4 Platinum AWD model I tested consolidates the features of all other models in the lineup, and adds a heated steering wheel, foot well ambient lighting, plush floor mats, and “Platinum”-badged doorsill protectors. On the outside, the Platinum model is the only one with body color paint on all applicable surfaces.
Some of the more notable standard features on the Platinum are an eight-way power driver’s seat, Smart Key system with push-button start, a kick-type hands-free remote power liftgate, Entune (Toyota’s infotainment system) Premium JBL audio system with integrated navigation and app suite, a bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan, curb view, and an overhead 360-degree view in Drive and Reverse gears.
The RAV4 Platinum has the same engine as all other versions for 2017, a 2.5-liter four cylinder producing 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is also standard across the board. It’s a competent package that propels the RAV4 nicely, and the AWD system gives the car great handling skills. The start/stop system that saves fuel by shutting the engine down during stops isn’t stealthy, but it certainly isn’t clumsy, either.
Fuel economy ratings for the test model are 22/28/24 mpg (city/highway/combined).
Though RAV4 isn’t intended for heavy duty off-roading, it impressively handles more challenging conditions than many people might think. This was proven to me when I drove the RAV4 with AWD on an off-road course during Mudfest earlier this year.
Comfort and roominess within the passenger cabin are commendable. Stowage space around the front seats for small items is somewhat limited.
There’s no third-row seat in this small SUV. The rear cargo area is gigantic though, and the rear door has a high lift that minimizes bending over when loading and unloading, making head-bangs less likely for people like me.
2017 TOYOTA RAV4 PLATINUM AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $37,090
Price as driven: $38,778
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.