2018 Toyota RAV 4 Platinum FWD SUV

1218 Toyota RAV 4 Rear Side

2018 Toyota RAV 4 Platinum FWD SUV

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia


This is the 2018 Toyota RAV 4 Platinum FWD SUV. One thing I miss on the window sticker is the information about where the vehicle is assembled. We all pretty much know what the country of origin is. Many manufactures do a lot of their production in other countries as all are looking for the lowest cost labor pools. Countries like Mexico and China have far fewer regulations and restrictions as it was in America for so long. Somewhere between those sought-after countries and the ridiculous constraints in the US is where ultimately the regulations must settle.

I’ve owned a few Toyota cars and have been happy with them overall. However, in today’s world we have far more choices from around the auto producing countries – most notably South Korea. That reality is very evident by observing the rapid growth, in numbers, of Kia and Hyundai cars on our highways. And ultimately YOU will be the judge of which are best.

General Information:

USA; Classification is Small SUV; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Double Cab, Tundra CrewMax, Tundra Double Cab, Tundra Regular Cab, Yaris and Yaris iA.

Handling & Performance:

The mountain course that I call ‘The Crest Test’ is to determine how well each car does over the climbing and twists and turns for 40 miles between the desert and La Canada, CA. Surely the Angeles Crest Highway drive is NOT for the faint hearted. RAV 4 passed the test with high marks.


You’re going to have to be the judge in this area since it is in the eye of the beholder where beauty is found. SUV’s are generally much the same in design these days, but some will spend 3-times the money to get what they consider that special look.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. And by the way, I have found no difference in quality based on where it is assembled. Some would argue the work ethic is better in third world countries. I don’t know about that. The only real difference is the higher ‘union’ driven costs in the US for that same quality of workmanship. Other countries are not fond of Unions.


Consistent in pricing with others in class. My friends who drive Mercedes Benz would say if I can buy the Benz for the same money why wouldn’t I. Upkeep is the answer. Have you ever been to a German car repair dealership? If you have you know what I mean. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are verrrrry expensive places. I speak from experience since I owned a German and Italian car repair business for many years.

Conveniences and comfort:

One of the little talked about but surely one of my favorite conveniences is the keyless entry and push button start feature that is gaining support by consumers. Nearly all test cars I drive are equipped this way.

Another high point, is in technology, where our driving experience is improved is the Smart Cruise Control feature. Some are great while others, like this Toyota version, are only ok. I prefer the versions that operate from a full stop and will resume unattended in traffic. It is there where this feature can be most helpful in reducing the stress of the journey. The stress level almost disappears when you can rely on the car to stop and start without your intervention. Toyota could do a much better job in this area. Smart cruise disengages at 25-30 mph with the sound of a faint bell.

I drive about 100 miles a day in the majority of cars I test, and the RAV 4 is a comfortable ride on the long trips. I did however have a problem with the nagging seat belt bell. To me that unrelenting noise is unnecessary. As I’ve said before I’d prefer to be able to turn it off.

Consumer Recommendations:

Be sure to include the VW Tiguan in your test drives as it may be the exception to the German expensive maintenance rule. Nice cars. We did service VW in our shop, but not so much and not so expensive to fix.

Recognised Competition:

Toyota RAV 4 $36,000, Chevrolet Equinox $36,000, Audi Q3 $36,000, Infiniti QX30 $35,000, Kia Sportage $35,000, GMC Terrain $35,000, Jeep Cherokee $35,000, Mercedes Benz GLA $36,000, Volkswagen Tiguan $33,000.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country/Origin Assembled
Toyota RAV4 36,000 25 5 4 Japan Canada
Chevrolet Equinox 36,000 32 5 4 USA Canada
Audi Q3 36,000 23 5 4 Germany Germany
Infiniti QX30 35,000 25 5 4 Japan UK
Kia Sportage 35,000 21 5 4 Korea Korea
GMC Terrain 35,000 32 5 4 USA Canada
Jeep Cherokee 35,000 25 5 4 USA USA
Mercedes Benz GLA 36,000 26 5 4 Germany Mexico
VW Tiguan 33,000 24 5 4 Germany Korea

Good News:

Consistent performer, comfortable ride and competitive.

Bad News:

The seat belt bell bugged me.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 176 hp 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed auto trans, front wheel drive, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, stability control and traction control, 4-wheel ABS brakes with brake assist and brake force distribution and smart stop technology, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, LATCH Anchor system for children, 18” alloy wheels, foot activated power liftgate, power moonroof, roof rails, privacy glass, climate control, JBL audio with integrated Navigation and 7” touch screen display, Sirius XM, ‘Bird’s Eye camera, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, power adjustable driver seat with memory settings, smart key system with push button start, 3 – 12 volt power outlets, USB port.

Gas Stats:

23 City and 29 Highway MPG

$3.05 / Gal avg. January 21, 2018

for more information.


MSRP $34,750.

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