Prior to my test drive of the 2016 RAV4 AWD Limited I committed to some heavy lifting, helping a friend move boxes under a short deadline. As a result my upper body was sore and I was wound pretty tight. A Sunday afternoon road trip into the Colorado foothills ended up being just the right prescription: a smooth and relaxing experience in a sophisticated SUV with a sporty attitude.
The Black Currant Metallic-colored ride features a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder engine and 176 horsepower as well as a strategic touch of exterior style changes compared to the 2015 model. The bolder stance is accented with an LED combo of headlights, daytime running lights and Hi-Lo headlights as well as restyled front and rear bumpers. Add to that the finishing touch of shark fin antenna and the 18-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R18 all-season tires, and this RAV4 will make you look twice.
My favorite interior changes included the LED illumination on the lower center console with the revised cup holder design to hold the tall mugs with handles. If you know me and cup holders, you’ll understand. And for those who need to be connected all the time, there is an additional USB in the front and a 12V power outlet has been added to the rear area.
Once my passengers and I decided to turn down the music that we were blasting in celebration of a last-minute road trip, we opted for some quiet time. The cabin area didn’t disappoint. We each just did our own thing. My front-seat passenger occasionally commented on the striking mountain views. My back-seat passenger took out a book (not a phone) and started to read.
The longer I drove this agile RAV4 on beautiful stretches of curvy, winding highways, the more I appreciated it being among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. Coming standard on the Limited, the TSS feature bundles cutting edge safety technologies, including pre-collision system, automatic high beams, pedestrian pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, and lane departure alert.
The drive was almost too relaxing (even sight seeing in the cozy neighborhoods nestled in the foothills) so I appreciated the audible beeps that kept me in line as I returned to the city on Sunday night.
The 2016 RAV4 Limited AWD MSRP: $32,910; Combined city/highway MPG: 25. Learn more at Toyota.