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Is the Toyota RAV4 Right for You? A Mom’s Review

It’s tough being a parent. You need to keep your kids fed, clothed, bathed, make sure they do their homework and learn their manners. In this day of helicopter parenting, you also need to make sure that you have protected them against every possible risk known to man. Do you think your parents were running around shoving plastic prongs into their electrical outlets? Nope – I would bet money they went with the whole “if they do it once, they’ll never do it again” adage. Not like me. I have my children so protected from the dangers lurking in my house that it’s amazing I don’t dress them in bubble wrap suits just to watch TV.

And what about the things outside your house? That’s where the true worry starts – and nowhere seems more dangerous to me than carousing down the highway at a cool 70 miles per hour with kids in the backseat pulling each other’s hair and fighting over the iPad. The days of my cellphone being my only distraction on the road (and one that was easily ignored at that) are over.

So, this always makes me wonder when I see a popular car sitting in a parking lot – is it safe? Should that be my next investment? One car I have noticed popping up all over the place is the Toyota RAV4. I have no idea why, aside from the fact it’s a pretty cute little car. Beyond that, I know pretty much nothing about it, so I decided it was time to do some research… and I have generously decided to share it with you (you’re welcome).


Safe and Sound

Off the bat, I realized that the popularity of the RAV4 is no doubt due to the fact that it is a very safe ride. The 2017 Toyota RAV4 was named a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and received an overall rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of course, the five-passenger compact SUV is in a class with other extremely popular and also extremely safe cars, such as the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Forester, so it’s high safety scores aren’t exactly enough to make it really stand out from the crowd.

What does set the 2017 RAV4 apart from the competition is the slew of standard safety features that Toyota has loaded into it. For starters, both Toyota Safety Sense and the Star Safety System come standard on all trim levels, meaning the RAV4 is equipped with a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Automatic High Beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology. There are also a number of airbags lining the cabin and a rearview backup camera is included in every trim.

So, it’s safe to say that you can feelconfident loading up your kids in the 2017 Toyota RAV4. Oh, and if you still need those pesky car seats, don’t worry, the RAV4 is equipped to handle two car seats using the LATCH system. Sorry that you’re still probably drowning in diapers, too. Can’t help you there.



Now that we’ve gotten safety out the way, it’s time to discuss whether the RAV4 is actually a car you would want to drive.

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 comes in four trims but also offers quite a selection of packages and add-ons, so you should be able to configure the car that best suits your needs with very little problem. But let’s take a look at the trim levels to get an idea of what we’re working with.

The base model is the RAV4 LE and aside from all the awesome safety features I listed earlier, you’re also going to get a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a USB port, Bluetooth capability, a voice recognition system, and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. If you need to add some features, you can go ahead and get your RAV4 LE loaded with navigation, satellite or HD radio, and real-time traffic and weather updates.

Or you could just upgrade to the XLE trim. Not only will you get all those creature comforts, but you’ll also get dual-zone automatic climate control, and Siri Eyes Free. Best of all though, you’ll have the option to make it an even safer vehicle by adding the Convenience package to your XLE which includes blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors rear cross traffic alert, a push-button start and a height-adjustable power liftgate.

If you want to start getting really fancy, the RAV4 Limited has all that and a bag of Skittles, as my kids would say. Except in this case, the Skittles are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a seven-inch touch screen and heated front seats. You also get the premium Entune infotainment system, and of course you can add options like the Advanced Technology Package.

Finally, we arrive at the Mack-daddy of all the RAV4 trims – the Platinum. Splurge on the Platinum trim (starting MSRP is $34,840) and you’ll have a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, a proximity key and an 11-speaker sound system. And, of course, options to add in even more luxury if your heart desires.

Now me, personally – I’m pretty basic. I think I’d be satisfied with the base model RAV4, especially as the MSRP is only $24,410. If you decide you want to class it up with the XLE trim, you’re shelling out at least $29,030. I think I’ll save that little bit of extra cash and throw it towards college (haha, who are we kidding, I’m going to blow it on a spa day).



FTW means For The Win, if you haven’t been following along with the cool kids… or snooping through your kid’s phones. Regardless, I can see how the RAV4 has become so popular – it’s certainly a safe car that comes loaded with some pretty great features for both you and your rowdy passengers.

If you’re in the market for a car that will keep your kids as safe on the road as you keep them in your house, then you should definitely consider the 2017 Toyota RAV4.