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Toyota vehicles are famous for their reliability and value. So they’re often excellent choices for used cars. The Toyota RAV4 is no exception. Here’s a look at the three best used Toyota RAV4 model years for under $15,000 in 2023.

2009 Toyota RAV4

Best used Toyota RAV4 model years under $15K
2009 to 2012 Toyota RAV4 (third generation) | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc

According to U.S. News, the 2009 Toyota RAV4 is one of the SUV’s best used model years for under $15,000 in 2023. The average price used car shoppers pay for this RAV4 year is between $7,300 and $9,500. Despite that affordable price, this RAV4 model year still offers plenty for drivers and passengers.

One of the significant changes the company made for this version was to switch its base engine. Instead of having a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, it packs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 179 hp. There was also an optional 3.5-liter V6 producing 269 hp, which critics preferred at the time. The standard four-cylinder engine gets about 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for 25 mpg combined. 

On the inside, the 2009 model provides plenty of space and comfort for all riders. This RAV4 model year offers an optional third row, but those seats aren’t as spacious as the first or second rows. It also has plenty of cargo space, maxing out at 73 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. That’s above average for the segment. However, because this model is from 2009, tech features are lacking compared with today’s models. Overall, U.S. News gives the 2009 Toyota RAV4 an overall score of 8.6 out of 10.

2010 Toyota RAV4

Because the 2010 Toyota RAV4 is the next after the excellent 2009 version, it’s not too different in most ways. Its powertrain specs remain the same, and its pros and cons are similar. Despite having no major changes from the previous model year, the 2010 model boasts a higher overall score of 9. It’s still affordable, costing around $8,000 to $10,500. 

2012 Toyota RAV4

Like the 2010 version, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 also has an overall score of 9. This model was the RAV4’s last in the third generation, and the Japanese auto giant gave the compact SUV upgrades before the fourth generation debuted. Almost all of those upgrades were to the car’s tech features. 

Notably, 2012 was the first RAV4 model year to get Bluetooth as a standard feature. Toyota also began offering an infotainment system, but it was bare-bones compared to those in today’s SUVs. This optional infotainment system featured a 6.1-inch touchscreen, becoming a standard feature in later RAV4 model years.

But because the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is newer than the 2010 or 2009 model years, it also costs the most of the three. Used car shoppers pay an average of $12,000 to $14,000 for a 2012 RAV4.

However, plenty of cheaper RAV4 options are available. Many other years made U.S. News‘ lengthy, seven-page list. For example, a pre-owned 2011 model sells for about $10,000.