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New cars are great, but some shoppers see more appeal in buying a model that already has a trusted reputation. Fortunately, Toyota makes many dependable cars and SUVs, like the RAV4. Consumer Reports gave the 2015 Toyota RAV4 earns a perfect score in terms of reliability.

The 2015 RAV4 had just lost its third row two years prior, creating a far more useful cargo hold. Like today’s RAV4, this model has a peppy and efficient engine, plus plenty of room for passengers. Is buying a used Toyota RAV4 a better choice over buying the latest model?

Benefits of buying a used car

The 2015 Toyota RAV4 is actually slightly more reliable than the newest one. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 only earned an average predicted reliability score from Consumer Reports. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 hasn’t been tested by CR yet, but it received a mediocre score from J.D. Power.

Consumer Reports only cited in-car electronics for potential problems in the 2020 model. Average reliability is still a good thing and ensures a decent return on your purchase. However, SUVs are usually used as a daily driver that hauls multiple family members and their personal belongings. 

Because of this, an SUV usually receives more wear and tear than a car for a solo driver. A car with a lower reliability score may not last as long as a car with a perfect rating. 

Used cars also have more owner reviews than brand-new models, which gives you a better idea of what to expect. If you check, you’ll find that the 2015 Toyota RAV4 only has 66 reported problems from users. The majority of these complaints were regarding clicking and squealing brakes, which only cost $10 to fix on average. 

A few owners also reported that the car’s paint chips and rusts easily. The 2015 Toyota RAV4 has only been included in three recalls, with the largest one affecting 110,000 units. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 was included in three recalls during its first model year.

Why some drivers want a new Toyota RAV4

Obviously, a RAV4 from 2015 isn’t going to have all the latest technology. It came with very little infotainment options, and the ones it had were difficult to operate. It also had no standard safety features besides a mandated rearview camera. 

Extras on higher trims included blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 comes with a full suite of standard safety features, plus smartphone integration and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

However, in some ways, the lack of advanced technology might actually be a benefit. Older cars have less expensive components that might malfunction over time.

However, the lack of the most powerful engine might definitely be a dealbreaker for performance-minded shoppers. The latest Toyota RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 203 hp.

By comparison, the 2015 RAV4’s engine only makes 176 hp. The newest RAV4 models are also slightly more efficient than the ones from 2015.

How much does the 2015 Toyota RAV4 cost?

A 2015 Toyota RAV4 on display at an auto show
A 2015 Toyota RAV4 | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

People Just Can’t Stop Buying Toyotas

Buying a used car is almost always a good idea if you want to save some extra money. Consumer Reports estimates that the 2015 Toyota RAV4 costs around $14,100-$17,300. The base trim of the 2021 Toyota RAV4 costs over $27,000, with the range-topping Limited trim costing $34,580.

While the newest Toyota RAV4 has all the bells and whistles, $10,000 is a big price difference. The 2015 Toyota RAV4 is arguably just as good and only slightly outdated. Its reputation speaks for itself: several reviewers on Kelley Blue Book gave the 2015 RAV4 five stars in each category.