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No vehicle is perfect, including the top-selling Toyota RAV4 compact SUV. Despite being one of the best SUV options you can buy, drivers have had their fair share of complaints. Let’s look at the cons and common Toyota RAV4 problems that have affected drivers who own the Toyota RAV4

Common Toyota RAV4 complaints include poor fuel economy ratings

Toyota RAV4 problems are mostly absent from its most recent model year, with the pictured 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE
2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Which model RAV4 is best and which is worst when it comes to fuel economy? The Toyota RAV4 exhibits fairly average fuel economy ratings for its class. However, this complaint isn’t related to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV model options, just the standard gas-powered version. According to Edmunds, the baseline 2022 Toyota RAV4 only gets up to 27 mpg in the city and up to 35 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, with much better scores, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway on Edmunds, and the Toyota RAV4 Prime reportedly gets an MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating of 94, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website Fuel Economy

However, compared to the regular RAV4, some competitors fare better. The 2022 Nissan Kicks, which isn’t a hybrid, gets 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, according to Nissan. Additionally, the larger 2022 Nissan Rogue still beats the gas-powered RAV4 with 29 city mpg and 37 highway mpg ratings, according to Car and Driver.

Drivers reported delayed transmission shifts for the 2019 model year

According to Vehicle History, new and old Toyota RAV4 models have had various transmission issues reported. For example, regarding the 2020 Toyota RAV4, the site says, “They have been known to lag and stumble while you drive.” This delay can make entering traffic dangerous, as drivers don’t know how quickly their vehicle will react and accelerate. 

Depending on the model year, the transmission is also known for lurching forward at low speeds and exhibiting loud bangs and clunks when forcefully shifting into gear. Along with shutters, slips, and a minor whiplash, people could not determine the cause. Having RAV4 models reset at the dealership failed to solve most issues for drivers, although the 2020 model year problems have been shown to be fixed with a simple software update.

Some Toyota RAV4 generations have had coolant leaks

According to Road Show, in Feb. 2020, Toyota issued a recall for the 2019 and 2020 Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid model years. This was to address coolant leaking from the models’ 2.5-liter engines.

According to DealerRater, Toyota determined that the porosity in the engine castings was prone to cracking, leading to coolant leaking in the interior and exterior. The cracks may have been caused by air bubbles that developed in the metal while the engines were being manufactured. If the coolant leaks in the interior or exterior, it could cause the vehicle to overheat and stall, increasing the risk of accidents. Additionally, the leak increased the general risk of a vehicle fire. 

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 has plenty of steering problems

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 is known for having steering issues, according to CoPilot. Drivers reported that their RAV4s were pulling to the side as if they had a flat tire or were in heavy crosswinds while driving on a typical day. Additionally, they’ve faced frustration with getting the steering to recenter and reported continually having to turn the steering wheel slightly to the left or right. 

When taken to Toyota dealerships to fix this issue, the tires of the RAV4 model were rotated and realigned, but these didn’t seem to correct the problem. In some cases, it was made worse, and drivers suddenly experienced vibration in their steering wheel while accelerating as an additional problem.


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