Trucks & SUVs

The Most Frustrating Issues Toyota RAV4 Drivers Deal With

No vehicle is perfect, including the top-selling Toyota RAV4. Despite being one of the best SUV options you can buy, drivers have had their fair share of complaints. Check out the cons included with the Toyota RAV4. 

Common Toyota RAV4 Complaints 

The Poor Fuel Economy 

The poor fuel economy isn’t related to the hybrid version of the RAV4, but the regular model instead. 

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime on display during the AutoMobility LA event
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

The RAV4 only gets up to 26 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. The RAV4 Hybrid gets up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, which is much better. 

But the Nissan Kicks, which isn’t a hybrid, gets 31 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. 

Transmission Issues 

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a variety of transmission issues reported. At low speeds, the transmission is known for lurching forward. The transmission also has loud bangs and clunks when it forcefully shifts into gear. 

2020 Toyota RAV4
2020 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Some drivers experienced issues with the transmission lagging or failing to shift into gear. They experienced a delay when pressing the gas, but other times they suddenly lurched forward, making entering traffic dangerous. 

Along with shutters, slips, and a little whiplash, people were unable to determine the cause. Having their RAV4 reset at the dealership failed to solve the issues. 

Leaking Coolant 

As recently as February 2020, Toyota issued a recall for 2019-2020 RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models equipped with the 2.5-liter engines because they were leaking coolant. 

Toyota determined that the porosity in the engine castings were 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 wile the engines were being manufactured. 

If the coolant leaked in the interior or exterior, it could cause the vehicle to overheat and stall, increasing the risk of accidents. Plus, the oil may leak as well, increasing the risk of fires. 

Steering Problems 

The 2017 RAV4 is known for having steering issues. 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. 

They have faced frustration with getting the steering to center and reported continually having to turn the steering wheel slightly to the left or right. 

2020 Toyota RAV4 Moose Test | Teknikens Värld
2020 Toyota RAV4 Moose Test | Teknikens Värld

Also, some drivers dealt with the steering wheel, creating a knocking noise while turning or locking up while in traffic. 

When taken to Toyota dealerships to fix this issue, they had their tires 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 well.

So far, we are unsure if the 2020 or 2021 RAV4 models have addressed these issues yet.

2019 Toyota RAV4
2020 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

It may be beneficial to wait for more reviews to come out before you make your purchase.

Until then, the used 2018 and 2016 RAV4 models seem to be the most reliable options.