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New vehicles are expensive and quickly depreciate. However, many consumers are insistent on purchasing a model with all the latest technologies. Thankfully, the automotive industry is entering an age where some lightly used cars are well-equipped with high-tech features. And the 2017 Toyota RAV4 might be one of the best pre-owned vehicles you can buy in 2021.

Used cars have become more expensive recently, but shoppers can still save a considerable amount of money. 

For example, a brand-new 2021 RAV4 has a starting MSRP of $26,050. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports revealed that a used 2017 Toyota RAV4 retails between $16,925-$23,625, depending on trim level.

Are savings of more than $9,000 worth downgrading from a new vehicle to a pre-owned one? In this case, the answer is likely yes. Let’s explore why a used 2017 Toyota RAV4 is a better value than the overhyped 2021 RAV4.

The 2017 Toyota RAV4’s safety features were ahead of its time

A silver 2017 Toyota RAV4 parked on display in front of a blue sky
The 2017 Toyota RAV4 on display | Photo via Toyota

Driver-assistance technologies have changed the automotive industry. These smart safety systems provide drivers with an increased awareness of their surroundings and can help prevent crashes.

Most brand-new vehicles come standard with cutting-edge features like automatic emergency braking (AEB). Meanwhile, those shopping for used cars will likely need to pay a premium for these safety systems or miss out on them altogether.

Thankfully, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 provides an affordable alternative. This iteration of the compact SUV was the first to come standard with Toyota Safety Sense – a suite of driver-assist tech. 

The standard package includes AEB, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. The 2017 RAV4 also provides drivers with the added benefit of a standard rearview camera. In comparison, shoppers will have to pay extra for a 2017 Honda CR-V that’s equipped with a similar package.

Higher trims come with more advanced safety equipment, such as blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert system. Notably, you’d also have to pay extra for these features on a 2021 Toyota RAV4.

Safety experts commended this compact SUV

Safety is a top priority for many consumers, and buyers are typically skeptical of older models. However, the 2017 Toyota RAV4’s standard safety features helped it gain respect amongst critics.

This compact SUV earned impressive safety ratings from industry experts. The IIHS bestowed its highest honor of Top Safety Pick + upon the 2017 RAV4. 

However, the organization gave a “poor” rating in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test. Plus, the IIHS rated the vehicle’s standard headlights and LATCH system as “marginal.” Toyota improved the RAV4’s crash-test rating and LATCH system with its 2019 redesign, but the 2021 RAV4’s standard headlights still earned a “marginal” rating.

The 2017 RAV4 has few downsides

A look at the interior of the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited
The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited’s interior | Photo via Toyota

This Toyota isn’t the most exciting SUV on the block, but most buyers aren’t expecting a thrill ride. Its 176-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is a little lackluster, but it’s spry enough to help you conquer your daily errands.

Instead, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 focuses on delivering value where it matters most. Its engine achieves an EPA-estimated 26 MPG city/highway combined. While adding the available all-wheel-drive system increases the RAV4’s traction on slippery roads, it will decrease its estimated gas mileage by one MPG.

Meanwhile, the 2017 RAV4 offers ample cargo space, providing 38.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Plus, you can get 73.4 cubic feet of storage room by lowering the second-row bench. 

Toyota also paced base LE trim with a decent assortment of standard features. In addition to its safety technologies and touchscreen, you’ll get Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and remote keyless entry.

Premium models offer upscale options. These include a moonroof (standard on the XLE trim and above), heated front seats (SE and above), a navigation system (Limited and above), and a hands-free liftgate (Platinum.)

However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available on any 2017 RAV4 models. Toyota didn’t incorporate popular smartphone integration features into its compact SUV until the 2019 model year.

Should you buy a used 2017 Toyota RAV4?

Overall, purchasing a 2017 RAV4 is a smart move. This compact SUV has all the crucial technologies you’ll find in brand-new 2021 models. Few other 2017 models come standard with such an enormous list of safety features, and some even lack a standard rearview camera.

Meanwhile, the gadgets that the 2017 RAV4 doesn’t have, such as Apple CarPlay, you might not even use anyway. So, you won’t be missing out on much, and you’ll save a considerable amount of money.


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