I can’t help it. I’m one of those odd people who name their cars. And even though the 2011 Toyota Rav4 I’ve been driving around for the past week was temporary, we treated it like our ‘foster car’ and gave it a name. Zippy.
Because? Zippy is quite zippy!
Like I said, I’ve been driving my Barcelona Red Rav4 since last Friday. As soon as I got the keys I took it for a spin on my street. Nothing major, but a quick drive to quell my excitement that had been building during the days prior in the week. Right away I noticed how smooth the car handled. It felt comfortable and easily controlled. The steering wasn’t jerky at all; every turn felt more like a glide. Braking was very pleasant. Not too touchy, yet powerful. The gas for me took a little getting used to, but you also have to keep in mind that I am used to driving a huge diesel truck. When I got back to my driveway I decided to reverse in. And holy wow!!! There is a camera in the back of the car that gives me an extremely wide view of what is behind the car. Maybe it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a newer car, but I found this extremely impressive. I could even see my son’s little (about 2″ long) Lightning McQueen toy car in the driveway as I was backing in. This camera even works extremely well at night.
The next time I get in the car it’s time to sit and really check things out. Push all the buttons there are to push, check out the sound quality of the radio, and of course get a good feel for where my to-go coffee mug will be sitting.
There are two cup holders in the front of the middle console area. Just the right size. There are also cup holders in the lower part of the doors, but I never use those. I actually always use that area in a car to hold my trash until I get home.
The sound quality of the stereo was nice. One of the things I thought was really cool was that there was a port to plug in your ipod/iphone/mp3player in the lower part of the console, instead of in the dash where I see it more commonly placed in other vehicles. I hate cords dangling around when I’m trying to drive.
Next place I had to check out was the back of the Rav4. The cargo area was extremely spacious. My son though this was a fun place to have his fort. I was able to load up my double stroller, and still have room for a full load of groceries. Also, there was a pull out canopy that latched closed, so that if when out on a day of shopping you didn’t want all you’re new finds to be seen they were covered up and completely out of site.
Moving on, my next test was with the car seats. The 2011 Rav4 has the latch system, which make securing my car seats quick and easy. All three of my children still sit in the full sized, 5-point harness seats and I placed them in both rear and front facing to try them out. No problems at all!! The back seat also slides back ensuring that those sitting in the front are not having to compromise any of their legroom, and also giving my littles plenty of space with wiggle and kick their feet. The only con here is that I could only fit two seats in the back. There is no possible way that three would have fit. At. All. So any traveling I did with my children was only with my girls, usually while my son was in school.
I have to say, though, that this was the only, ONLY, downer in my experience with our foster car.
I did take one, fairly big, trip in the car. My niece was in for a visit and flew in/out of LAX. (keep in mind I live on Camp Pendleton) This past Tuesday I had to take her back to the airport. So I’ve had this car since last Friday, buzzed around to quite a few places, and drove up to LAX and back. And? Still on the same tank of gas!! The Rav4 gets 22 city MPG and 28 HWY MPG. Yesterday, after picking up my son from school, the gas light finally came on and I put a few bucks in the tank. I was surprised at how much driving I did, and how long one tank of gas lasted me. With gas prices sky high and no sign of them ever dropping to the $1.96 a gallon I payed in high school, this is a very beneficial quality.
Overall I am very impressed with this vehicle. I would recommend it to anyone with a family of 4 or smaller. The Rav4, for me, offers everything a family would need and if you have any knowledge of Toyota vehicles at all you’ll know that the motors are built to last giving you a complete sense of security and satisfaction in your purchase.