2006 Toyota RAV4 V6
Toyota RAV4 V6. Click image to enlarge

Yonkers, New York – The recently-redesigned Toyota RAV4 emerged as the top-rated SUV in Consumer Reports’ latest testing, to be published in its July 2006 issue. The 2007 RAV4 earned an “Excellent” overall rating surpassing such highly-rated vehicles as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. The Forester had been a Top Pick in the company’s April auto issue.

“The redesigned RAV4 tops its class with either the standard four-cylinder engine or the optional V6 powerplant,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “With the optional third-row seat and the V6 engine, the RAV4 is a good alternative to some more expensive mid-sized SUVs.”

The test group included a total of eight vehicles: four-cylinder and V6-powered versions of the RAV4, the Subaru Forester, the Suzuki Grand Vitara, V6 and V8 versions of the Ford Explorer, a V8-powered Jeep Commander and V8-powered Chevrolet Tahoe. The four-cylinder RAV4 scored “Very Good”, slightly lower than the V6 version; the freshened Subaru Forester rated “Very Good” overall but posted a slightly lower score than the previously-tested model. The Grand Vitara, both Explorers, the Commander and the Tahoe posted “Good” overall scores, which the magazine calls “lackluster”.

Consumer Reports recommends three vehicles in the group: both versions of the RAV4, and the Forester. The magazine only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on a survey of subscribers, and have performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test. The Grand Vitara, Commander and Tahoe were considered too new to judge their reliability, and reliability for the Explorer has been “sub-par”.

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