Yonkers, New York – The 2009 four-cylinder Toyota RAV4 has been rated tops among six small SUVs in the latest issue of Consumer Reports. The refreshed model features a new, 2.5-litre four-cylinder that replaces the old 2.4-litre and delivers the same fuel economy but is smoother and quieter, the magazine said.

In the class, the RAV4’s overall road test score of 82 is below only that of the more expensive, turbocharged Forester 2.5XT Limited and RAV4 V6, but when compared to the most popular four-cylinder versions of these vehicles, the four-cylinder RAV4 edged out the similarly-equipped Forester 2.5X and all others in this month’s test group.

“The RAV4 is a well-rounded package, combining good all-around performance with a comfortable ride, agile handling and outstanding reliability,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. “It also offers an optional third-row seat, which is unusual in this class.”

Rounding out the test group were the Ford Escape, its twin Mercury Mariner (a brand not sold in Canada), the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Subaru Forester 2.5X, and updated Jeep Patriot.

The RAV4, Escape and Mariner are the only vehicles in the group to receive the magazine’s “Recommended” rating. To qualify, a vehicle must have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test. The Patriot scored too low in Consumer Reports’ tested to be recommended, and there is no reliability data for the Grand Vitara with four-cylinder engine.

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