2013 Toyota RAV4
2013 Toyota RAV4. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams, additional photos courtesy Micheline Boulet and Bishop’s University.

Our long-term 2013 Toyota RAV4 has seen a lot of duty lately. Need to pick up a new barbeque? Haul some lumber from the local Home Depot? Retrieve a son from his digs at an out-of-town university? And his friend? And their luggage?

The RAV4 is an ideal vehicle to handle all these tasks. Not to mention stocking up on gardening materials, and other everyday chores that home owners and family types regularly encounter. Come to think of it, this vehicle may be costing me money… After all, would I have bought that barbeque if it wasn’t so easy to get it home? And wasn’t the garden okay without the extra topsoil?

The trip from Ottawa to Lennoxville, Quebec to pick up said students and their gear clearly demonstrates the utility of the RAV4. Three adults and two students-worth of hockey bags, suitcases, backpacks, boxes and the occasional garbage bag full of jackets and pillows and such were easily swallowed by the Toyota. A roof carrier would have handled more if required (the RAV4 comes only with roof rails, however; you’ll need to purchase the $271 accessory cross bars from Toyota before installing a carrier), and you could tow a small trailer if you needed even more cargo capacity (the 2013 RAV4 is tow-rated for 680 kg/1,500 lb).

2013 Toyota RAV42013 Toyota RAV4
2013 Toyota RAV4. Click image to enlarge

Lennoxville, if you don’t know, is located just south of Sherbrooke in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, north of Vermont and west of Maine. The townships are now basically a tourist area, replete with quaint villages, scenic lakes and turn-of-the-last century New England–style houses and cottages. Former summer homes owned by wealthy American industrialists also dot the landscape, some of which, like the mansion-like Manoir Hovey on Lake Massawippi, have been converted to fine hotels.

Our route from Ottawa took us along the 417, which changes into Route 40 at the Quebec border. This is actually part of the Trans Canada Highway, at least until you take Autoroute 15 and head toward Montreal and the Champlain Bridge. From there it’s the four-lane Autoroute 10 to Sherbrooke, or you can use less-travelled country roads to its south.

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