NEW FOR 2014:

– LE receives body-colour door handles
– XLE receives chromed interior door handles, automatic headlamps, and satellite radio
– Limited receives standard navigation and satellite radio

Toyota’s RAV4 was one of the original compact crossovers when it arrived on the scene back in 1996, and over those years Toyota has honed in on what consumers are looking for. The latest version, launched last year, builds on three generations of learning and feedback. The result? An affordable and pragmatic all-weather runabout that Canadians are flocking to numbers.

Resisting the urge to grow the RAV4, Toyota’s designers have kept it small enough to make it easy to drive and maneuver in the city, while being big enough to serve up for family duty. Space too, is a RAV4 strong suit: its boxy body offers up plenty of interior and cargo space too, made all the more accessible by its conventional top-hinged tailgate and low bumper lift-over height. Toyota’s work on dynamics has resulted in a more sure-footed feel on the road; “optimized” springs and dampers work with light and quick steering for increased composure.

The RAV4 comes with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder and six-speed automatic in front- or four-wheel drive. Trim lines are FWD LE, FWD XLE, AWD LE, AWD XLE, and AWD Limited.

Features on LE trim include 17-inch steel wheels, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with auxiliary and USB input, Bluetooth, air conditioning, 60/40 split/fold rear seat, power locks, power windows, outside temperature gauge, fuel economy meter, tilt/telescopic steering with audio controls, carpeted and all-season floor mats, cruise control, map lights, keyless entry, rear spoiler, power heated mirrors with integrated turn signals. AWD models also get an automatic transmission fluid warning indicator. New for 2014 are body-colour exterior door handles. Buyers can also upgrade to the unimaginatively named Upgrade Package which includes a 6.1-inch display audio system with voice recognition and six speakers, heated front seats, privacy tinted glass, roof rails, tonneau cover, and a reverse camera.

XLE trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, 6.1-inch display audio system with six speakers, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front sport seats, driver window auto-up/down, backup camera, tonneau cover, rear privacy glass, silver-painted roof rails, body colour door handles, moonroof, variable intermittent wipers, fog lights, and vehicle anti-theft system. The XLE also now receives chromed interior door handles, automatic headlamps, and satellite radio as standard equipment. Also available is the Navigation Package that adds navigation, text message capability, and streaming Bluetooth audio.

Limited trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstered seats, power 8-way driver seat, auto-dimming rear view mirror, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, cargo net, push button start, smart key system, power liftgate. Navigation is now standard, as is satellite radio. Limited buyers can also upgrade to the Technology Package that adds automatic high-beams, reverse parking sensors with cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, and an 11-speaker JBL audio system

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