A huge “thank you” to Toyota for lending me a 2017 Toyota RAV4 to facilitate our night out in Royal Oak and my review of the 2017 RAV4. #DriveToyota #LetsGoPlaces
After spending my whole life in North Carolina, there weren’t many cities within driving distance that I hadn’t had the chance to visit. One of the biggest upsides to our move to Michigan in 2016 has been having a whole new world to explore. We’ve hit up places like Detroit, Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes. They are big tourist spots, but I love them. Last week, we took the opportunity to check out something a little more “hometown” with a trip to Royal Oak.
Royal Oak is about an hour drive for us. It’s a very happening little town with an incredibly busy downtown area, full of restaurants, shops and activities. We were invited by a friend of mine to join her husband and a group of friends at The Great Escape Room. We honestly had no idea what we were signing up for, but we love a new adventure, so why not. You guys, The Great Escape Room was so much fun! It’s like a puzzle, scavenger hunt and game all mashed together. We did “Dr. Watson’s Infirmary” and we failed. The success rate for that scenario is only 27%, so I don’t feel too bad. We did get really, really close though. The staff was really friendly and they helped add to the fun. There are several other “set-ups” you can play, so I am sure we’ll be back again.
In addition to our mystery adventure at The Great Escape Room, we also tried a delicious little sushi place, Little Tree Sushi. One of the things we miss most (besides family and friends) from NC is our favorite sushi place. Little Tree was fantastic, I just wish it was closer to our house. We ordered way, way too much food, and still ate it all. Our waitress was prompt and the prices are fair. Plus, they have Happy Hour specials through the week. It’s definitely a place we’ll be back to enjoy again.
Of course, I drove the 2017 Toyota RAV4 on our Royal Oak adventure. When offered the chance to review the 2017 Toyota RAV4 over the course of a week, there was no way I was going to pass it up. Toyota and I go way back. I can vividly remember riding in the passenger seat of my mom’s 1980s hatchback Corolla. Thirty years later, I own a Toyota Corolla of my own. Before that, I owned a Camry. Both are/were extremely dependable and have they a driveability that I have grown to love.
First, I want to talk about the exterior. The color is just slightly more gray than my Corolla (you can see it in the background in the lower left corner of the photo above). The RAV4 has lots of nice visual features like the rear spoiler, color keyed mirrors (heated with turn signal and blind spot monitoring) and roof rails. The blind spot monitoring is SO nice on the interstate. If you’ve ever driven on I-75 through Michigan, you know how crazy the lane changing can be, and it’s nice to have that little extra assurance that everything is clear before changing lanes. The RAV4 also has a foot activated power lift gate. I had to pull out the owner’s manual to figure out how to use it, but once I understood the simple motion that activates it, it was awesome!
Interior and Drivability
As far as handling goes, the RAV4 drives just like my Corolla. Outside of parking, which was made much easier by the RAV4’s camera system and Parking Assist, there was no difference. The larger size was a non-issue, which was a pleasant surprise. The RAV4 has Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and DRCC is everything (more on that later).
For the interior, there were things I like and things I dislike. Let’s talk about the dislikes first. I am not a fan of the control placement for many of my favorite features. The control for the heated steering wheel is low on the dash, to the left and behind the steering wheel. For shorter drivers like myself, this is a long way to reach and not something I want to try to mess with while I’m driving. The same applies for the heated seat controls. They are low on the center control panel, down by the cup holders, and much too far for my short arms to reach without a significant amount of leaning. The entertainment/navigation display is tilted slightly up, so it tends to catch a bit of a glare from the sunroof/moonroof.
While those were all things I’m not crazy about, there were plenty of great features. I love the the controls by the arm rests are tilted slightly toward you. The in-dash display has tons of options, allowing you to quickly scroll through and see whatever you need to at the moment, right from the steering wheel. The interior styling is nice. Everything seems high quality and well paired. The fold-flat rear seat are a huge perk. They really help expand your cargo space for larger hauls.
My Favorite Feature
I saved the best for last. I know some of you may think this is silly, but my favorite feature of the RAV4 is the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. If you think you know cruise control, you don’t. Do yourself a favor and click over to Toyota’s website and read about it. Once you’ve experienced it, you will never be satisfied with normal cruise control again. As soon as I realized the RAV4 had DRCC, my husband knew that someone would have to pry it out of my hands.
A quick synopsis of how it works: You set your desired speed and a following distance. Using radar and cameras, the RAV4 adjusts your speed to accommodate for traffic ahead. I have 50 mile commute each way, with the majority being on the interstate. DRCC means I can use cruise control without constantly having to cancel and reset for traffic changes. Of course, this is not a “set it and forget it” sort of feature. You do still need to pay attention to what’s happening around you and be ready to react should something go awry.
Would I Buy It?
Heck yea! For the price point (roughly $36,000 for the Platinum trim level), there’s a lot of “bang for your buck”. The RAV4 is a great option for someone who wants the utility of an SUV with the drive of a sedan. It’s loaded with features, has great gas mileage, and comes from a brand you can trust to support all of your driving needs for many, many years.
You can check out the RAV4 here. Take a look and let me know what you think.