Exploring Toyota RAV4 Maintenance Costs: A Comprehensive Guide - SUV VEHICLE

Exploring Toyota RAV4 Maintenance Costs: A Comprehensive Guide


Summary

  • The Toyota RAV4 remains the top-selling compact SUV due to its affordability, reliability, and no-frills approach to design.
  • Costing $3,602 less to maintain over 10 years than the average SUV, the RAV4 offers a value-packed ownership experience.
  • With trims starting under $30,000, the RAV4 is a budget-friendly option that offers safety features and aftermarket support.



The compact SUV market is booming, with more and more options offering brilliant levels of practicality, technology, and performance. For as long as we can remember, though, the Toyota RAV4 has been king of the segment. Even with all these new rivals, the RAV4 still manages to beat just about everyone in terms of sales.

While the Tesla Model Y and the Honda CR-V are starting to nip at Toyota’s heels, the RAV4 still sits firmly in front in terms of units moved. The Japanese manufacturer has developed a sturdy recipe for success that has continuously proven to be exactly what people want. The RAV4 is a no-frill, no-gimmick SUV, that is solid and does exactly what it says on the box.

To understand why the RAV4 has remained so popular, we dive into its biggest claims to fame, reliability, and maintenance. We break down just how reliable the affordable compact SUV is and what kind of maintenance costs you can expect to incur over the course of ownership.


In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from Toyota websites and other authoritative sources, including CarEdge, RepiarPal, Car and Driver, and Fuel Economy.gov.

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Toyota’s RAV4 Is Much Cheaper To Maintain Than The Average SUV

When buying an SUV, regardless of how affordable it is, the last thing you want is something that is going to cost an arm and a leg to keep running. People really value reliability and it’s obvious why. Toyota understands this and while sometimes they’ll sacrifice in other areas of the car, the one thing they’ll never compromise on is reliability.


Maintenance Costs

  • Avg. Yearly Maintenance Costs: $429 (RepairPal)
  • Est. Maintenance Costs During First 10 Years: $5,531 (CarEdge)

One of the main reasons why the Toyota RAV4 is so attractive to those looking to buy an SUV is that it’s so cheap to maintain. The RAV4’s entire identity is simplicity, from its interior design to its mechanical parts. Everything is kept as functional as possible. Some might see this as a downside, but most people just want a car that gets them from A to B without any fuss.

The Toyota RAV4 is incredibly cheap when maintenance is required, with it being $3,602 cheaper to maintain over a ten-year period than the average SUV according to CarEdge. On top of this, if you’re buying a new RAV4 then you’re privy to two years of complimentary maintenance, something no one else offers on this class of vehicle. Toyota also offers a three-year or 36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.


Reliability

  • Quality And Reliability Score: 76/100 (J.D. Power)
  • How Likely A Major Repair Costing $500 Or More Is Needed: 16.08% (CarEdge)
  • Worst Year To Buy Used: 2006/2007

According to J.D. Power, the RAV4 sits in its average range, albeit at the top. However, J.D. Power rates cars based on the issues that owners have had. When looking at the complaints, owners don’t feel that the quality of the interior or the infotainment screen is particularly high, and they also believe that there is a decent amount of sound in the cabin. There aren’t many complaints about the mechanical functions of the car. In ratings done by others, the RAV4 also comes across as particularly satisfying for owners.

CarEdge has a rating based on how likely a car is to require a major repair in the first ten years of owning it. In this category, the RAV4 excelled, getting an extremely low score that is 5.42 percent lower than that of the average SUV. According to their estimates, the first time that you’ll pay more than $500 a year on maintenance for your RAV4 is in year six.


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A 2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder Is Part Of The RAV4’s Recipe For Success

Toyota 2.5-liter inline-four
Toyota 2.5-liter inline-four 

Behind the reliability of any car is its powertrain. Not only does an engine have to hold up over time, potentially taking abuse in a number of different ways, but efficiency is important too. We dive into the performance of the 2024 RAV4 to give you an idea of what this reliable SUV has to offer.

2024 Performance Specs

Engine

2.5-Liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-Four

Transmission

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

203 hp

Torque

184 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

0-60 MPH

8.3 Seconds

Towing Capacity

1,500 – 3,500 lbs


(Source: Toyota and Car and Driver)

In terms of performance, the RAV4 does not have the strongest powertrain on the market. When attempting to pass others on the highway, you might find yourself wishing for a little more from the workaday SUV. Toyota instead focused on building a robust powertrain that would stand the test of time. Paired with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder is an eight-speed automatic transmission standard across the board.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the 2024 RAV4, but this SUV has the legacy of an off-roader, hence we’d opt for all-wheel drive. While all-wheel drive is available on all models, only the higher trims get access to Toyota’s more advanced all-wheel drive system, which gives you access to features like torque vectoring and a rear axle disconnect.


Fuel Economy

Model

City

Highway

Combined

AWD

27 MPG

33 MPG

29 MPG

FWD

27 MPG

35 MPG

30 MPG

(Source: Fuel Economy.gov)

With the price of fuel skyrocketing year after year, it’s important to know the fuel efficiency of a car before you buy. One of the RAV4’s biggest advantages is that it is one of the most fuel-efficient gas-powered cars that you can buy. While there is a difference between the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive models, you’ll only really notice this if you drive on the highway frequently.

There are hybrid models of the RAV4, but we’ve looked at them separately. If you want your RAV4 to take you even further on a tank of gas, then the hybrid or Prime models may be attractive to you. Just take into account that anytime you buy a hybrid you are sacrificing reliability by a reasonable amount.

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The RAV4 Is One Of The Most Affordable Compact SUVs On The Market

RAV4 TRD driving outdoors front view
Toyota

If you’re in the market for a new compact SUV, few options rival the exceptional value offered by the RAV4. Boasting affordability from its base model, this vehicle delivers more than just cost-effectiveness. As you ascend through its various trim levels, the array of features and upgrades justify every additional investment, ensuring a rewarding experience that’s well worth the price tag.


2024 Trims

Trim

MSRP

LE

$28,675

XLE

$30,185

XLE Premium

$33,075

Adventure

$34,870

Limited

$36,980

TRD Off-Road

$38,295

(Source: Toyota)

Getting a compact SUV for under $30,000 is becoming more and more rare. Granted, this is the MSRP and not the price they actually go for. The RAV4 offers a ton in terms of safety features and aftermarket support on the RAV4 right off the bat, meaning if you’re looking for something simple and don’t need anything fancy, the LE will more than suffice. The only piece of safety tech that isn’t available across the board is blind spot monitoring, which you only get on the Adventure, Limited, and TRD Off-Road models.


However, the base model is particularly barren compared to other compact SUVs, and to really get the most out of the RAV4, we’d suggest you go up a few trim levels. The XLE Premium is the trim level that is going to make you feel like you’re getting the most out of your money. It offers fog lights, 19-inch wheels, a power-operated liftgate, dual-zone climate control, and faux leather among other things which help to elevate the RAV4.

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TRD Off-Road

If you’re looking for an entry into the world of off-roading, then the RAV4 is the perfect place to start. The RAV4 has a long history in the world of off-roading and its ruggedness and reliability have made it perfect for hitting the unbeaten path. This certainly hasn’t changed with the most recent generation.


If you’re someone who wants to make your own adjustments to your vehicle then you will probably be happy with the Adventure trim, with the upgraded all-wheel drive system and the extra protective trim. However, if you just want a car that you can hop in right off the dealership floor, then the TRD Off-Road will serve you well. It offers you a TRD-tuned MacPherson strut front suspension with a stabilizer bar, a multi-link rear suspension with a stabilizer bar, and unique shocks and struts.



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