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Our New Car – 2018 Toyota RAV4

2018 toyota rav4

After checking the reviews and doing the test drivers, we are pleased to welcome a 2018 Toyota RAV4 into our garage. Tons of features and a pleasure to drive. 

Hilda prefers sitting “up high” in an SUV rather than “down low” in a sedan. So, there was never much doubt that we would replace our 12 year old Highlander with another SUV. But, which one?

Based on the car reviews, we short listed the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. These are the top sellers in the compact crossover segment, and about the same size as the outgoing Highlander. We also put the Subaru Forester on the list because of its very strong ratings. All three of these have quite similar dimensions, features and reliability.

What’s interesting is how the sizes of the smaller CUV’s have grown over the years. In 2005, our Highlander was a full size SUV and the RAV4 was “the next size down”. In 2018, the size of the RAV4 is pretty much that of the 12 year old Highlander. Also, the prices of the CUV’s were pretty much the same as the original Highlander had been so many years ago. So, we did not feel we were giving up by downsizing.

The old Highlander did have a six cylinder engine, but all our new short list came with four cylinder. The old Highlander had full time all wheel drive, something only provided by the Forester.

But the biggest eye-opener was the range of safety features offered by these vehicles in 2018. Each choice on our short list provided dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor and collision mitigation. Not to mention the backup camera, heated seats and steering wheel, sun roof and navigation. I think you get a lot more value in a new car today than was available 12 years ago.

Comparison Shopping before Buying the 2018 Toyota RAV4

Of course, we did lots of back to back test driving and checked out various dealers. The Subaru was a good drive, but it dropped off our list because we were really not impressed by dealer choices. In the end, the CR-V and RAV4 were neck in neck and we could have gone with either. We also tested the RAV4 Hybrid but the price increase was too big to justify at expected gas prices.

Honda has gone with a turbo and continuously variable transmission in the CR-V. Definitely more power than the RAV4, but I am still leery about the long term reliability of a turbo. In the end, we went with the normally aspirated RAV4 with its old fashioned six speed transmission.

Now, if I could only get Hilda to let me drive it once in a while!

Oh, and an added bonus. Our cost of insurance actually went down! It seems the insurance companies like the new safety features in the 2018 Toyota RAV4.

4 comments

  1. Dwight Hazen says:

    John,

    Nice pick for a new car. Lots of choices and most are very good. I do wish that one could buy a new car that had all the modern engine technology for low emissions, good fuel economy, anti-lock brakes and remove all the unneeded electronic driver distracting BS that populates the modern dashboard. Just trying turning the heater on after wading through two pages in the display.. We bought a Honda Civic for my wife because she needed a small car to see out of and I am not sure she can use many of the modern controls. And do not get me started about the airbag problem .. I thought airbags were to help keep you safe not kill you! I’ll just keep my 2002 Xterra it has old school controls and the only LCD displays are my ham radios!

    Dwight

    Are you going to try to run HF in your new RAV4 ? If you do try it before the warranty is up 🙂

    • John VE6EY says:

      So a lot has changed over 12 years. It’s almost like driving your phone. No, I am not into mobile HF, although I might experiment with shortwave listening in the provincial park nearby to get away from the RFI.

      • Dwight Hazen says:

        You might want to run a spectral analysis with your SDR inside the car to see how much interference is coming from all the gadgets the car maker has jammed in. I once read a few years ago that the modern car has up to 30 microprocessor embedded. Will make a good read to see what you find if anything. I know that manufactures now try to keep RFI ingress and outgress to a minimum.

        A good ham friend bought a new Ford pick-up and sometimes on the interstate his engine would quit while talking on his HF rig. Pulling over and restarting the engine would fix it until next time. More antenna grounding, SWR reduction and ferite’s
        eliminated the problem. On my Xterra the only problem was QRM from the windshield wiper motor A snap on ferrite fixed the motor noise.

        I once bought a used 1969 five door suburban that was used at a weapons depot. It came with a factory installed for the Navy RFI suppression system. Every circuit was capacitor bypassed to ground. No microporsers back then and you could not hear any interference from the suburban. It was Mil spec no interior just painted gray metal. The only thing that was vinyl or plastic were the seats, door pulls, steering wheel, dash pad and floor covering (no carpet). I loved it and wish I still had it.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Suburban#Sixth_generation_(1967%E2%80%931972)

        Dwight

  2. John VE6EY says:

    Yea, I would only use the car for transportation to the park! 🙂 I was thinking that running my SDRUno with a small vertical in the middle of the park might be an interesting way to get away from all the switch-mode power supply hash in the neighborhood.

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