Used Car Review

2013 Toyota RAV4: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo April 2015

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 is as desirable now as the day it was new. That's because the 2013 model isn't all that different from the 2014 or 2015 RAV4, which makes finding a low-mileage model that's well cared for a real bargain. There are plenty of competitors for the RAV4, most notably its main rival, the Honda CR-V. But in this class there's also the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and the all-wheel-drive (AWD) Subaru Forester.

While each has its pros and cons, the RAV4 seems to get the most important points right. The RAV4's ride is comfortable, yet its handling is far from being vague or sloppy. There's plenty of room inside for passengers and cargo, and thanks to a long list of standard and available features spread across three trim levels, there's a RAV4 model for just about everyone.

A significant selling point is the RAV4's optional Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that automatically activates when added traction is needed, even on dry pavement. The system features a locking center differential for better off-road performance, an uncommon feature among compact crossovers. If the RAV4 has one weak spot, it's the lack of a more powerful V6 or turbocharged engine option, something you can find on numerous RAV4 competitors.

What We Like

Fresh, clean styling; Limited trim's handsome interior; cutting edge audio and infotainment systems; excellent driving manners; good gas mileage; strong resale numbers

What We Don't

No V6 or turbocharged engine; drab grays used inside the LE and XLE cabin; available 18-inch wheels make the ride too stiff; tow rating limited to 1,500 pounds

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2013 RAV4 has only one engine and transmission choice: a proven 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine good or 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque that's mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Eco/Sport mode. Fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive model is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Adding AWD yields slightly lower figures of 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2013 RAV4 comes in three trim levels: LE, XLE and Limited

The LE is the most basic model, but it comes nicely equipped with 17-in steel wheels, cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, automatic headlights, AM/FM/CD touchscreen stereo with six speakers and an iPod/USB interface, rear privacy glass, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, a rearview camera, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, power folding mirrors and split folding and reclining rear seats.

The XLE adds 17-in alloy wheels, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, heated side mirrors and roof rails.

Topping the RAV4 lineup is the Limited trim, which brings heated front seats, faux-leather upholstery, a power driver's seat with memory, a power liftgate, hands-free keyless entry with a push-button start and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The RAV4 offers only a few options. XLE and Limited models can be equipped with Toyota's Entune infotainment and navigation system, while the Limited alone offers a JBL sound system.

Pricing

The RAV4's reputation for longevity and reliability translates into strong 5-year resale values. That's good news if you own one and are trying to sell it, but bad news for those looking for bargain-basement pricing.

To get a good idea of the RAV4's price range, we suggest using the used car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area. If your budget is limited, you can get more car for your money from a Ford Escape, Jeep Patriot or Chevy Equinox, but they won't hold their value as well as the RAV4.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2013 Toyota RAV4:

A recall was issued for cars equipped with the optional trailer light module. A fault in the system could incorrectly detect an electrical short and shut off the trailer lights.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA awarded the 2013 RAV4 four out of five stars overall, with four stars for front impacts and five stars for rollover and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the RAV4 its highest marks in all categories except the small-overlap front crash test, in which the RAV4 scored poorly. Still, the IIHS thought enough of the RAV4 to award it a Top Safety Pick.

From the factory, the Toyota RAV4 comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Extended warranties purchased when the vehicle was new are transferable, so be sure to inquire if a possible purchase has an extended plan. With a certified pre-owned (CPO) RAV4, warranty coverage for the powertrain is extended to 7 years and 100,000 miles from the vehicle's original in-service date. CPO vehicles also come with a 3-month/3,000-mile comprehensive warranty.

Other Cars to Consider

2013 Ford Escape -- The Escape offers more engine options and more features on its mid-level trims, along with sport sedan-like handling. However, the Escape's repair and resale history pales in comparison to the RAV4.

2013 Honda CR-V -- The CR-V has the same reputation for excellent service and resale, and its interior color pallet looks a bit better. However, the CR-V isn't as sleek as the RAV4, and its navigation and infotainment systems are inferior to the Entune system.

2013 Subaru Forester -- The Forester comes standard with AWD, and you can have a manual transmission if you choose. Although the Forester retains excellent resale value, its fuel economy lags behind the RAV4, as do the Forester's antiquated audio and infotainment systems.

Autotrader's Advice

Unless you can't live without heated seats, a sunroof or navigation, we think the base LE trim comes nicely equipped and should suit the majority of people's needs. AWD costs a bit more but is worth it for snowy regions. If you must have a few more perks, skip the XLE and get a Limited. You'll get a better audio system, heated seats and a more colorful interior.

Find a Toyota RAV4 for sale

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Used 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited
Used 2013 Toyota RAV4
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Used 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited
Used 2013 Toyota RAV4
$14,904
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Used 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited
Used 2013 Toyota RAV4
$19,482
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Used 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited
Used 2013 Toyota RAV4
$16,499
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Toyota RAV4: Used Car Review - Autotrader