OPEN UP TO FREEDOM
“The new Wrangler is what crossovers want to be when they grow up.”
It’s refreshing to see Toyota trying harder with its infotainment system. The upgraded 8.0-inch screen sits high on the dash, flanked on either side by physical buttons. It’d be nice if the buttons were larger, but I’m glad they exist. The user interface, however, isn’t great.
“Entune 3.0 is super slow and unresponsive,” Ogbac complained. “The layout is simple, but you're left waiting for it to load most of the time.” These quite possibly are prototype issues that have yet to be resolved.
The good news, at least for iphone users, is that Toyota decided to offer Apple Carplay support with the new RAV4, but even the newer cars at the press launch suffered Carplay glitches. For now, Android users are out of luck. The touchscreen does make Entune easier to use than Enform, the dumpster fire user interface that Lexus still forces on its customers.
Toyota should also be commended for making its suite of driver-assist features standard on the RAV4. Honda only offers its version on EX, EX-L, and Touring models. The downside is that the RAV4’S lane keep assist isn’t as refined as Honda’s. Reducing the sensitivity helped, but it still struggled to keep the RAV4 centered in the lane as well as the CR-V’S system does.
That said, these were more nitpicks than true complaints. And whereas the CR-V was better in some ways, the RAV4 had a few advantages that mainstream customers will appreciate, such as a more attractive exterior design, a cool-looking cabin, and better acceleration. I found myself genuinely wondering what we’d do if we couldn’t pick a winner. And if there were a tie, should the existence of the Adventure and SXE Hybrid trims give the RAV4 the advantage? Possibly so.
But when we traded cars again, that confusion vanished. The CR-V’S seats were more comfortable. The steering wheel felt better in my hands. It was quieter on the road. In fact, there was so much less road noise in the CR-V that I was shocked I hadn’t noticed it before. As far as I was concerned, the CR-V was the clear winner.
When we eventually sat down to make an official decision, all three of us were on the same page. The redesigned RAV4 is an excellent crossover, and it’s leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. It’s also possible that Toyota could improve or refine a few things as running changes based on this test. But even if Toyota remedies all our minor complaints in time for Job 1, we’re prepared to defend our decision.
To paraphrase last year’s Camry versus Accord comparison, Toyota may have built a vastly better RAV4, but the CR-V is still the better vehicle.