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Toyota RAV4 Real World MPG



  • Mostly Brooklyn local
    ocassional BQE
    occasional West Side HWY

    averages around 15 MPG (Rav4 calculated numbers)

    this is a new 2009 Rav4 Base currently @ 600 miles on the odometer
  • You should be averaging more like 24 MPG combined. Why so low?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Puneecar, you may need to burn another 4 or 5 tanks to really get any sort of baseline.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Heavy traffic will burn lots of fuel.

    Best vehicles for city driving would be one of the hybrids.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    that they ore overlooked.
    Read many "Reviews", and many "Reports" on different forums. There are a few items that seem to repeat as complaints for the RAV4. Below are our evaluations after ownership since the last of July 09 and near 2000 miles of all types of driving condition except bumper to bumper heavy stop and go traffic.

    Our comparisons are based on the driving experiences between our 09 RAV4 with the 4 cylinder , vs the 03 CR-V we traded in and the 03 Pilot we still own. Both Honda's were bought new in '03. Both my wife and myself are 5'6" tall.

    Drivers seat:

    For our comfort, Both Hondas required the driver seat be jacked up to their highest position for the best comfort. Pilot has 8 way electric driver seat and the CR-V had the mechanically adjusted 3 way seats as does our RAV4 Sport. So, we set the RAV4 seat to its highest position and went from there. Neither of us could get really comfortable with the RAV4 seat and my back would begin to hurt after just a few minutes. I tried some seat "Cushions" from Auto zone that made little to no difference. Just couldn't seem to get the seat back angle correct to get the head rest away from out heads and still be sitting up straight enough for comfort. Plus the door's arm rest was too far down for the elbow to reach comfortably. Tried the full telescoping and tilt adjustments of the steering wheel and putting the seat closer and farther away with little favorable results. Came to the conclusion that the "Smallish" steering wheel was part of the problem. After weeks of us trying to get comfortable in the "driver seat from hell" and balancing things on the door's arm rest and the console, to give our backs some relief, I got real inventive. :shades:

    Lowered the seat so that the door's arm rest would support my elbow. Took 8 clicks down to accomplish that. Noticed also that the seat bottom cushion seemed to be tilting somewhat. Somehow the head rest is no longer an issue and the seat is comfortable for both of us.

    The below comparisons are based on the NEW RAV4 vs 7 year old Hondas with approximately 40K miles on them.


    The RAV4 seems smoother shifting and quicker accelerating than the the CR-V or the V6 Pilot. The RAV4 2.5 is a marvel of smoothness and strength.

    Road noise: Less Road noise than either Honda, both local and Hyway driving.

    Ride: RAV4 rides smoother and handles better than the CR-V, Handles better than the Pilot but doesn't ride as soft as the Pilot. I think the near 1000 pounds extra weight of the Pilot contributes to that.

    Seating: Pilot second row seats are more comfortable. RAV4 and CR-V pretty much on par for comfort but the "Sliding" 2nd row seat as well as fold flat feature earns points for the RAV4. I never did like the fold n' flip CR-V 2nd seat.

    Cargo Area. Load height is lower than the Pilot and about the same as the CR-V.

    Rear door/hatch: We both prefer the door.

    Spare tire: Neither of us like the "Look" of the spare on the back. Didn't like it on the CR-V either. However after removing the spare from the Pilot recently, the spare on the back would definitely be easier to deal with when dealing with a flat on the side of the road. If I had my "druthers", it would be the spare inside the car, under the floor, and a smooth DOOR on the back.

    In a nut shell, I would trade the Pilot for a RAV4, but don't need a second car note right now.

  • kkkk1kkkk1 Posts: 4
    edited June 2010
    I bought Limited V6 4WD 2010 RAV4 2 weeks back and filled gas first time today (First time I got it filled by the dealer) and the MPG is 23.9967........ (50% city and highway).

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Local and Hyway driving can vary so much according to traffic and terrain conditions. But if your driving conditions are anything like ours, I think your mileage is excellent, especially considering the V6 and 4 wheel drive.

    Our Rav4 is 2 wheel drive 4 cylinder. My wife's commute to work is about 12 miles and involves 12-15 traffic lights and some stop signs. Traffic is moderate as she goes and comes just after the rush hour is calming down. Not much stop and go. So we consider that to be more like local driving rather than "city" driving. "Town" is 2 miles from our house and major shopping is more like 4-5 miles. So "Hyway" is rarely in the mix. Her foot has gotten a bit heavier than when the Rav4 was new, but she still manages 23-24 mpg. This is about the same as when it was new, but with a heavier foot. :sick: The clock is showing about 6K now. I suspect that if she was careful about timing stop signs, traffic lights, and coasting to stops rather than accelerating to them, and so forth, she could get more in the 25-26 mpg range.

    When I drive the Rav4, it is usually on Sunday mornings and , OF COURSE, there is very little traffic then. Church is about 7 miles, 1 stop sign, 5 road changes, and 5 traffic lights from the house and I can average 25+/- mpg. Little use of AC at that time of day.

    The only time it has been back to the dealer was for the oil change at 5K and they "FIXED" the original gas pedal at that time. I don't care for the "FIX" as the pedal is really light now. TOO Light! They said we could bring it back for a new style pedal when they become available.

    Everything works perfectly and we are extremely pleased with the vehicle. Even the drivers seat is no longer an issue, although an electric seat would still be preferable for Tweaking that perfect fit.

    Sometime about last November I considered trading the Pilot for a V6 Rav4. I was really impressed with the performance of that engine/vehicle combo. That dude was both smooth and quick! Only problem is that it didn't offer a 7 pin trailer electrical hookup for towing a small camper with electric brakes.

    Hope you will enjoy your Rav4 as much as we have. :)

  • kkkk1kkkk1 Posts: 4
    My Commute to office is about 19 miles and there are around 18-25 traffic lights and stops. Out of 19 miles 6 miles is freeway and rest is city/Local. Weekend I have to go for grocery and that is completely city/local.

    I will post my MPG after the next fillup.

  • ces1938ces1938 Posts: 61
    I am so glad that your R4 is doing so well, but I HATE mine, rides rough, gas mileage sucks, cruse control sucks...I have owned 4 Toyota verticals and believe me the R4 is the last one that I will EVER OWN!!! ces... :cry: :lemon: :sick:
  • kkkk1kkkk1 Posts: 4
    This time I got 22.46.
  • barbara51barbara51 Posts: 4
    I traited in my 2004 Saturn Vue for the 2008 V6 Rav4. I don't know how to determine miles per gallon, but I can compare the performance of each vehicle. My Saturn had about 101,000 miles and every time I've driven about about 333 miles, it was time to fill the tank. The Rav4, has 44,000 miles, and I'm having to fill the tank after driving only 272 miles.
    There has been no change in driving pattern, that is, I drive a combo of suburban, city, and highway.
    How do I determine how many miles per gallon my Rav4 is using? Also, I hate the driver seat, very uncomfortable, back hurts after driving a little while. I did not notice this when I test drove it.
    Any feedback appreciated. :mad:
  • ces1938ces1938 Posts: 61
    you sound like you are having some of the problems with your Rav 4 than I am having on my find your gas mileage you just fill it up and drive it than fill it again and take the miles driven such as 100 miles drove, divided by 4 gal. of gas used would give you 25 miles per gallon, that is just wishful thanking of course, ha, advice just get rid of the damn thing and buy something else like a Honda or something....good luck...ces :sick: :blush:
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Was the Vue a V6 also?

    Did the Vue and the RAV4 have the same size tanks?

    Example: Lets say the VUE had a 20 gallon tank and when it got to about 333 miles the gas needle was sitting at a given spot. So you fill it up and it takes 14.4 gallons. You got about 23 MPG.

    Lets say the RAV4 has a smaller tank. And at about the same spot on the gauge, you have driven 272 miles. This time it takes 11.8 gallons. You still got 23 mpg..

    I'm not saying the two cars get the same mileage. But to compare you meed to divide gallons into miles driven. Because you may not own the VUE any longer, a comparison may be hard to do accurately.

    1. Always fill at the same pump with the car in the exact same spot as best you can.
    2. Set the pump nozzle at the slowest setting.
    3. When the pump clicks off, >stop pumping and remove the nozzle from the car. Don't force feed any extra gas.
    4. Divide the gallons pumped into the miles driven since the last fill up. The resulting number is the mpg for that last tank.
    5. Reset the "Trip" gauge on the dash to "0" and don't mess with it until time to fill up again. Ours has a trip "A" and a Trip "B". I reset trip "A" for calculating fuel mileage and use "B" for short trips and such.

    Our RAV4 seat drove us crazy at first. It is the mechanical one with the "Jack" lever on the left side. We are both 5'6" tall and had the seat jacked up to it's highest position as we have done with all our cars. Problem was that with everything in the right position, the head rest was right up against our heads. Didn't like that so the seat back got moved back one click. Just a few minutes of driving would cause an aching sensation between the shoulder blades.

    I tried store bought cushions and some pillows from home, that didn't work. The "Fix" turned out to be lowering the seat bottom 8 clicks from it's highest position. Apparently the seat bottom tilts some in it's travel as well as moving up and down. Now with the seat back in the correct positions our heads are an inch or so away from the head rest. The lower seat height allows our elbows to rest comfortably on the door arm rest and console.

    I prefer electric seats for that "perfect" fit, but our Rav4 doesn't have them. Luckily the mechanical seat adjusted to a good place for us. :)

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited July 2010
    >"my advice just get rid of the damn thing and buy something else like a Honda or something....good luck...ces "

    We traded our bought new '03 CR-V for our bought new 09 RAV4.

    They both have 4 speed automatic trannys. The RAV4 four cylinder is quicker accelerating and we both get 2+ mpg better mileage with the RAV4 in all types of driving. RAV4 is quieter inside, corners better, rides better, and is more comfortable on long trips, since we found the magic spot for the driver seat. The only time the RAV4 has been back to the dealer was for an oil change, and the gas pedal was "corrected" during that oil change visit.

    A word about the unintended acceleration thing. On Fox news last night they said that after investigating about 2000 claims, neither Toyota or the government agency could identify any solid reason for the claims. AND they both believe the claims are without merit. Seems that some of the cars have a "Black Box" that keeps track of driving habits. On several of the reported crashes they found that the last thing before the crash, was the throttle had been pressed instead of the brake. A few weeks ago they reported, and the government agreed, that the infamous run away Prius, that was on the news for so long, turned out to be driver fraud. Prosecution is being considered.

    During the 7 years we owned the CR-V the entire AC system was replaced at about 40K miles due to a self destructed compressor. Seems this was a problem with a couple of year models of Accords also. Also a couple of sensors were replaced and some other annoying things. When we traded it at about 50K miles it had been at the dealers for a week while they ended up replacing the computer, a couple of other electrical components, and some sensors. And they were still looking when we traded it.
    Yes the Toyota dealer traded for it even though it was still in the shop with the electrical problem.

    For some reason my wife wanted another CR-V but driving one was just not as satisfying as driving the RAV4. I agreed!

    Our '03 Pilot was full of snakes from day one. During the 7 years and 40K miles of ownership it received a number of recall "Fixes". There were also problems hard to find, that required over night stays at the dealer. The extended warranty was about to run out and there was a strange noise coming from the rear that they just couldn't find. Seemed like a good time to get rid of it!

    True the 03 Pilot was a new model for Honda, but the Acura MDX had been around for at least a year, and the Pilot is just a MDX in different skin for all practical purposes, and it is a HONDA. Should not be any problems, and certainly not as many as I had.

    I was wanting a light duty pickup and drove several makes and models. The Honda Ridgeline was the most comfortable and met my needs the best. Traded the Pilot for a new 09 RL.
    A few days after taking delivery the back door window on the driver's side refused to go back up. The glass had slipped out of it's tracks. I thoroughly enjoy driving the truck and hope it is not as problematic as the two '03 Honda's we had.

    FWIW I'm an old guy and drive very conservatively about 6K miles a year. Most of my driving is on country back roads or our small town local driving. I traded a 98 Dodge Ram for the Pilot and only had 1 Problem with it in the 5 years of ownership. Oh... There was another problem that the dealer fixed by replacing the Goodyear tires with Michelins. Not really a problem with the truck itself.

    The most trouble free car we ever owned was a '95 Nissan Maxima. Traded it for the 03 CR-V because my wife's knees went bad and it was hard for her to get in and out of. And she wanted a SUV for her garage sale "habit".

    Don't know if you actually own a Toyota. But if you really "THINK" that Honda are free of problems, you might need to spend some time on the Honda forums. ;)

  • barbara51barbara51 Posts: 4
    You have been extremely helpful. Yes, the Saturn was a v6 as well. However, I didn't consider gas tanks being different sizes. I believe the Saturn had a bigger tank because it took more gas and $ to fill up come to think of it. I guess the car size has nothing to do with gas tank size because my Rav4 is bigger than my Saturn.

    I will do the method you suggested about how to get the gas mileage, that is going to be very helpful. I will try the seat adjustment trick too.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    I don't know that the tanks are different sizes, just suggesting that a size difference could affect perceived mileage.

    I hope the seat adjustment will make a difference for you, as it did for us. Seems to be very critical as 7 clicks down wasn't nearly enough and 9 clicks down was way too much. Your perfect spot may be different.

    Just try to adjust so with the seat back in a comfortable spot, the seat bottom is adjusted so your head is just barely off the head rest and your arms "naturally" rest on the door and the console.

    Please let us know how this works for you and your gas mileage results.

  • kkkk1kkkk1 Posts: 4
    So far my MPGs are

    1. 23.99 (mostly city)
    2. 22.46 (mostly city - may be I got too many red signals)
    3. 25.28 (Half city + Half Hwy + Hills)
    4. 27.32 (85% hwy + 15% Hills)

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    What speed were you traveling on #4 ?

    What engine and drive train do you have?

  • I recently traded a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe gas guzzler for a new 2010 RAV 4 FWD 4 cyl. base model, fully expecting to see a vast improvement from my 18 mpg achieved on the old Santa Fe (1st model year of a car not known for good gas mileage). Afraid I didn't trade up very well. After 1100 miles on the odometer, consisting of mixed street and highway, I just found myself getting an average of 20 MPG. The prior tank at least gave me 22 MPG and when I first drove the car out of the showroom in June, I believe the figure was more like 23 or 24. What kind of malfunction could cause such a rapid deterioration in gas mileage, from 23 or 24 MPG down to 20 MPG in such a new vehicle? No change to driving habits or roads: same course to/from work about 125 miles per week, and the usual local shopping mileage (around 25) on the weekend. Already I'm beginning to question whether I should have gone with the Subaru Forester, my other choice. Too late now.
  • ces1938ces1938 Posts: 61
    Well my friend, you have just experienced what I did five years ago... with the same type of car, I sold my 2002 Honda mini van and bought the RAV 4 to get better MPG, instead it got worse.... pretty disgusting, but lesson learned, I have owned 4 Toyota's since 2007, believe me this piece of crap will be my last one...ces1938 :sick: :mad:
  • After reading all reviews, etc. regarding mileage and seat discomfort with the Rav4, there are some issues that Toyota will need to resolve if they want to stay in business. First, they (Toyota) had the recall issues on numerous vehicles, and now I believe there will be lawsuits from customers with back problems due to the discomfort from the driver seat of the Rav4. No matter how much I adjust the seat, after driving for 15+ minutes, my back hurts. The arm rest on the door, and in the middle do not align properly with the body.

    I'm more upset that I have to make car payments on it, for the next 3 years. I doubt if I'll be able to trade it in for a good price, since there have been so many complaints.

    Any suggestions on how to get rid of the car quickly and painlessly, expense wise?.
  • a_ba_b Posts: 4
    With 35,000 miles, my 2009 base 4wd 4 cyl is averaging 25.1 mpg combined. I drive 75% highway, 5% city and 20% suburban. I drive 75-80 mph on the highway and pretty much have a lead foot.
  • verdi942verdi942 Posts: 304
    You're already into the "it's a used car so it's worth less than new" area; but new RAV4's are selling well, so you might do best with a private sale. JMHO.
  • verdi942verdi942 Posts: 304
    Those are good numbers for a "lead foot". At least 2 mpg better than my 2007 with a light foot. They're a testimony to the efficiency of the revised I4 engine.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576

    Used RAV4s sell fairly quick. They also bring good trade-in value. You can go to Edmunds, or Kelly, and NADA for value of your used RAV4. You need to know that before attempting to trade or sale.


    I don't know which year model you got, but our 09 has a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes. Yours may have it also. That does a lot for "Fine Tuning" the driving position.

  • ang33iefang33ief Posts: 57
    Just drove from Fla to Mn with vehicle loaded, round trip 3200 miles, I got 28 mpg with ac on and driving 70-73mph. One tank was without the air con. on, I had a little over 30 mpg. Vehicle was a Rav-4 with 6cyl, limited. year 2008. Total mileage on vehicle now is 22,200. My only complaint is the wyning noise between 25-45 mph. Toyota dealer says all 08 6 cyls have it?? Harry
  • yumvyumv Posts: 3
    edited March 2011
    Just bought Toyota Rav4 2004, 2WD 2.5L. I drive 90% on heighway with no traffic jam (65-75 mph, 35 miles each day), and around 10% city. It's my first 500 miles on the car. Avarage consumption is 21mpg. What might cause this huge consumption?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    2.4L or 3.5?

    Either way, the highway mpg should be better. Maybe if you put it on cruise control at 65, maybe that'd help.

    Otherwise, check the easy stuff first, like your tire pressures.
    We Test the Tips
  • yumvyumv Posts: 3
    edited March 2011
    2.5L 4cyl ( I tried to drive both with cruise control and without it, no difference. Engine revolutions are usually between 2000 and 3000, I try to keep it close to 2000.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited March 2011
    That's funny, we call it a 2.4l. I didn't think the 2.5l came out until 2009.

    Anyway, you should be closer to 27 on the highway per the EPA rating. Not sure what's going on though. The other easy thing to check is the air filter.

    Any owners have any feedback?
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