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Toyota RAV4 4 Cylinder or V6

I'm leaning towards purchasing a Rav4 in the near future and while i know a lot of it is personal preference, i want to see what people think of the 4 cylinder engine vs. the V6 engine. I know you get more juice from the larger engine, but is it worth the extra money? i'm especially interested in hearing from people who got one size engine and wish they got the other one. Is the gas mileage really similar between the two? Thanks!


  • asturgasturg Posts: 1
    I have the 4 cylinder Rav and my wife just got the 6 in February. The 6 is great. She gets 29 mpg city/highway. More city driving. The power is out of this world! Go with the 6 won't be disappointed.
  • Hello blacksqrrl. I spent the better part of yesterday test driving the CR-V, RAV4 4-cyl and RAV4 V6. I drove the Rav I-4 first: nice, but on the highway I noticed more engine noise a a distinct drone noise behind the seat or in the rear. Higher RPM also than the V6. The V6 with 5 speed was SWEET! Quiet, rode nicer, EVERYTHING! The CR-V was last. I like the positive feel of the steering and the 5-speed trans. Shift points were very good. I
    CONCLUSION: If I was going to buy a 4-cyl, it would be a CR-V. If it didn't matter and I had to choose between the three, it would be the RAV4 V6 hands down!
  • I'm sure you will see varying opinions based on what folks want from a car. Personally I was interested in the best gas mileage I could get but still have decent performance. I test drove drove them both and could hardly tell the difference, so then I loaded my wife and 2 other adults and drove them both and could hardly tell the difference. Interesting to note that the 4 cyl. of today have so much more horsepower than years ago, I had a Buick with 4 cyl years ago and I think it was under 100 hp, the Rav4 is like 166 hp, I also have a 2003 V6 Saturn Vue and its only 181 hp so only 15 hp less.

    So long story maybe not so short after considerable research and test drives I went with the 4 cyl and am glad I did. I just got back from vacation with 4 adults and luggage and it performed beautifully. I got over 28 mpg and that was fully loaded, air running etc. I'm sure I could have hit 30 mpg or more if it wouldnt have been so loaded and not had the air running.

    With the price of gas I wanted the best mileage I could get with good performance and gas isnt going down in price so its only going to get more expensive in years to come
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Just get the 6.
  • thanks for all your input... i'm now also considering the mitsubishi outlander along with the rav4 so its just one more wrench to throw into the whole thing. I'm leaning towards a 6 cylinder rav4 if thats the car i end up getting, but i don't really know if its worth the extra 2 grand or so just to have some more juice on the highway... mitsubishi at least has a v6 for much cheaper as well.... anyone have any experience with the outlander?
  • cbmortoncbmorton Posts: 252
    Have you driven any of these vehicles yet? Most people who can't decide between the 4 and the V6 RAV4 before going into the showroom have a pretty clear idea of which one suits them better after a couple of test drives. The four-cylinder is slightly better on gas and has perfectly adequate power for daily driving. The V6 gives you a lot more power (it is quite noticeable) with only a small fuel economy penalty, but costs more up front as well.

    I bought the V6 because I've had lots of vehicles that were adequately powered and I thought that having one with much more than adequate power would be fun, and it is. I can still get 28-30 mpg on the highway, but around town it's thirstier than the four-cylinder.

    Bottom line - drive them both, it should clarify things for what you personally want. Ditto for the RAV4 vs. its competition.
  • jbm2jbm2 Posts: 3
    Hi. I had decided on a Rav, but was also torn between 4 and 6 cyl. Fortunately, I had a business trip to CO and was able to get a 4 cyl Rav Hertz rental vehicle for a week. It provided a great test opportunity and you might want to consider a rental for a more indepth analysis. End result - 4 cyl was fine for level to slightly rolling terrain, but underpowered for inclines. So, I bought a 6.
  • Is your V6 Rav 4WD or 2WD?
  • cbmortoncbmorton Posts: 252
    I have the 4WD.
  • melgmelg Posts: 1
    We got our base 4wd 6 cyl in Jan 07 replacing a '93 Camry 6 cyl having had an '87, '89 and '99 4 cyl Camrys before that keeping accurate gas mileage and repair records. The 6 cyl has it all over the 4 cyl and the rav 4 is no exception. The REAL (not EPA) overall gas mileage is 21 mpg and that's with my wife's "lead foot". We didn't get much better in our prior sedan 6 cyl...21-25 mpg, and the rav 4 is a much heavier car. Yes, the rav 4 6 cyl is a little more noisy and costs a few buck more but you save it in lack of repair and reserve power when needed to prevent accidents. However, our friends bought the 4 cyl at the same time and are quite happy with it but THEIR PREVIOUS RAV4 4CYL HAD A LOT OF ENGINE REPAIRS which killed their savings of a few more miles per gallon. The 07 4 cyl gets 22-23 mpg overall per Consumer Reports test runs. So it depends what you expect out of a vehicle.
  • Is 4WD available on 4 and 6 cyl. models?

    On the MPG there seems to be some difference of opinion.
    The 6 has 100 more hp than the 4. Usually the MPG between
    a 4 and a 6 is close on a heavy vehicle when the 6 has
    50 more hp, not 100 more. One poster says his wife averages
    29 MPG with the 6. If that is true I'll buy one tomorrow.
    I'd like to get some numbers from different drivers of the
    Many Thanks
  • dtowndtown Posts: 20
    I have a 2007 2WD 6 cyl, and I average 24 mpg. I have gotten as high as 28 on the highway, and as low as 19 in town. If you check with the website, you will see the results from all of the partisipants that register their fuel purchases their.
  • Hi, I'm about to lease a RAV4 (in CO) and am torn between the 4 cyl vs the 6. where in CO were you driving? I'm leaning toward the 4 because of price/mileage but any input would be appreciated.

  • sdc2sdc2 Posts: 780
    There is very little mpg difference between them. For example, 08 AWD 4cyl is rated 20 city, 25 highway. 08 AWD 6cyl is rated 19 city, 26 highway.

    I have had my 08 AWD V6 for 5K miles so far, and I am getting 22-24 mpg around town (suburban driving) and 27-28 mpg highway. The 4 cyl can't do much better than that.

    So really it comes down to purchase price, and perhaps if the extra towing capability is important to you (not to mention the "fun" factor of all that extra power).
  • tnboytnboy Posts: 11
    For '09 2 wheel drive only, with only two people 99% of the time, how adequate is the 4-cylinder? Pretty peppy or a dog? How about interior noise differences at 75 mph? How about long-term maintenance differences? Any other helpful comments on 4 vs 6 also welcome. Thanks.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I can't speak to the RAV4 but the answer depends on where you will do most of your driving. I have found that four cylinders are generally inadequate for driving in the mountains (where I live) but suffice on flat terrain.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kkrtrekkkrtrek Posts: 51
    I guess you'll get different opinions on this one, tnboy. I have a 2009 4WD RAV and find the four-cylinder just fine. As a matter of fact, I love it. I love the 10% better (city) mileage, and it has about 8% more horsepower than last year's 2.4L. I am very impressed with the powertrain so far and have been averaging 22-23 MPG in nonhighway driving. That is based on the computer-calculated MPG, not checked by me using actual gas pump data. Also, it is early in break-in, so it will surely improve.

    My highway mileage was about 28.5, 50% mountain driving. If you will be driving predominantly on freeways at 75, I would lean toward the 6-, but absent that, I find the 4- more than adequate. I am not a real "petal-to-the-metal" kind of guy. I mean, how many times do you put your foot to the floor? For me, almost never. I have a 6-cylinder Acura (TL) that is a bit of a beast., Do I need that power? Absolutely not, and I rarely use it. The 2.5L RAV engine is peppy and responsive. At the very minimum, I would suggest you give it serious consideration.
  • I concur with those who say the four is perfectly adequate. I have an '06 and it works just fine in New England. Re: Long term maintenance, the four has chain driven camshafts, therefore no timing belt replacement issues. I don't know about the V-6. Also, tranverse mounted V-6 engines are a pain as far as accessing the rear spark plugs. Also, they have twice as many of lots of things - cylinder heads, camshafts, exhaust manifolds, more complex exhaust sysstem.
  • normkolnormkol Posts: 135
    I own an '08 V-6, but just last week spent a week with a rented 4 cyl, driving from LA to San Francisco.

    The 4 was great. Only occasionally did I miss the power of the V-6. If I was buying again, I would save my money and get the 4.
  • tireguytireguy Posts: 200
    My wife and I bought an 08 V6 RAV4 4x4 Limited last summer for her to haul the kids around town. It will never travel more than 100 miles from home (that's what the Yukon XL's for), but I just didn't see the point of the 4-cylinder. The mileage is basically the same. The V6 transforms this modest cute-ute into a sleeper. That thing accelerates faster than a 2000 Mustang GT. Plus with the V6 you can get the tow package and drag around up to 3500 lbs. Overall, I am extremely impressed with this vehicle. What it does (provide a lot of capability in a miniature package) it does better than any other make. I was perusing the Mercedes GLK specs after seeing a commercial, today. For $10G less, the RAV4 beats it in almost every category. Same engine, same horsepower, basically same acceleration, way better mileage, two more seats. Using MB's comparison tool, you can't even select a Toyota to compare. I guess they know. Okay, so they get points for the wood dash. Sorry, off subject. In a nutshell, getting the V6 just takes this vehicle to another level. The 2.5L is more than adequate, but it's nothing to write home about. I was recently towing a trailer with my 1,000 lb John Deere garden tractor with tiller attached. I pulled out into traffic and I saw the cars a mile out move to the left lane to pass the knucklehead towing a tractor with a micro-utility vehicle. In a matter of seconds I was up to speed and beyond. They reclaimed their spots in the right lane behind me.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Aside from the nice extra power of the V-6, here are some disadvantages:
    -initial cost is higher
    -city gas mileage is lower
    -for DIYs the V-6 is much harder to service, try changing the rear sparkplugs
    -heavier weight of 6 cyl means longer stopping distance on slippery surfaces
  • True, the initial cost of the V6 is about $2000 higher. But you get a RAV that is a lot more fun to drive!

    City gas mileage is a bit lower. If you do the math, the average driver will spend an extra $150-200 a year. Goes toward the fun factor.

    The iridium tipped spark plugs don't need to be changed until 100,000 miles!

    Yes, it may be a bit heavier, but the RAV brakes are very good--stopping is not an issue. The V-6 is the main reason I picked the RAV over the CR-V. After a couple of test drives, it was an easy decision.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    More the fun factor for you, ok. Should point out that sometimes the plugs will not come out at 100k miles for any engine, some mechanics recommend loosening the sparkplugs at 30-40k miles and re tight them.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I worried a bit about that issue with my minivan. I told the shop to loosen the plugs at 30k, but I have no way of knowing if they did or not. At 125k, I had the plugs replaced and asked the tech if they had any trouble with them being seized or anything. The tech said they always wait until the engine is dead cold (overnight in my case) before trying to pull plugs and that they had no problem with mine.

    Could be an urban legend about the cold engine. I recall hearing Click and Clack warning about the possibility of high mileage plugs seizing so some proactive loosening may be in order.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I just changed the plugs ($80, first time) in our '95 LS400 at 225,000 miles. Except for a seriously longer spark gap the plugs looked fine. With the new solid state electronic spark genration the spark plug gap is no longer such a big issue.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I did the wires and distributor at the same time. My mpg didn't budge a bit, which makes me think I should have just waited until something broke.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, I think the emissions monitoring aspects of the OBDII systems will give us lots of forewarning of marginal perfromance.
  • Here's some "real world" mileage figures:

    Brand new 2009 V6....took it on a trip to New Mexico and Arizona starting in Minnesota. 4,498 miles....22.6 miles per gallon.
    70-80 miles per hour on freeways plus city driving, lots of baggage.
    There ya go.
  • ohiobobohiobob Posts: 4
    tnboy, I agree with the post that indicated where you drive it and who is in it should be the major factors on your engine choice. I live in OH and it is flat and most of the time it will be me and maybe my wife on the weekends and the new 2.5 4cyl. is adequate. If you have hills to climb and will have the backseat occupied you may want to go to the six. If you can afford it and like to go fast the 6 will make you happy. Go with the AWD if you buy the six to reduce the torque steer. The six will be less noisy under hard acceleration as well. I'm sure the 4 cylinder will be easier on your wallet over time both at the gas station and with the maintenance.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    We recently purchased a new 09 Rav4 for my wife.

    She wanted a mid size SUV to replace her 03 CR-V. Did a lot of looking, driving, and comparing before the purchase.

    Comparing smoothness of drive train, handling, ride, dollar value, resale value, and visibility out the back, she decided on the Rav4. I wanted the 6 because the CR-V's 4 cylinder was always a bit rough compared to my Pilot's V6. Especially when idling with the AC on. I also wanted the 6 because its tranny is 5 or 6 speeds and the 4 cylinder is only 4 speeds like the CR-V was.

    She liked a particular Rav4 Sport because of the interior and exterior colors, ride, handling, and other items. I checked out the window sticker first thing and said "NO, this is a 4 cylinder". But to satisfy her, I drove it. We bought it.

    The 4 cylinder engine is peppy and smooth. As it turns out the real world fuel mileage is way better than I expected it would be. She is getting 4-5 mpg better in her commute to work than she got with her CR-V. The tranny shifts like a dream and seems to always be in the perfect gear for conditions. It seems to accelerate to highway speeds just as quick as my V6 Pilot and gets a lot better MPG in the process. She hasn't said, "I told you so", but I couldn't blame her if she did. We have 3 cars and the Rav4 is always the first choice if it is available.

    For towing or carrying heavy loads the V6 would be a better choice. But so would a bigger heavier vehicle. However the purchase price, which I was willing to pay, the better mileage and most likely the better trade in down the road dictate the 4 to be a better choice for us.

    Keep in mind this new 2.5 liter simply feels smoother and a lot more capable than the 2.4 did. The 6 cost more going in and will likely bring less trade-in down the road due to gas prices. THE V6 RAV4 IS EXTREMELY QUICK and fun to drive, and it's mileage on the road very close to the 4. However, around town the 4 is a better choice. So I recon we all have to decide how a car is to be driven and go from there.

    Different strokes for different folks. :)

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