The Toyota RAV4 has always been spacious, but the vehicle has grown in many ways now that the new 2017 model has made its debut. With expanded trim levels, every safety feature you could ever want and gas-electric hybrids models up for grabs, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 may find its name at the top of the list for best SUVs in 2017.

For me, driving the RAV4 marks my first time getting behind the wheel of an SUV. I’ve always been a small car person and I’ve never had near the safety options offered in the RAV4. My time driving the SUV was done in a 2017 Toyota Rav4 XLE AWD, which gave me access to tons of new features.

2017 Toyota Rav4

Performance

You’ll get a four-cylinder 2.5 liter engine regardless of trim level. In order to give the RAV4 the most efficient fuel economy possible, Toyota eliminated the V6 option. But, you can definitely still choose an all-wheel drive model to make sure your SUV can take you from point A to point B no matter the road conditions.

2017 Toyota Rav4

Safety

It may be tempting to buy a used 2016 or 2015 RAV4 to save a few dollars, but the 2017 is worth paying new car prices just for the safety features alone. With its Toyota Safety Sense, or TSS-P, coming standard on all trim levels you can have one of the safest vehicles on the road for under $25k.

What safety features are included in TSS-P? Everything and the kitchen sink. Toyota lists pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights and lane-departure warning that can steer the vehicle back if you wander from your lane. Plus, TSS-P comes with radar-based adaptive cruise control as well. This uses grill-mounted radar and an in-car camera to monitor the vehicle in front of you and change speed if necessary.  Not to mention a back up camera with alert to help avoid backing into something, knee, overhead and side and front-impact airbags and a front-end sensor for when you get too close.

2017 Toyota Rav4

Technology

I mentioned all the added safety technology in the 2017 Toyota Rav4, but that’s only the beginning. Now you can be a professional parallel parker and squeeze into tight spaces with the backup camera that doesn’t just show you what’s going on behind you, but provides guidelines to show you exactly where you’re going to end up if you keep backing up at any angle. This is a feature someone like me desperately needs because parking is not my strong suit.

Utilize the improved infotainment system to access Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The newest and best way to access the apps on your phone, i.e. – send texts, make calls and play music without ever touching your phone.

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