2017 Toyota RAV4: A sash queen that delivers on all pre-competition promises (especially safety)

If you are a compact SUV or a crossover SUV, or any type of CSUV (Mariska Hargitay must be in there somewhere), you have a lot of competition on your hands.  There is no way to knock off the competition in this highly-contested contest, and as result, the judges (those car geeks in the automotive world who occasionally come up for air from their parents’ basement) have all kinds of good and bad things to say about everyone in the contest, even the truly beautiful contestants.

But for the money, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 is the CSUV (Chicago Special Unit Vegans?) that is a great all-around Smallish SUV (an SSUV, or Vegans from Scranton) that comes with a lot of base safety features and is still a reliable car for people who really do need a workhorse and not a show pony.

The base LE trim starts at just under $25K, but you get the Toyota Safety Sense package as standard. This package (again, which is standard) includes pre-collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.  These are some life-saving features that truly give you peace of mind that is hard to get otherwise.  In fact, that peace of mind that Toyota offers as standard earned it the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest score of Good.  If your mantra really is Safety First, the 2017 RAV4 is a great place to start.

One word that might fully describe the 2017 RAV4 is utilitarian. This is a practical car for people who thought they had practical lives until reality and monthly bills started to take over like The Blob. If you are single and don’t do a whole lot of wilderness driving or dog or babysitting, this probably isn’t your car.

The people who I’ve know who have RAV4s have busy, full lives with family, pets, supplies and other ‘stuff’ that needs to be transported on a daily basis. This was their ideal car, because it was always there, ready to go, no matter how much you may have abused it, inside and out.  This car isn’t for Miss Nancy or Aunt Fancy. This car is for you, new parents and newlyweds who gave up glitter and sashes to be, well, normal.  Yep, the RAV4 is a normal car, and it operates well within whatever norms are out there.

I tested the Platinum All-Wheel Drive trim, which is their top-tier entry. Items like power moonroof, dual zone climate control, navigation and other cool and maybe not-necessary accessories come with this $34,750 Baby Boss. There are five different trims with different items as you go up the food chain, so look carefully when you shop, because no matter where you land, you will still pay extra for things like cool colors and remote start.

The RAV4, a name that really does stand by itself in the automotive world, has been on dealer lots in the U.S. for over 20 years, and it has never disappointed.  There is more space inside now than there used to be, but for busy families and active go-getters, this vehicle has always performed.  Still, you owe it to yourself to check out all the other CSUVs in this year’s pageant, including the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-3, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue.

As I contemplate the next four years of our nation’s future…. Nope, can’t do it.  Go drive the RAV4 and enjoy yourself.  Keep reading Gaywheels.com for more good stuff.

But also go to websites like advocate.com to learn what you really need to know about the non-automotive world.