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Old April 18th, 2008, 10:00 PM   #1
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Talking New Ride - 2007 Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 4WD (56k no way)

Actually picked this up last September new during the 2007 closeout sales and dunno why I never posted it. Was incredibly busy at the time, and didn't think anybody would care I guess. It's not an STI, EVO, G35, G37, twin-turbo Bimmer, any sort of luxury or sporty car, or anything that 99% of y'all would be even the least bit interested in. Would have been happy to keep on driving the Maxima for awhile longer, but with a new baby, the lousy winter traction of that thing, and the fact that it always acted up in the winter and was just getting to the point of needing more TLC with 160k miles on it than I had the time or patience to give it, I decided to finally let it go. You can see the final shoot photos of my Maxima here.

Anyhow I love this thing.





It goes like hell for an SUV. I think it's quicker than my Maxima was up to maybe 70-80 mph where the drag really starts to kill it. These things do high-14's at the track and low-6 0-60's! Beware non-manual Honduhs, and heck even non-suspecting manual Honduhs too, hehe. It also handles great, even compared to some sedans out there. The sport suspension is stiffer but not harsh, and the sport tires are a bit wider. You can't just whip it around turns like you could with my Maxima but it's pretty darned good. The car itself has far more turning and gripping ability than the seats have support (which are actually quite poor) so you have to hang on whenever you're gonna turn hard. The 4WD is great. It's a part-time system so it only engages when you need it to and otherwise stays out of the way to keep fuel efficiency high. It has a 4WD Lock mode that the CR-V doesn't have, so if you're driving on snowy back roads or a mild to moderate off-road trail you can just keep it locked rather than having to wait for wheels to slip and losing traction before it'll send power back. Very very useful and makes a big difference in confidence and stability. The thing I like best about it though is that I don't have to ***** foot it off the line when it's rainy. 1st gear in the rain was always useless in my Maxima, and 2nd gear was borderline useless too. Too much power going through too wide of tires with too little weight holding them down always made that car a chore to drive "responsibly" in the wet. Not this one though. Just gun it and go! Cargo space and versatility and flexibility is outstanding. The rear seats fold flat. I got a fully assembled dresser in the back after I first got it without much of a problem. Picked it up on a huge sale at the Pottery Barn Kids Outlet and had no idea it was already fully assembled, lol. The rear seats also go forward and back. Fully back for maximum passenger space it's like a limo back there, far far roomier than any mid-sized sedan which I love since I'm 6'3". The transmission is great. For automatic Accord owners, I used the "4" notch on the nice gated shifter ALL THE TIME and without it I would literally be driven crazy. If you leave it in "D" sometimes it just can't figure out what it's supposed to be doing in the 40-50 mph range which are the speeds I'm driving at almost all the time on local roads. Just slap the thing over to "4" and it's soooo much smoother with less clunking around. It's also nice if you just want to get a little engine braking to save some wear and tear on the brakes. The D/D3 crap on the Accord would drive me nuts which is a major reason I didn't buy a closeout 7th gen for which there were crazy good deals.

No leather, but I don't miss it and honestly prefer the cloth. It doesn't get freezing cold in the winter, nor burning hot in the summer. I also don't miss and in fact greatly prefer MANUAL climate control. I've yet to experience an auto climate control system that I didn't have to end up adjusting manually anyways. I end up twiddling with this manual HVAC system less than I would an auto system believe it or not. No Homelink garage door opener that I thought I'd miss too, but nope. There's a little slot that's perfect for a cell phone or a garage door opener and the normal door opener actually has more range than the Homelink does. I can be a few houses away and open it whereas I practically had to be already in the driveway for the Homelink to be in range. Seems kinds backwards, but that's been my experience.

Gripes: Most people complain about "lag" in their automatic transmissions and not shifting quickly enough. If anything, the transmission in this car is "too" responsive and is set to downshift almost on a hair trigger. It's sort like a BMW Steptronic only stuck on the much sportier "DS" mode all the time. Is there a way to turn this thing "off"? Not really. The electronic throttle control mapping is also pretty stupid. It's almost like 0-50% throttle is all covered in the first 10% of the pedal travel, which takes A LOT of getting used to. You have to practice to take off smoothly. When I'm in a rush this is awesome, but sometimes I just want to take it easy in which case it's annoying. Too bad they only give you shift map options (Sport or Normal) on the fancier luxury cars these days. Other big gripe is that especially the Sport seats really should be more supportive. My Maxima seats were much better, and BMW seats are in a different league entirely. You don't sit "in" the seats as much as you kinda sit on top of them. Other people's gripes: The interior really does have a "budget" feel but I honestly don't care. A lot of people that compare the RAV4 and the CR-V buy the CR-V because they hate the rear mounted spare on the RAV. I don't mind that either, and it frees up space under the cargo area and gives you an extra "sub-trunk" which I find extremely handy. It has a nice solid paint matched cover and is actually sculpted into the back of the car is RAV4's have been, unlike the CR-Vs which were sorta "slapped" on and looked pretty bad from what I've seen. A pretty big gripe is the torque steer. Off the line it kicks the 4WD in so it's not an issue. But if you punch it and get a 2nd gear kickdown on a local road, or even in 3rd gear gunning it on the highway, holy smokes hold on! For efficiency, it doesn't send power to the back wheels, and the torque steer is bad and the car gets all squirrely. Feels like an 18-wheeler is blowing past you and you're getting buffeted. You really do need to have a firm grip on the wheel and to be paying attention. If you're going to let 270hp loose you should be paying attention anyways though.

Design flaw: Yes, a TOYOTA with a design flaw! In snowy conditions the rear wiper will just end up piling snow on top of the spare tire. AND... if the wiper can't make a full stroke it does NOT return and just gets "stuck". Eventually it can no longer make a full stroke due to the piling snow and will in fact get stuck, LOL. This happened once or twice for me over the winter, but didn't really bug me, just pretty stupid is all. Some other owners who have more snow to deal with would actually take the spare off and either leave it at home and bring a can of fix a flat with them, or throw the spare in the trunk area just to avoid that. The defrost system can't keep up so that doesn't help either. Pretty funny!

Problems to date: I've got about 7500 miles on it. I've currently got an odd "clunk" sound once in awhile when I either get in or get out of the car that I'm not quite sure is normal. I'm a big dude (6'3", 250lbs) but I've never had a car clunk getting in or out before. Sounds like something might be loose somewhere. I also just managed to pickup a pretty annoying twangy rattle from the dash area somewhere, but as long as I have some music going I don't notice or care. I get free loaner cars at my dealership, so I'll just have them look at this stuff when I go in for the next oil change in a month or two and sign out a loaner.


Here's a bunch more pics:
























































Anyways the Maxima has long since been bye bye. I got a trade-in offer of $2000 for it from my Toyota dealership and laughed and said forget it. Took it to the local CarMax to see if they'd do any better and got the same $2000 offer in "B" condition and laughed at that too. I've seen them going for $4000 at least on Craigslist and at dealerships, so there was no way I was accepting a paltry $2k. Put it up on Craigslist for $3500 FIRM which was a pretty fair price considering it needed new tires and some suspension work, and had people literally tripping over themselves to come buy the car! I seriously had no idea there would be so much interest in an old crusty Maxima with 160k miles on it. Must have been the 5SPD and enthusiast factor. Two people said they were willing to buy it sight unseen just based on the photos (GO NIKON D40 and KIT LENS, LMAO! ) but the first person to show up cash in hand would get the car. Put it up on Craigslist on a Saturday and the thing was gone by Thursday. Geez, I shoulda asked more for it.
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2018 GMC Yukon XL Denali (soon) | 2011 BMW 335i convertible (current) | 2007 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport 4WD (sold to folks) | 1999 Nissan Maxima SE 5MT (sold) | 2001 Accord EX V6 (RIP 2002)



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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #2
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nice ride steve, any issues with the unintended acceleration that's been plaguing the toyotas now ?

I always liked the Rav4's though
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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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Congrats on your new ride man good luck
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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #4
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April 18th, 2008, 09:00 PM
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Old April 26th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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"Moving Forward".... even when you don't want to
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Old August 13th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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It's a nice ride overall but, in the past, riding in the back seats for long trips was uncomfortable.
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