Used Rav4 V4 vs V6

I am in the market for a used Toyota Rav4. I’d like the limited model, but there aren’t many out there with V6 engines. My husband says I will definitely want a V6 (for the extra pick up when the car is full of stuff), but I don’t know. I’ve never had a V6 so I don’t know what I’m missing. Will I be sorry if I don’t get a V6?

For 99% of your driving, the inline 4 will have plenty of power and you’ll be getting better gas mileage. If you’re going to tow a trailer or boat, then you might want a V6.

Have you test driven the 4 cylinder? Does it have enough power for you?

What year are you thinking about? Check Consumer Reports ratings for the 4 vs V6 if they give this info.

Drive one and find out.

When we bought our 96 Accord we had three options (standard 4-cylinder…the v-Tec 4-cylinder or the V6). We test drove all…yes there was a LOT more power from the 6-cylinder or the vTec…but the standard 4-cylinder had MORE then enough power.

First of all, don’t tell a car salesman that you are interested in a Rav-4 with a V-4 engine, simply because that animal does not exist, and this will mark you as a “rube”, ripe for cheating. The correct term for the 4-cylinder engine on that car is “I-4”. Or, you could simply do it as most people do, and just use the term 4-cylinder.

That being said, I can speak from some experience because my closest friend has a 2008 Rav-4 with the 4-cylinder engine, and I drive it quite often.

Is the V-6 more powerful? Absolutely.
Is that power really necessary? That depends on your driving style.

I find that the 4-cylinder Rav has a good level of power, even for merging into expressways.
Would more power be nice? Sure, but that extra power comes with a couple of penalties.

The usual penalty is–of course–somewhat lower fuel economy. That would be true for all cars.
However, there is a potentially much more important caveat with Toyota’s V-6, and that is its reliability. My friend really wanted the 6-cylinder model originally. However, after seeing the significantly lower reliability rating for that engine, as compared to the 4-cylinder model, he opted for the 4-cylinder.

Subsequent to his purchase of the car, some details regarding reliability of the V-6 have begun to emerge, and they are not pretty. Apparently the V-6 utilizes an exterior oil line to route motor oil from one part of the engine to another part of the engine. Unfortunately, the oil line has been known to rupture–without warning–on this engine. The result is that oil pressure is rapidly lost, and if the driver does not shut the engine down immediately when the oil pressure warning light goes on (which could be a bit difficult if driving at expressway speeds), severe bearing damage occurs.

My friend’s 4-cylinder Rav-4 Limited has proven to be an exceptionally reliable vehicle.
That might not have been the case if he had opted for the V-6 model.

Caveat Emptor!

This is so great an helpful!

I have test driving a 4-cylinder, but it was a Sport, and I think I want a Limited for a smoother ride. The 4-cylinder felt pretty good, but I haven’t had a chance to test out the V6. I will def check out Consumer Reports.

VDC Driver: Thank you for the heads up (and the terminology correction! The last thing I want is to be taken for a ride by some dealer because I just don’t know a whole lot about this stuff)! Any suggestions on sites to look at to compare reliability ratings on the I-4 to the V6 engine (so that I can show my husband)? Glad to hear your friend likes their 2008 Limited! That’s exactly what I’m looking for!

The short answer…No. I have 2 ( '05 and '07) 4 cylinder RAV’s and except for a steep hill I don’t seem to have any problems.

The Limited model will give you a somewhat better ride than the Sport model.
I consider the ride of the Rav-4 Limited to be quite good for a vehicle of that type, and I would also rate the handling/cornering of the vehicle as “good”, for a small SUV.

CR rated the V6 slightly higher than the I4 model. They are both equally reliable. The V6 only gets about 1 MPG less than the I4, yet brings another 90 HP to the table, a significant improvement for an relatively insignificant increase in fuel consumption. To me the V6 is worth it. But if you’ve always driven 4 cylinders then I suspect the I4 will be meet your expectations. Drive both models though before you make the decision.

First of all, don’t tell a car salesman that you are interested in a Rav-4 with a V-4 engine, simply because that animal does not exist, and this will mark you as a “rube”, ripe for cheating.

Unfortunately I’ve met the salesman who would be clueless too. In fact MOST car salesman I’ve ever dealt with have little or know knowledge of the mechanics of any vehicle they sell.

I have an 05 RAV4 4 cyl. and friends have different newer models incl. one with 6 for towing 3K lbs boat. More important than the motor is the more recent larger body style with improvements from 06 on. If that’s your choice on or after that year, "VDC and other’s advice seems right on. I would add that in general, they’ll be a big jump in price to the 6 though it’s nearly as economical it’s in a different power sphere than the 4 with 90 more HP in earlier models. They are real fun to drive with the 6, still nearly as economical and worth it if you have the $$$$$$ and like to travel and/or tow up to 3500lbs. So I’m with FoDaddy

Mine has been used hard, is very reliable but has not faired well in two collisions with my tractor…my only quibble.

The new Rav4 4cyl model is plenty quick enough, and the 6cyl gives even more oomph. Check insurance rates to see how much of a difference there is.

Any suggestions on sites to look at to compare reliability ratings on the I-4 to the V6 engine (so that I can show my husband)?
The 3.5L v6 used has been around for a while and found in many other models including the Lexus line. It has proven reliability. The 4 has been altered of late to produce more power but is still essentially a standard unit used in many models too. Either is fine.

The 6 also has 50% more torque than the 4 does. That’s important to me for everyday driving. I’m sure you appreciate the extra low end in your vehicles, too, FoDaddy.

Absolutely, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a car/truck that didn’t have at least 300 lb/ft of torque. Oddly enough, I’ve never driven a diesel I liked. I would like to have a go in the BMW 335d.

The gas mileage is nearly identical, but the four-cylinder will have more power than you will need.

I agree, but let me add that the three others I know who own them, 2 with 4’s one with the 6 feel this way. The two with the 4 really like there cars; the one with the 6 is crazy over theirs. IMO, if you can afford it, there is no reason to buy the 4, even if you don’t tow. It’s that much better a car to drive. 100 extra ponies with “no” gas penalty does that to many.

I had a 118d recently as a rental. While it only had 143 HP, there was 258 lb-ft torque. It moved pretty quickly up to 150 KPH; I had it up to 160 at one time and it felt like there was a lot left in it.