What $2,720 Extra Buys You In The Toyota RAV4 Limited (UPDATED)

2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited
The 2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited.

A shade over 4 months ago in this space, we reviewed the 2013 Toyota RAV4, the XLE model...and liked it a lot.

Well, you can get a RAV4 three ways...the base LE model, the XLE we tested and the Limited. Given that the Limited is only $3,710 more than the LE and a mere $2720 higher than the XLE we tested, we thought it would be worth a look.

2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited
Rear view of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited.

Suffice it to say  a Limited is a very different experience from the XLE. Virtually all the price difference is spent on the interior.  You get every bit of standard equipment that comes with the XLE, and then add a SofTex-trimmed 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory function, an adjustable power liftgate...a Smart Key system, and an option list that allows you to choose (at extra cost) a display audio system with navigation, Toyota's Entune infotainment app suite and JBL speakers.

As much as we liked the XLE's straightforward interior, the luxury afforded by the step up to the Limited was pretty enticing, too.

2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited interior
2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior.

The specs are all the same...a 176-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, EPA fuel economy estimates of 24 city/31 highway (and, as with the XLE, we wound up a few mpg short in real-world driving), and as with the XLE, it benefits from a longer wheelbase and more rear-seat legroom.

Ours checked the option box for that upgraded display audio/navigation/Entune/JBL system ($1,600), as well as a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.

And that's it for the options, which makes the total (with $845 destination fee) a rather reasonable $30,015.  I say that because we drove examples of the last-generation RAV4 that were nowhere near as satisfying that hit that dollar figure.  This is a much better value for the money.

If you're okay with basic goodness, save a few bucks and get the XLE...but if that extra touch of style moves you, I'd never criticize choosing the Limited.

UPDATE:  Got a second go-round in a RAV4 Limited, this one an all-wheel drive model.  Base price moves to $29,720, optioned in similar fashion to the one discussed above with an as-tested price of $32,315.  Still one of our favorite small SUVs.  Choosing all-wheel drive does cost you a couple of miles per gallon (24 city becomes 22...31 highway drops to 29), but all-in-all, the RAV4 continues to be one of Toyota's most-improved vehicles and one we'd seriously consider if we were in the market.