Thursday, October 12 2017 10:02

Test Drive: Rockin' the Road & Building Decks - 2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum...

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Test driving a vehicle can be a lot of fun, but I've long-held the belief that nothing beats the opportunity to really use a new ride to get the full experience. That said, I was able to put the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD to good use during the midst of a long-awaited project here at Rock Father HQ - the tear-down and rebuild of our sizeable 27-year-old deck (more on  that project in a feature down the line). Now, we're not talking heavy hauling here, but for supply runs and tool rentals, the RAV4 was up to the task, in addition to being a really comfortable family ride. Let's take a look...

2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD Review

Drive around town for a bit and you'll probably notice that there's quite a few RAV4's on the road these days. In fact, there's several right here in our subdivision, and our next door neighbors even own an SE. The reason we're seeing so many is that families looking for a sizable, yet still compact SUV can find a lot to love in the RAV4 - and they can be built to accommodate many tastes and budgets from simple to luxurious. With nine different trim levels available, the base model LE starts around $24K, while the top-of-the-line Platinum (this one) will end up in the $37K range.

2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD Review

The interior of the RAV4 has much of the "Toyota feel," and it's both comfortable and functional without being overly flashy, and that's okay here. With two car seats in the back, our girls had plenty of room, and that means transporting grownups in the rear will be fine as well.

2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD Review

Trunk space for me is really important in this category, and the RAV4 is top-notch. While you can certainly purchase optional carpeted floormats and cargo mats, I like the pure functionality and easily-cleaned RAV4 Cargo Tray (a $100 option). The trunk doesn't need to be plush - it needs to be able to get dirty. In the midst of our deck project, I had to make a run to The Home Depot (I practically live there) to rent a Post Hole Auger. Both the machine and its drill bit fit perfectly...

2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD Review

The 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is ample, but I didn't find it to be particularly quick from a stop, though I do enjoy Toyota's Sport handling option. The overall performance is comfortable, but not necessarily exciting. What I really love are the safety features, and with family in mind the RAV4 includes Toyota Safety Sense - a package that comes standard and features a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, automatic high beams and dynamic radar cruise control. There's also pedestrian detection, back-up camera and a birds-eye camera included on this one.

2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD Review

Overall, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD is a vehicle that both I and my family enjoyed, and as the 2018 models are starting to hit dealers, there's a good chance that you'll start seeing some attractive offers on the 2017 model year in the months ahead.

Build and Price yours at Toyota.com/RAV4

P.S. - Yes, I was digging holes...


Vehicle provided for review on-loan from Toyota, delivered by DriveShop USA.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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