This year’s social calendar may not be as robust as you would think. I declined a few invitations, but I retained just a couple.
It is the Holiday season. That means socializing, catching up, giving and receiving gifts, and just bring happy.
7This year’s social calendar may not be as robust as you would think. I declined a few invitations, but I retained just a couple. Originally, I thought that I might not be able to make them. However, they were put into my calendar to make sure that I do.
Having no vehicles scheduled until after the first of 2023, you have to improvise. That meant checking your budget, your bank account and credit availability. After crunching some numbers, I decided that it was time to play Rental Car Roulette.
I spun the wheel. It landed on a white 2022 Toyota RAV4 LE with over 17,000 miles.
This would be a great choice to spend the weekend with an SUV. An SUV that I know can handle the 14-degree apron onto the parking pad in the back of the house. Except for a couple of problems. One, this particular RAV4 was a front-wheel drive model. And, second, those factory-installed tires were at best “meh.”
At first, it was a tough climb onto the pad. The apron was absent of ice. There was plenty of it on the pad itself. Not to mention that the alley was caked over. However, the snow and ice began to melt as temperatures went above freezing. With some clearing of the slushy parts, the RAV4 made it onto the pad – even with the traction control working a tad harder than usual.
The next task was to head out to a holiday party an hour away in the town of Big Lake. Prior to my departure, I was not feeling good. The side effects from my medication went into overdrive and I needed my body to heal up before hitting the road.
After getting to the point where I am able to get on the road without any further issues, I happy to report that the FWD RAV4 did very well overall. And, so did I.
Even though I did not do a lot of driving as I should, the RAV4 was able to take where I needed to go without much drama. That’s a way to measure a vehicle, right?
The RAV4 has always been a pleasant package. In its most basic form, it does what you ask it to do. Yes, it would be better if it had all-wheel drive and better tires, but you still have to do with what you got when it is in your possession.
Certainly, the RAV4 gets a knock on the lack of high-quality surfaces, semi-comfortable seating, it’s “racket” from then engine bay from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. and other minor things. I have to remind everyone that this is the LE model, and it does not come with fancier trim and so forth.
However, you do get Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Assist with Steering Assist standard. At least you would be able to drive in any condition with ease – that is only if the sensors do not get smudged with snow, ice, and so forth. You even get Road Sign Assist in this basic LE.
You even get smartphone integration. Plus, six speakers of sound. You can forgive the seven-inch touchscreen. As long as you have tunes, you should be good, right?
Still, the RAV4 is motivated by the aforementioned 203-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and its eight-speed automatic transmission. It does a solid job getting around at highway speeds and around town. The ride quality is pretty good, as is the steering system. Handling tended to be on the soft side. The brakes were pretty decent, although winter stops are dictated by the lack of two additional driving wheels. Pedal feel was pretty good, however.
If you were considering buying one, this 2022 model would cost you $28,310 brand new. A few places are discounting their current stock of 2022s, since Toyota is producing the 2023 model year RAV4 right now. As equipped, the same LE front-drive model has gone up by $600 over the 2022 version. Most likely, your RAV4 LE will have a package added on. My suggestion? Take it!
Certainly, I had plenty of choices according to my Avis app. However, to take the “complimentary upgrade” for the Toyota RAV4 made the spin on the Rental Car Roulette wheel was a decent choice at the time. The fact that it lived with me for a few days was a testament to my own patience and tolerance.
When you spin the Rental Car Roulette wheel, hope it lands on the right vehicle. Especially during this holiday season.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle rented by Victory & Reseda
All photos by Randy Stern