2007 Rav4 V6 to 2012 CR-V

On June 23rd a large male deer ran in front of my car. There was extensive damage ($9000+). Absolutely everything forward of the motor had to replaced. After the repair the motor started running very hot, needle in the overheated zone, on some hot days. Body shop said they couldn’t find a problem. There was a “extra cooling package” installed on this car for towing, so overheating shouldn’t happen. The car had 75,000 miles and was paid off-was planning to keep it for many years. I considered the overheating a harbinger of things to come and didn’t want to keep it after that emerging issue and the extensive damage that was done by the deer strike.

Like so many others, I really liked the V6 in the Rav4. However, most other aspects of this seven year old design are now quite dated—A swing out door, that has swing the wrong way for 7 years? What are they thinking? The back up camera in the mirror on the 2012 Rav4 doesn’t work well and part of the image is obscured by the spare tire on the exterior of the door. Music integration is primitive.

There will be a redesigned 2013 RAV4 on the market late fall or this coming winter. None of the five Toyota dealers i talked to would say when it will appear or what the redesign will be like. I’m sure they will match most features of the redesigned CR-V (they will dump the swing out door for sure) and add some feature that trumps the CR-V to give Toyota salesmen something to talk about.

With my “repaired” Rav4 periodically overheating, I chose not to wait an indeterminate time for the 2013 Rav4 and traded it in on a 2012 CR-V. Now, not only am I driving a “cute ute”, I’m driving one of the most prominent “chick cars”. Thats OK, my ego can handle that hit and anyway, I’ve always liked the ladies.

Will post a review of how the 2012 CR-V works for transporting canoes and kayaks after I drive it a while with boats on top. For sure I will miss the power of the V-6 when entering a limited access road on a uphill ramp.


Somebody has to wear skinny jeans…

Hi There, and I hope there were no injuries ( other than the deer, of course) in your wreck!

imo, you haven’t taken a huge leap downward in testosterone when switching from the Rav4 to the CRV.

Too me, the transition is similar to giving up your wine cooler for a nice Sangria…

I kid…I kid. Let me know how the CRV works for you…



Dave, I tapped a deer crossing a road as I was leaving Assateague two years ago. Got a small crack in an out of the way corner of the bumper.

I don’t think any cars these days can withstand a good hit from a deer or much less anything else. The whole front end is made to collapse.

My sister in law drives a Crv. :wink:

consequences of collision w. deer
The hit was on right front corner, with a rebound hit on left front corner. Headlights, turn signals, grill, hood, both fenders, radiator, supplemental oil cooler, air conditioner reservoir, horizontal bar behind the plastic illusion of a front bumper, all the plastic parts on the front of car (the list goes on) were replaced.

Interestingly, the air bag didn’t go off from the major hit on the right front corner. A sensor that read that no one was in the right seat overrode the mashed in air bag sensor.

The good news is that all those collapsing parts worked in that I had no injury. The deer wasn’t so fortunate. Guess the animal lovers and the deer population will have to develop plastic shrouded deer with collapsable parts.


Glad you are OK

I am not a mechanic, but a stuck/broken thermostat would be my primary guess - assuming other usual suspects like collapsing/soft hoses and water pump check out. Friend’s engine was overheating due to hose that would collapse on itself once in a while.

I am really surprised insurance company did not write your vehicle off.

Swing out door
I like that feature, gives you access to the cargo area while you have boats on the vehicle.

insurance write-off?
The insurance estimator under estimated the cost in spite of reviewing the damage at the body shop with the shop foreman. Had he correctly estimated the cost it would have been a close call.


swing out door
yes and no.

The swing-out door allows access if kayaks are on top AND loaded on hull bottom or side. Loaded deck side down, they prevent opening the door. Canoes loaded on gunnels prevent opening the door. I loaded many different craft in different positions.

The rest of the time the wrong direction swing out doors are a PITA.

Without knowing it for a fact, I predict the 2013 will join the modern world and use a lift up rear door.


The wrong way?
OK you got me wondering.

What is the right way for the swing out door?

(06 Rav4)

"the wrong way"
The Mid 2000’s CR-V and the present RAV4 (released to market in 2006) were designed in Japan with rear doors that swing away from the curb in their market. They drive on the opposite side of the road from USA. When they modified the vehicles for USA market they switched the steering wheel and pedals from right front to left front and reversed dash, gages and controls. However, the door was left the same. So when one parks at a curb the door swings to the curb instead of away, forcing driver to have to walk around the door every trip when loading things. Parking at a curb to unload your kayak or canoe again forces you to have to walk around the door to get gear out of the rear.

When the steering wheel, pedals and dash were reoriented to work for driving on the opposite side of the road, how difficult would it have been to reverse the hinges and latch? Honda went to a lift up gate on the previous generation and is now building the second generation with a lift gate. Without knowing it as a fact, I’ll bet $500 with anyone that the 2013 Rav4 will come with a lift gate.

I don’t want this to be totally a Rav4 bashing session, I enjoyed most other aspects of the 2007 Rav4 I owned and loved the power of the V-6. Yesterday I was struggling to load a Mariner Express on my 2012 CR-V and concluded that I will have to place it bow rearward to compensate for narrower racks and the rearward cockpit location on the Express. Yeah, I a demanding customer, always nit picking. Now that the Outback has a Mickey Mouse roof rack, there is not an good small 4WD vehicle for roof top transportation.

Dave the critic

Doors and “modern design”

– Last Updated: Aug-02-12 11:12 AM EST –

The more "modern" cars become, the less I like the way the really basic things operate. You said earlier that the swing-out door can't be opened with certain kinds of loads on the roof. Well, they COULD make it so that's not a problem if they cared about such things, but NO modern car company gives a crap about people who want to carry something on the roof. On vans, and on carryall style vehicles of the past, opening swing-out doors with a boat or any other load on the roof was never an issue. You say a lifting door would be better, but I had that on an old Subaru and hated it when a boat was on the roof. On that and similar vehicles I've worked with, the door contacts the boat long before it's fully raised, so now you have to play hunchback to get access to your stuff, and unloading anything big and awkward through the back hatch isn't even possible with a boat on the roof. I've seen the lift-back doors on larger SUV's, and supporting all that weight requires sturdy support rods (which have a very limited lifespan and must be replaced when the gas charge leaks out), and they have an even WORSE problem with preventing access to the back when a boat is on the roof due to the size and shape of the hatch. Besides, even with no load above, even the highest lifting doors barely clear the head of someone who's just a tad taller than average, and in certain situations on crooked ground, NONE of them are high enough. There were no such problems with the simple door styles of years ago.

I can't see why they no longer offer a simple drop-tailgate with retractable window, or DOUBLE swing-out doors that swing straight out (not at an upward angle). With double doors, you don't have to fret about walking around the door because it's not that big to begin with. Plus with either of these older door styles, much less clearance is needed to open them (easy to do even inside a cramped garage or tight parking space).

In spite of that little rant, I'll say that the rear door on my '95 Chevy Blazer isn't too bad. It's a combination drop tailgate and flip-up window. The drop tailgate needs very little clearance, and the flip-up window, being so small and lacking that "downward bend" of a full hatch, once it's raised to the point that further lifting isn't possible due to the boat up above, it only reduces overhead clearance by a few inches. Of course, GM couldn't leave well-enough alone, and replaced that system with a full hatch a few years later, and when that newer hatch is opened to the point of contact with canoe gunwales, overhead clearance is reduced by a couple of feet instead of a few inches. Like I said, car companies have NO interest in making vehicles useful for boat-hauling people, or for anyone else who wants practical ability to carry stuff.

Rear door
I actually like the way the door opens. Which side it swings out on makes very little difference to me. My previous vehicle, Saturn Vue, had a lift up rear door and with long boats on the car, it couldn’t go up all the way. I also find myself standing on the rear floor to access the straps to make minor adjustments. With a lifting hatch, I wouldn’t be able to do that. Having the spare tire on the door is another bonus, because it provides for more “hidden” storage underneath the rear floor.


– Last Updated: Aug-02-12 11:21 AM EST –

I went the other way going from 2 CRVs to a Rav 4. The crv crossbar distance is inadequate IMO for longer boats. Had to spend $300 on a Slipstream which raised the boat height too much for me. The Rav4 rails allow much more distance. While neither car's Awd is real 4wd, Rav4 at least has a button to lock it in under 25mph

I like the swinging door- can get to my gear with loaded boats

If you drive any kind of compact rcossover, you’re probably already secure in your masculinity (or feminine side). Shades of a different color.

I’m wondering why you didn’t give the new Hyundais,new Ford Escape, or Mazda crossover a look. The new Mazda looks great.

I See said the blind man
Never encountered the curbside problem. But your argument makes some sense.


right. and it isn’t new
…but improvements such as getting rid of rain gutters, for example, removed one consistent element for rack mounting.

I had the same gripe with my scooby. But my pathfinder has a swing-out spare-tire holder and then a hatch. Talk about a hassle!

Hyundai, Edge, Mazda
I looked at and drove the Hyundai. The body bulges out on the side far more than the CR-V or Rav4. The roof rail are also at least 6" inboard. The outward body bulge, combined with the rails being so far inboard would make it very hard to load kayaks/canoes onto the top without a step stool.

Did a quick look at the new Escape the day the first one came in to local dealer. Interesting, but I wouldn’t buy one until it has been on the market for at least a year and has demonstrated a good track record. Yeah, I know the 2012 CR-V is a “redesign” but it really is just a refresh of the previous model- My wife has a 2010 CR-V and there is little difference.

Never looked at the Mazda. I drove one with my daughter when she was looking and was unimpressed.



– Last Updated: Aug-03-12 9:37 AM EST –

Hey Dave,
I went from an '04 CR-V to a leftover '10 RAV V6. I was almost dead set on getting the CR-V (not the current generation), but couldn't stomach its generic styling and pronounced underbite. I actually liked the squared off body style of the old one-more...masculine. The new one's pretty sleek-nipped and tucked all its awkwardness away. Also looked at the Outback, but the rack was a deal breaker-useless. Hyundai...uh, still don't trust them, although I'm starting to see that Hyundai's the new Honda.

As you're aware, the V6 makes the RAV a different vehicle from the 4 banger. I've driven the 4 extensively as a loaner vehicle when mine was in for service, and Honda does it so much better. With their Formula car background, their engines sing. That said, I do think Honda rested on their laurels, and the lackluster response to the newly launched Civic line reflects this. The bean counters are winning out over those with vision.

I went for the Limited RAV, mainly because it was a deal. Liked the Sport, but the run flats were again, a deal breaker, despite the cleaner liftgate look. I too, find the rear swinging liftgate to be heavy and cumbersome. The CR-V I had, had one also, but it was far lighter, and also had the nifty pop up rear window. FYI-For me, the stock RAV Limited was a fright pig in terms of handling. With all that V6 power (Great BTW, for hauling boats on the highway), it has waaaaay too much body roll, and the suspension settings are mashed bananas soft. The addition of an UltraRacing strut tower brace crisped up the turn in significantly, and a 23 mm. vs. stock 19mm. rear sway bar has it cornering much flatter. The Sport has stiffer shocks stock, and the sidewalls of the run flats contribute a much more positive feel. That said, the Honda is much more nimble overall. Good feedback too, versus the Toyota numb steering.

Good luck with the CR-V. Mine went over 100K with nary anything wrong save a new alternator. I just became bored with it. :) Thanks for the offer on setting up the push button racks also, but since I paddle year round, and keep the V racks on there, I never remove them anyway. Cheers!

$500 to me?
if this image is not a spoof you could deposit $500 into my Paypal account :slight_smile:

Look here: http://www.carreviewandnews.com/2013-toyota-rav4-comes-with-a-feature-cv6-a-machine-that-is-very-tough-and-strong/2012-toyota-rav4-fwd-4-door-i4-sport-gs-trunk_100383195_l/

Door opening “wrong way”

– Last Updated: Aug-02-12 11:16 PM EST –

I think that door opens the right way. I think it's oriented that way so that when the driver gets out and walks back, the latch is convenient and the door swings away from where he's standing, eliminating the need to walk around an obstacle. I'm very sure that this loading-to-the-curb idea of the original poster is wrong. Further, I wouldn't be surprised if the Japanese version has the door opening in the other direction for that very reason.

That was my first thought earlier and I didn't mention it, but now that I can see that the gas filler is on the left side, I'm certain of it (back in the days when Japanese cars sold in America were built in Japan, the gas filler was normally on the right side, because in Japan, that's the driver's side. SOME Japanese cars in those days even had windshield wipers which "parked" on the left, putting that un-wiped corner of the windshield on the driver's side - a big mistake). Even if by chance this car IS built in Japan, the position of the gas filler tells me that it's designed from the ground up as a left-hand-drive vehicle, and that makes me think that making the door open in that particular direction was intentional.