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The 2015 Toyota RAV4 XLE AWD's secret weapon - sensible shoes

We drive the updated 2015 RAV4 XLE and find out why it handles and rides so well.

We like the RAV4 Limited. Don’t get us wrong. We have driven the current generation RAV4 Limited on many occasions and is a vehicle with many positive attributes. It’s just a little…trying to say this nicely…harsh. Here in the Northeast, the roads are gone to pot. Just trying to leave my neighborhood in a new test crossover this winter I destroyed a low profile tire on a European crossover. That same model is shown in adverts blasting through snow drifts. If only. All this lead up is my way of telling you that the 2015 RAV4 XLE’s secret weapon is a set of tires that make sense.

The 255mm/65/17” tires the XLE wears are one inch less in diameter and about one-half inch greater in sidewall than the RAV4 Limited, and it seems to make all the difference in the real world. Rather bang over potholes, the XLE with its more sensible sneakers sort of thumps. Instead of vibrating over grated highways ready for pavement like the Limited, the XLE sort of hums.

Since the XLE is softer one would expect that the ride is too wallowy and that the XLE would lean into corners like an old-school ocean liner turning about. Nope. It seems to handle crisply, and the steering feels very lively. There is no apparent downside in the XLE’s more forgiving tires.

I’m an enthusiast as well as a writer and read pretty much every car publication in existence. Not many auto writers choose to write stories about the middle trim of a vehicle’s lineup. Almost none asks for a more sensible tire that works better on Main street than the Streets of Willow Raceway. Well, count this story as one.


Shiv Hiremath (not verified)    June 18, 2015 - 10:46AM

Why don't Toyota not provide "Intelligent package" on XLE as an option. I can't believe Toyota can be that stupid to be rigid on that. You HAVE to get Limited and those big rough tires/wheels to get advantages of the Intelligent package, which are very essential for us ... old drivers.