I gave my impressions on the RAV4 forum but I'll post it here in case anyone is interested.
By the way, the competitor I drove was a CX-5 turbo which I felt was better than the CR-V in terms of engine performance and refinement.BirchBarlow said:I have to say, as someone who's been a Toyota guy most of my life, I left highly disappointed. I thought the RAV4 looked pretty good in person, better than in the pictures, and the interior was was about on par with everything else in the class, however the aesthetics are where it ends. Unfortunately I found the driving dynamics to be quite lackluster. The driving experience was completely numb and boring. The 8-speed transmission was horrible. Acceleration was tepid, as the transmission was quite sluggish to rev the engine and always shifted early and abruptly, sapping way too much power from engine. It drove nothing like the RAV4 V6 or the Camry V6 I used to have. The handling was okay, but the car was just so devoid of any kind of road feel both in the steering wheel and in the seat of my pants. The engine was also quite noisy, though I could look past the engine noise if the driving dynamics were better. FWIW I also drove a Highlander which I found equally slow, numb and boring, however it was smoother and quieter, and the seat was much more comfortable. Neither of them are on my list anymore, but if were going for a Toyota, I would choose the Highlander because it is smoother, quieter and more comfortable, and I didn't feel any compromise in driveability going from the RAV4 to the Highlander, despite the Highlander's bigger footprint.
After the two Toyotas, I test drove a competitor which I felt was far superior to the RAV in terms of driving dynamics and luxury. That one is currently at the top of my list.