Yeah.. I rode in a friends back early in the year, and I was not impressed with the engine, the noise, or the interior. Of course I come from my CRV driving experience. Thing is.. with a more traditional gear shift transmission and multi-port injection still.. I can see no reason for the new RAV4s to be so noisy.Ironically, that's the reason I didn't buy it! Terrible engine noise, crappy transmission and cramped interior. I had even pre-negotiated a price with the dealer as I was so certain I was coming home with it. After my disappointing test drive ... no thanks! Walked across the street to the Honda dealership and fell in love with the CRV!
I have heard that future generation Toyotas will likely use smaller 4 cylinder engines with turbos.. similar to what Honda has moved to.. as a transition period before sales are dominated by hybrids/EVs later in the decade. That would likely solve the engine noise issue experienced as Toyota could produce a very well matched power train by moving to a wide torque band engine and a matching CVT.
Cramped feeling cabins however remain a challenge for Toyota for some reason. Maybe this is so Toyota sales can drive drive upsizing during the selling process to a larger Toyota SUV. /shrug
Toyota has huge brand loyalty though and I would bet that most sales of RAV4s are to long time Toyota owners. Nothing wrong with that at all.... just that those of us looking at the national sales data would do well to also understand what demographics actually buy what vehicles.