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Rav4 - Safe?
October 29, 2010
My mother always told us that her dream car would be a Rav4. She recently bought a new car, and I was so excited to visit and see the new Rav, and...eeeek! There was a FORD in the driveway!!! She said something about the lack of a back bumper on the Rav4 made her think it wouldnt be safe if hit from behind. Is this a valid concern, or is there something built into the back of the Rav4 to make up for the lack of bumper?

October 29, 2010#1
The Rav4 does have a bumper, it is just behind the bumper cover. Most modern cars are designed in this manner - only a handful still have a "bumper" that is projected beyond the body lines. The reason being are both aesthetic and functional - aesthetic in that the body looks "smooth", functional in that it allows different design elements to be incorporated to enhance airflow, reduce drag, and/or reduce overall weight. There is still a steel reinforcement beam inside, still set-off the unit-body by impact absorbers, and will still protect the occupants like a regular externally mounted bumper.

She could be thinking about the rear mounted spare tire - almost every make that has one has the potential more extensive damage in an accident, since the impact load will be spread over a wider area.

Assuming she purchased a Ford Escape (similar in size to a Rav4)? Between the two - the IIHS rated their newest models GOOD for offset frontal crash and side impact. Rav4 got an ACCEPTABLE for rollover strength, Escape rated a notch lower at MARGINAL. Both the NHTSA and IIHS found both of these vehicles very similar in safety overall. Only thing that jumps out is that the Escape has shown weak braking compared to others in its class.

October 30, 2010#2
I do not know but Rav4 has never been my typical ideal car though I think it is still safe. Perhaps your mother just looked at the Ford and had mad love for it.

October 30, 2010#3
Thank you for that detailed info. From the sound of it, then, she hasnt gotten something that is much safer - she was just basing everything off of what "looked" safer. What a shame; she really did love the idea of getting a Rav4!

November 1, 2010#4
Every car has a bumper and they are usually the integral part of the car's design. Maybe your mom was saying that the Rav4 lacks bumper because the material at the rear is a plastic type and the finish is primered.

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