I bought a 2008 RAV4 this past March. So far, I absolutely LOVE it!!! Of course, I've added several things to it to make it as dog friendly as possible. The dogs also seem to really enjoy it since it's so easy to get into and get out of. Plus, the AC is superb! I've had the windows tinted dark for temperature control and privacy.
The gas mileage is pretty good for an SUV, and I even have the V6 model!!! It's about the size of a CRV, but you can get two 21" wide crates next to one another in the cargo area!! I couldn't do this in my hubby's CRV! I usually only carry around one or two dogs. If I need a third crate, I can set it up behind the passenger side seat. BTW, my hubby made me a crate platform which gave me a little extra room. Here are some photos:
This photo shows all the room in the RAV4 and how the rear seats fold down. I really like my hubby's CRV, but the rear seats fold forward and take up space.
These rear seats can still go up or down even with the crates and platform in the cargo area!!!
I still have room to fasten in another crate if I need it!
Here's the crate platform DH built for me. I added my feminine touch (dog material).
I can still see some out of my rearview mirror since the crates are wire. Above
the crates are some agility items I use at the trials (extra fans, Cheyenne's crate,
and a chair). Cheyenne's crate is the one that I can set up behind the passenger's
seat if I need to. These items are fastened to the top of the crate. The crates and platform are all secured to the RAV's cargo rings.
Here are the wire trays I use to hold all those extra things that would wind up all over
the place. Yes, I added baby bumpers to the inside of the crates. I have a little OCD.
It's so easy for my trio to jump in and out of the RAV. There's a nice bumper ledge they can use (unlike with my DH's CRV). I added a rear bumper protector (black item their feet are on). This keeps them from scratching the bumper. Then I added safety tape to the protector so that the dogs have some traction.