CRAP I HATE WHEN I TYPE A LONG POST AND IT GETS DELETED!!!!
Ok - second try
We extensively cross-shopped the RAV4, Compass and Baja back in October. I was seriously leaning towards the RAV4 on size and reliability vs. build quality and predicted long-term reliability (and I should say that I normally HATE Toyota for being the Japanese Oldsmobile with regards to excitement).
In the end though I put a lot on what equipment I get for the money and the Yoda was horribly expensive and not as well equipped when compared to the Compass. I did everything I could but the Yoda was still going to be at least $8k more than a similarly or even better equipped Compass.
And to make matters worse the Yoda dealer out and out lied to us. He wrote down a BS high number as “MSRP” then scratched it out and “offered” us a discounted price which was actually EQUAL to MSRP.
Plus Yoda is extremely rigid about build packages. They have the Base, Sport and Limited. Well the base is so pathetically equipped that you can’t get a sunroof (and I THINK it doesn’t even come with fog lights if I remember correctly). The Sport isn’t too badly equipped but you can’t get a third row of seats. The Limited was well equipped (as expected) but you CAN’T get both Leather AND a third row of seats (though we probably could have had them add heated leather to one that had a third row, but we’d already be into the low 30s on MSRP).
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m quite impressed with the RAV’s 21/28 mpg rating when coupled with a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. But $8k buys a lot of gas, and my boat rig only weighs about 1500 lbs. so though I’d LIKE the cushion, I didn’t NEED it.
I was also less than impressed with the interior of the RAV4 from an ergonomic point of view. It felt way too much like a mini-van. The Compass interior may consist of some frugal materials, but they are rugged and functional.
I also like the fact that the Compass has both a liftgate AND can have a full-size spare mounted under the cargo floor. The RAV4 hangs it’s big ugly spare in the way on the rear door, and the door is side-hinged which means you need extra room to open/close it (plus backing up a trailer without help is nearly impossible, but wouldn’t be an issue with a Compass and an open liftgate.
The Toyota looked and felt like it had a tremendous build quality, but the value for the dollar just wasn’t there. And I wasn’t even going to dream of giving business to such an arrogant dealer. In the end, I went for a combination of toys, price/value and capability and wound up with a Baja. But the Compass was a VERY strong contender and I still kind of wonder if I shouldn’t have bought one. I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if my wife decided to buy one at some point.
Good luck with your decision,