The 4th generation RAV4 has arrived in the UK. We find out if the new version improves quality and driving dynamics enough to fend off rivals?
What is it? When Toyota first launched their Recreational Activity Vehicle 4 it was beginning of the new compact SUV segment. Never designed to be a serious off-roader these cars are all about image and lifestyle. The latest version has been completely re-styled and redesigned throughout.
Who is it aimed at? With extra ground clearance a dash of go-anywhere quality and a higher seating position the new RAV4 should have wide appeal.
Under the Bonnet: Our test car was powered by the 2.0 diesel which is a lively performer with lots of pulling power but it’s noisy and once inside you will be no doubt that this is a diesel car. Other options include a 2.2 litre diesel, and a 2.0 petrol engine. The 2.0 diesel is available in front wheel drive but the other engines are available with all wheel drive.
Styling: Toyota has always taken a conservative approach to styling and the RAV4 is no exception. It may not the most stylish SUV around but its smart and solid looking.
What about Inside? Toyota interiors have always been their weakest link and they have tended to be dull and plasticky. The cabin of the new RAV’s is definitely a huge improvement on the old one; the new design is appealing, it is bigger, and the quality of the materials far better than before.; it’s still plasticky though but not in a nasty way!
Head and legroom in the front is good and the seats are nicely bolstered. Move to the back and things get even better. With more space throughout than most rivals five adults would be perfectly comfortable on a long trip. The boot can take 547 litres plus there’s an additional 100-litre space under the floor.
On the Road? The RAV4 has always had car like handling and the new version is no different. Around town it is easy to drive and the high driving position and light steering makes it easy to park and manoeuvre. Venture out of city and on the motorway it handles well and there is lots of grip, it’s by no means sporty but it is comfortable. Body roll is evident on corners but no more than what would be expected of an SUV. Rivals offer sharper driving dynamics and better overall composure but generally the RAV4 handles well, feels quick and do what you want it to.
And Safety? The RAV4 achieved five stars from the EuroNCAP which is particularly impressive as a far tougher test criterion was introduced in 2013. The car tested was a 2.2 D-4D diesel all-wheel drive model. It scored 89 per cent for adult occupant protection, 82 per cent for child occupant protection, 66 per cent for pedestrian protection and 66 per cent for safety assist features.
The RAV4 is alos equipped with a new, whiplash injury reducing seat design, and 7 airbags are fitted as standard, including a driver’s knee airbag and front seat side airbags.
Options? The RAV4 is available in both two (front) and all-wheel drive across three new grades: Active, Icon and Invincible. The entry level version is the 2.0 D-4D Active 2WD available at £22,595 on-the-road. Both this model and the 2.0 D-4D Icon 2WD (£24,295) undercut the current XTR 2.2 D-4D 2WD on price. Both come generously equipped; the Active grade comes with 17-inch alloys, air conditioning, Bluetooth, electric windows front and rear, rear privacy glass and front fog lights; the Icon spec’ includes a powered tailgate (now top-hinged for easier loading), a folding function on the powered door mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, part-leather instrument panel trim and dual-zone automatic air conditioning. The Toyota Touch multimedia touchscreen system also features on Icon models, with a DAB digital tuner, rear-view camera and Bluetooth.
At the top of the range the new Invincible adds more premium equipment features such as roof rails, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and Smart Entry and Start.
What about fuel economy? Cleverly Toyota has managed to increase power while reducing fuel consumption by 7.5% according to official figures of 57.6 mpg on a combined cycle. C02 emissions are 127 g/km.
Okay so the Verdict? The new RAV4 has grown up into a very capable car and is now far more is more refined than its predecessor. While you will struggle to find fault with it but we are not convinced that Toyota have done enough to give rivals something to worry about.
Why you’ll buy one? Improved interior; Space; Reliability
Why you won’t? Noisy engines; Disappointing Drive; Conservative styling
Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC £21,505
Mazda CX-5 2.2 150ps Diesel (2WD 6-Speed Manual) £22,995
Ford Kuga 2.0TDCi 140PS FWD £21,900
|MODEL||POWERTRAIN||OTR PRICE||CO2 (g/km)|
|Active 2WD||2.0 D-4D 6MT||£22,595||127|
|Icon 2WD||2.0 D-4D 6MT||£24,295||127|
|Icon AWD||2.0 Valvematic CVT||£25,595||167|
|Invincible 2WD||2.0 D-4D 6MT||£25,995||127|
|Icon AWD||2.2 D-4D 6MT||£26,495||149|
|Icon AWD||2.2 D-4D 6AT||£27,595||176|
|Invincible AWD||2.2 D-4D 6MT||£28,195||149|
|Invincible AWD||2.2 D-4D 6AT||£29,295||176|
Toyota RAV4 2.0 D-4D 2WD
Engine: 1998 four-cylinder turbo diesel with 124bhp @3600 and 310Nm at 1600-2400rpm
Max speed: 112mph
0-100 kph: 9.9 seconds
Emissions : 127 g/km
Insurance group 1-50: 26
Model price range: £22 ,595 – £29,295
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 57.6 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 547 litres (1756)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Service interval (miles) : 10000
Warranty (years): 5
Warranty (miles): 100000
24th May, 2013