The 4th generation RAV4 has arrived in Ireland. 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 high 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 the other engines come equipped with all wheel drive.
Styling: Toyota has always taken a conservative approach to styling and the RAV4 is no exception. It may not be 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 does 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. It is 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? There are three available trims, Aura, Luna and Sol. Standard equipment includes 17” alloys wheels, LED Daytime running lights Front fog lights, Bluetooth, Audio & phone switches on steering wheel, Front and rear electric windows and Hill-start Assist Control. Upgrade to Luna for extras including Toyota Touch Multimedia System, roof rails, Cruise control and leather covered steering wheel. The ranging topping Sol trim includes rear parking sensors and full leather seat upholstery.
What about fuel economy? Cleverly Toyota has managed to increase power while reducing fuel consumption by 7.5%. According to official figures our 2.0 diesel returns 4.9l/100 km on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions are 127 g/km so the motor tax bill is €270 per year.
Okay so the Verdict? The new RAV4 has grown up into a very capable car and is now far more refined than its predecessor. While you will struggle to find fault with it 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 SE €39,295
Mazda CX-5 Sport 2.2 Diesel 150ps 2WD €28,895
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 140ps 2WD Zetec Diesel €33, 450
Toyota RAV4 2.0 D-4D 125 Luna 2WD
Engine:1998 four-cylinder turbo diesel with 124bhp @3600 and 310Nm at 1600-2400rpm
Max speed: 185kph
0-100 kph: 10.5 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 127 g/km (€270)
Model price range: €27,995 – €43,520 (*Test car €29,995)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.9 litres per 100 km (57.6mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 410 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
1st May, 2013