First Impressions: A Review Of The Toyota RAV4 SUV

First Impressions: A Review Of The Toyota RAV4 SUV

Back in 1994, Toyota started selling the RAV4. In case you wondered, the model name is short for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive.” It’s widely credited as being the first crossover SUV. And it’s a car designed for people that want SUV handling but small-car maneuverability.

The latest generation first got unveiled back in 2013. It’s a world away from the styling and features of the first generation. But is it a better car? After spending some time reviewing the latest RAV4, I have come to the conclusion that it is. Here’s why:


Image via Wikimedia Commons

It’s built by a tech-focussed car maker

Toyota is no stranger to developing innovative car technologies. They are also one of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers. That means they have the money to spend on developing projects like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

As you might expect, Toyota have included a lot of new technology and innovation into the latest generation RAV4. I talk about a few examples of that later in this review.

It drives well on all terrains

Let’s be clear: the Toyota RAV4 is not an SUV in the conventional sense. It’s also not a utilitarian vehicle like the Land Rover Defender. Despite those facts, it’s still plenty capable of driving across all terrains. All the while keeping you safe and secure in the cabin when it does so.

To be fair, most owners would not take their RAV4 off-roading. But it’s worth remembering that it’s a 4×4 vehicle, so it has the capability when needed.

The 4×4 comes with a “Dynamic Torque Control System.” Or, in layman’s terms, it has torque vectoring built into it as standard. Should the front wheels lose grip while driving, the system send power to the rear wheels to maintain traction.

There is a good choice of engines available

The latest generation Toyota RAV4 offers consumers three engine options. They are two diesels and one petrol.

The 2.0-litre diesel offers 122 brake horsepower and can reach 60 mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds. It has CO2 emissions of 127 g/km and provides a generous 57 mpg combined fuel consumption.

Next in the diesel lineup is the 2.2-litre version. According to Inchcape Toyota, power output on that engine is 147 brake horsepower, with a 0-60 mph time of 9.3 seconds. Combined fuel economy is lower than the 2.0-litre at 49 mpg. CO2 emissions are higher than the smaller diesel at 149 g/km.

Last, but not least, is the 2.0-litre petrol unit. It offers 148 brake horsepower and will do 0-60 mph in 9.6 seconds. Fuel economy is the worst on this engine at 39 mpg, as is the CO2 emissions at 167 g/km. Still, if you’re not a fan of diesels or you want the most powerful engine, this one is for you.

You get plenty of technology as standard

On the basic “Active” trim level, you get plenty of tech goodies as standard. Bluetooth connectivity and climate control are two such examples. The “Icon” boasts Toyota’s “Touch” multimedia infotainment system. You also get a rear-view camera and DAB digital radio.

“Icon” adds a power boot hatch, cruise control and automatic wipers and headlights. Get the range-topping “Invincible”, and you also get leather upholstery with heated seats. The current RAV is a world away from the first model released in 1994. It’s one you should add to your next car shortlist!

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