We drive the range-topping Toyata RAV4-VX
Toyota released the first generation RAV4 in 1994. At first, it was aimed towards the “lifestyle” market, with funky a funky 2-door model, and even a convertible option. In many ways, it was targeting the Jeep Wrangler’s segment of the market, although with less off-road focus, and more focus on the “Sports” and “utility” aspect of the named SUV. In fact, the name RAV4 stands for “Recreational Activity Vehicle, 4-wheel drive”. Although not all RAV4’s come equipped with 4-wheel drive, the focus of the midsize SUV from Toyota was clearly one to fit into your lifestyle. With time, Toyota adopted the RAV4 to fit in more with a family’s needs. The 2nd and 3rd generation became larger and became more focused on carrying passengers and their stuff around. The outgoing 4th generation had a large, boxy body, focusing on interior space. It was one of Toyota’s best-selling cars and was the best-selling small- SUV in the world. Can the new 5th generation live up to this prestigious history?
Toyota SA released the RAV4 to the South African market in March 2019, Compared to it’s predecessor, the new RAV4 features radical new styling, inspired by their compact crossover, the CH-R. It features a large trapezoidal front grille and features slim headlights that are connected by a slim black trim piece like the facelifted 4th gen, with LED daytime running lights and fog lights. Down the side, the car features very few lines, although the squared off wheel arches give the car a rugged look. It features black trim on the A- and C-pillar, giving it the popular floating roof effect. The car can be ordered with a contrasting roof colour, similar to the Renault Captur and Volvo XC40.
Toyota has adapted its dashboard design from their CH-R and their latest Corolla to fit the larger interior of the RAV4. Our test car was the range topping RAV4 VX, when open the front door you are welcomed by large, comfortable leather front seats.
In front of you, you find a new, chrome-trimmed steering wheel. Behind that, we find a digital display cluster, similar to what you find in the more upmarket Lexus models. The digital display is customizable via buttons on the steering wheel, and car display various vehicle settings and information, as well as information from the infotainment screen, such as GPS and radio information.
Technology & Safety
An 8-inch touchscreen display that is placed on top of the dash. The touch screen allows you to control media and link your phone via smartphone mirroring applications such as Apple Carplay. You can also control some of the optional safety systems such as the pre-crash system with pedestrian detection. When you put the car in reverse, the screen also displays a reverse camera on the screen, with guidelines.
The rear bench that can comfortably fit 3 adults, There is enough head, shoulder and leg room to be comfortably seated for a long journey down to the Cape. Fitting a child seat is a breeze, as the rear doors open wide and the ISOFIX anchors are easy to access. The flat floor allows the rear to also allow the rear to be used as a storage compartment when needed.
The boot of the RAV4 has grown to a massive 698 litres, so it can easily accommodate a family’s luggage for a holiday. Should you need more space, you can easily fold the rear seats flat, and they reveal a load volume of 1400 litres.
Engine,Drive and handling
Speaking of engines, as was mentioned previously, the RAV4 will come either in petrol, diesel or hybrid derivates. Currently though, Toyota has not released the diesel version, and they hasn’t confirmed whether SA will be getting the hybrid option. This leaves us with the choice of 2 petrol engines: the 2.0 litre and the 2.5 litre. As mentioned earlier our test car is the range-topping VX model which makes which means it gets the 2.5-litre engine produces a healthy 152 kW and 243 NM of torque. It is mated to an 8-speed auto box that sends power to all four wheels.
The RAV4 features a Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) function, This allows for maximum traction when engaged and gives you different terrains modes such as ROCK, Dirt or Mud and Sand mode.
On the road offers a better drive than some of it’s rivals, The suspension is really firm,however, It does a better job at absorbing some of the roads imperfections than the Nissan X trail but isn’t as good as the Mazda CX-5. Toyota claims a fuel comsumption of 7.3l/100km, we avereaged 8.1l/100km
Pricing and Trims
The RAV4 is offered in 3 different specifications: the entry-level GX, the more adventure biased GX-R, and the range-topping VX. Pricing starts from R417,000 for the base model, stretching all the way to R578,000 for VX. Toyota offers a 3 year/100,000km warranty, and a 6 year/90,000km service plan as standard. The resale value on RAV4’s in the past have proven to be strong, and with Toyota’s reputation for reliability, owning one should be a joy.
The midsize SUV segment is jam-packed with offerings from brands such as Haval, VW, Ford, Mazda, as well as offerings from luxury brands such as Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo. Does the RAV4 stand out in this crowded parking lot? If practicality and reliability are what you’re looking for, then absolutely. The previous RAV4 sold 500 units every month, and this new one is sure to be just as popular.