Getting all grown up
The cute, impractical, fun-loving, two door RAV that stood out from the crowd has grown up. Toyota recently launched its new RAV4, a more conservative and extremely practical four-door version.
The new look RAV4 is consistent with the revised look Toyota is imparting to all recent models. The front end has swooping lights and an almost smiling grille and bonnet, giving a rather fresh and fun look. The lower part of the bumper is black, a reminder that this is an off-roader, or rather a soft roader.
The new vehicle appears larger and longer than its predecessor. The rear end resembles a bigger version of the latest Auris. It has retained one important feature of the original RAV4: it still stands out from the crowd.
Inside the 2.5 VX version is fully specced with electrically adjustable leather seats, reverse camera, touch screen radio and sun roof. The dashboard is rather boxy and resembles a spruced up version of the Hilux dash.
The only feature that failed to impress me was the leatherette covering on the lower section of the dashboard. It looks cheap and I think it will peel in no time as it faces constant sun exposure. The rest of the interior is typical Toyota style and quality. The chunky steering wheel gave the drive a sporty feel.
The space is unbelievable, with impressive rear leg room to a cavernous boot that opens and closes at the touch of a button. The vehicle also comes with a full size spare wheel which most off roaders would appreciate. In case the luggage space is not enough, the rear seats can be lowered to create a double flatbed.
The vehicle is at home on the road, but don’t expect it to claw the corners like a sports car as the high drive position impacts the overall higher position of gravity. The vehicle will take bends at the speed limit but is not a sports car. The ride is comfortable and rather soft for a SUV.
The vehicle also comes with sport and eco buttons, depending on the mood or requirements of the driver. To facilitate a trip off the beaten path, this vehicle is equipped with an electronic diff lock and hill descent.
Although it is a soft roader, it is more than capable of meeting the common expectations of ‘city slickers’. In conclusion, I enjoyed the vehicle but believe Toyota cut some corners here. Its fuel consumption is a bit high for modern cars, but the vehicle drives smoothly and is capable of taking the family, with luggage, to almost any destination.
I just wish Toyota would reconsider bringing back the fun two door…
Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.
Engine: 2.5l 4 Cylinder
Fuel Consumption: Average 8.5l/100km
CO2: 198 g/km
Price: From R279 900,00
Car courtesy of Toyota South Africa.