The Toyota Rav4 was first debuted in Europe in 1994 and it was a very exciting vehicle on our roads. It was unique in the way that SUVs weren’t even nearly as common as they are now. As the segment grew the RAV4 started receiving competition with some excellent models like the Nissan Qashqai, the BMW X3, the Ford Kuga, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Mitsubishi ASX. While this is one of the original compact SUVs it didn’t move fast enough with the times and the Nissan Qashqai overtook it swiftly in terms of sales. This is a good looking SUV but for some reason it appears to be overlooked in its segment which is a pity because it’s a good car.
At the time of writing this article Toyota announced that in 2016 the RAV4 will be revised for 2016 and it will be available with a new BMW-built 2.0 litre engine. Of course this is not the first time Toyota has outsourced from BMW, with a 1.6 litre BMW power outlet in the Toyota Auris. Toyota’s 2.0 litre D-4D engine offers 143 bhp and we’re told that it has a maximum speed of 195 bhp. The vehicle charges from 0-100 km/h in 9.6 seconds. Toyota also offers a 2.5 litre hybrid model and this is said to give a top speed of 180 km/h and a sprint from 0-100 km/h in 8.3 seconds, which is fast.
The RAV4 has a nicely tuned suspension that shouldn’t throw up too many problems on Irish roads. It deals well with bumps and road imperfections and it shouldn’t leave you bouncing all around the cabin from aftershock. The steering is both accurate and responsive and therefore this vehicle offers an engaging ride. Although we are yet to drive the 2016 upgraded model the body control of the current model is good and there is only a small amount of body roll on corners. This machine grips the road well and should leave drivers feeling secure.
The current diesel engines can be loud, especially when put under pressure. The car also suffers a small bit from road noise and wind noise. Again, the padding may be better in the 2016 model and we will update when we know more.
Toyota has been making great efforts in recent years to make their interiors more interesting. As you move up the trim lines things are certainly nicer. The new RAV4 may get the same upgrade treatment that the Avensis and Auris did in 2015 and if this happens the inside of the RAV4 will be a nice place to sit. At the moment it is not too bad. The plastics on lower level model can feel a bit bland but there is no doubting that they are put together securely.
The RAV4 has had long enough to learn about safety and it should come as no surprise to anyone that it received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP test in 2013. It received 89% for adult occupancy and 82% for child occupancy. For pedestrian safety it scored 66%. This car is available with a myriad of safety systems like front and rear parking sensors as well as vehicle stability control
When the current model was released in 2013 it came with buckets of extra space. Head and leg room to the front and rear is ample. The car is 4605mm long and 1845mm in height. The boot capacity is a very attractive 547 litres and the space is easily accessible too.