Toyota’s eagerly awaited all-new RAV4 arrived in Ireland earlier this year, and much to our liking it has left a positive impression on us. Customers will be delighted to note that this new model is significantly cheaper then its predecessor, with prices commencing from €27,995. This fourth-generation RAV4 has taken a step forward in terms of performance and refinement to result in a truly competitive Compact SUV.
Externally the new RAV4 is 155mm longer, 25mm wider and 60mm lower then its precursor. Toyota’s engineers also increased its wheelbase by 100mm. One of the highlights of the new RAV4 is the introduction of a new 2.0-litre D-4D diesel engine. It has sufficient power for all occasions, producing a healthy 124hp and 310Nm of torque, and emits 127g/km of CO2. It’s therefore seated in tax band B1, with an annual road tax fee of €270. There is also a 2.2-litre 150hp D-4D diesel engine available and a 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol unit offering 151hp. Undoubtedly the volume seller will be the 2.0-litre D-4D variant, it’s also the model we test drove. This new RAV4 has a more purposeful look than before, which gives it some road presence. The 2.0-litre diesel engine has a two-wheel-drive configuration, with an all-wheel-drive setup in the 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol. This two-wheel-drive format aids fuel consumption, with a combined average of just 4.9L/100km (57.6mpg).
The first thing that’s apparent when you sit inside the RAV4 is the sense of space on offer, it’s a light and airy cabin with copious amounts of space for front and rear seat occupants. The driving position is elevated with great visibility all round. The RAV4 is available across three grades, Aura, Luna and Sol. The entry-level Aura model comes adequately equipped as standard with LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, 17” alloy wheels, front fog lights, multi-function steering wheel, tyre pressure warning indicator, hill-start assist control and stability control all included. Our test car was the mid-range Luna grade, this certainly comes with all the comfort and equipment you could require. Just some of the standard features include a 6.1” colour touch screen display, rear view camera, dual zone climate control, cruise control, chrome garnish on front grille and supportive front seats. There is a leather-like covering on the upper dash and around the main controls which is soft to touch and adds a heightened luxury to the car’s interior.
The 2.0-litre diesel unit offers abundant power for city and motorway commutes, it accelerates effortlessly throughout the rev range, combined with a light six-speed manual transmission the RAV4 is uncomplicated and relaxing to drive. Its handling impressed us, you can drive it at a decent pace through twisty sections of road with precision, and for an SUV this car handles with impeccable manners and responds to driver inputs accurately. One of its main competitors is surely the equally skilful Mazda CX-5 which also demonstrates that SUV’s can be fun to drive.
Toyota has achieved what it needed to do with its aging RAV4, replace it with this new model which combines all the precise traits a modern SUV requires. The RAV4 is now venerable both inside and out, it’s also satisfying to drive.[table “151” not found /]