The Toyota RAV4 is one of the oldest compact crossover SUV with more than 20 years of being in existence and South Africa has been the target market.
Although I did not love the design of the previous generations as I looked at them as visual assaults, they were all wicked. Now in its fifth generation, the RAV4 has captured my heart, I love the boxy design and the dazzling blue colour worn by my RAV4 GX-R 4WD tester.
I will not go into details describing how the SUV looks, we have pictures for that.
Overall, it is a well-built vehicle, the ride quality is spot on and the chassis provides mostly gravy too. Direction changes are accurate and progressive, the car gaining yaw and roll quite precisely, thanks to a reasonably alert steering setup and the new platform’s low centre of gravity.
I still wonder why manufacturers always choose to go the CVT way because CVT transmissions do not seem to work for SUVs and the one fitted here is not even close to impressing me. It has a tendency to go gear hunting as soon as it detects an incline or when you plummet your right foot with intent; the engine will rev incredibly high which has a negative impact on fuel economy.
It is the same transmission that is fitted in the new Corolla with a 1.2-litre engine, but the one in the RAV4 feels a bit discordant with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. The six-speed manual transmission variant is a better proposition.
The engine churns out 127 kW of power and 203 Nm of torque.
The interior is a lovely place to sit it and it is nicely finished. The front seats offer excellent support while there is plenty of room for the rear passenger of all statures. The boot is bigger as it managed to swallow my crew’s video equipment with so much ease but I wish the model came with a power tailgate.
The lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto disappointing, however, the system carried its functions well and the three USB ports, auxiliary input, Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charger were very much appreciated to have.
The RAV4 is such a great SUV yet the segment it is in is a very competitive one infested with SUVs that do not only drive better but have all the latest tech. If performance and tech do not sit on the top of the list of things you look for in a car, then get the RAV4.
The RAV4 GX-R 4WD is priced from R516 100.