Back in 1994 Toyota’s Rav4 created the compact SUV sector. Four generations on and the brand hopes to recapture some of the ground it lost to the competition with most major brands now having an SUV in their line-ups.
The latest model entered UK dealerships in March 2013 and benefits from a new design which although fresh is perhaps not distinctive enough to differentiate it in in a sector which already boasts some attractive sleek looks.
The new Rav4 is also far from compact having grown 205mm in length and 30mm in width, although it sits 25mm lower than its predecessor. The extra dimensions pay dividends inside with a spacious cabin and generously extended rear legroom. The boot is deep and wide and becomes a large load bay when the seats are lowered flat, a manoeuvre which is refreshingly easy to execute. Best of all the new top-hinged tailgate can be electronically operated from the key fob.
We tested the 4X2 2.0-litre diesel model, with an engaging 6-speed manual box, in mid-range Icon trim. Specification and comfort levels were high with dual zone climate control, sports front seats and touch screen infotainment system all standard.
The 2WD option is the smart choice with better fuel economy, lower emissions and a price tag £2,200 lower than the equivalent AWD model; indeed the entry point for the range is an unbelievably competitive £22,595. During our week long 500 mile test we didn’t miss four wheel drive and achieved 45mpg; an acceptable rate as the figure included a lot of urban driving with the stop/start system switched off.
The new Rav4 is a more grown up and imposing looking vehicle than before, which by delivering high levels of comfort and practicality will fulfil all manner of family needs.
Piece written by Curtis Hutchinson for motortrader.com
Model: Toyota Rav4, Icon, 4X2
Engine: 2.0-litre, diesel, 122bhp
Consumption: 57.6mpg (claimed), 45mpg (on test).