Toyota’s RAV4 has long been a staple part of their market makeup in the UK. With the latest generation seeing the hybrid treatment along with the rest of Toyota’s line-up, how does their faithful SUV fair.
Our RAV was fitted with the 2.5 litre hybrid petrol engine. Meaning it’s four-wheel drive…not 4×4, you would need trick diffs and ideally a low range box for that. But all four wheels can be powered at the same time.
Coming in at £33,970 with £545 metallic Mica paint it’s not cheap. The RAV4’s Active trim starts at nearly £10k less for £24,205 with a 2.0 litre diesel, granted it’s only front wheel drive.
In side profile, it’s still unmistakably a RAV4. There’s that bold roofline and angular C pillar that has featured on the RAV over the previous two generations.
This new facelift on the 2013 model sees updated rear lights, a slightly tweaked back bumper and a completely fresh front end. Giving the RAV4 a much neater, sportier look.
The RAV4 can still compete with the likes of Peugeot’s 3008, but it could be said the design is getting a little long in the tooth.
Fitting a 2.5 litre petrol in this day and age is almost unheard of, but because it’s coupled to a hybrid system Toyota manage to get away with it…without leaving mouths gaping.
This RAV will pump out just 118g/km of nasties…apparently. MPG is quoted at 55.4 whether that’s Urban or Combined. Over 300 odd miles of mainly long A road journeys we only achieved 37.5.
Now, that MPG speaks volumes. Toyota are trying to make a 2.5 litre petrol economical, by strapping a weighty hybrid system to it. The RAV4 weighs in at 1.7 tonnes…it’s a hefty car.
0-62 is fairly nippy though at 8.4 seconds, which isn’t bad in an SUV of this size.
Handling isn’t one of the RAV4’s strong points, there’s a lot of body roll to be had in the corners, whilst it pitches a tad too much under harder braking.
It does however soak up a myriad of bumps, lumps and potholes beneath it.
Its CVT is nice on the whole, but as with every variable ‘box it gets shouty when revved hard…that’s to be expected.
Over long journeys the RAV4 is pretty comfy, eating up miles at motorway speeds with ease. This is where the economy should happen, with the hybrid cutting in and out.
But pulling away from junctions on hybrid power alone is akin to watching a tortoise start the 100 metre race.
It’s just dangerously slow if you try to set off keeping the throttle in that golden ‘electric only’ zone. You’re forced to use more go, and then the petrol engine kicks in.
Braking is well modulated on the whole, but the regeneration tends to kick in a bit harsher when you head toward becoming stationary.
We did take the RAV4 off road to see how it faired. Only mildly mind you.
We went for a short drive into and across the wilderness on some soft muddy ruts. Even without proper four wheel drive it kept us going when slip occurred.
Through the external facelift, the interior shows most signs of the RAV’s age. Harder, scratchy plastics are to be found up on top of the dash, and the inside of the doors are very plasticy when opened.
The stitched faux leather on the steering wheel isn’t much better, nor are the plastics that house the window switches.
A saving grace is the leather effect trim across the middle of the dash and the smartly laid out infotainment. But then you peek above and see some rather large and empty air vents up the top of the dash.
Rear seat legroom is good, as is the headroom, but with the RAV4 being the biggest vehicle in its class you expect that.
The electronic boot opens and closes painfully slow, whilst you stand there contemplating the point in it when your arms and some gas struts can do the job much faster.
Beneath the labouring boot lid there’s 501 litres of space and a nice lip free load space which is a bonus.
We really wanted to like the RAV4 as it’s a strong looker. The strange engine choice of test model is probably best to be avoided, in favour of the two-wheel drive diesel.
It’s just a car that’s showing its age a little bit, when compared to the likes of Peugeot’s new 3008 the RAV4 faces some stiff competition.