Toyota Rav 4
Despite common perceptions, Toyota’s new generation RAV4 has a surprising amount of room
On a recent family ski trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Toyota RAV4 assigned as my rental car, was not the RAV4 of previous generations.
Apart from the improvements in size, power and handling, it just looks fantastic. There is now a nice squat, slightly aggressive front that says, "hey, take me seriously I am capable of more than the supermarket car park speed bumps".
The new interior design is fresh. There are angular elliptical design cue features in many of the interior items that are clean and smart.
The new generation RAV4 has gradually improved itself through its teenage years and has grown into a proper person that is a pleasure to have around.
It is now a proper mid-range SUV, there is an extra 120mm of legroom in the back and the luggage area is now over 200mm longer. The luggage area is also 230mm wider and when you fold the rear seats flat, there is nearly 2m of flat floor area.
The rear part of the floor in the rear opens up to reveal a huge additional storage compartment big enough for four pairs of ski boots.
Both models of RAV4 are powered by the very reliable 2.4litre 4 that powers a wide range of Toyotas. In the RAV4, the 16-valve engine delivers 125Kw at 6000rpm and 224Nm of torque at 4000rpm.
Handling in the new RAV4 is improved with active torque control in the 4WD system that can move torque around the system to maximise traction and control. There are also other safety features like stability and traction control.
Sensors monitor your speed, amount of acceleration and steering angle and then adjusts the amount of torque that goes to the front and rear wheels for best effect.
If things get really tough, there is a 4WD lock mode that operates on the push of a button and automatically disengages above 40kph.
The braking system has ABS, EBD and a brake assist system to keep you out of trouble. The power steering pump is electric and is claimed to be more efficient than the engine driven pump.
There are plenty of airbags and a very efficient climate air system that can be put in dual control method - just in case you are a couple that operate at different temperatures!
There are also plenty of cubbyholes and storage areas, as well as a rear armrest that has drink holders.
One very nifty feature with the rear seats is the control near the rear door, which drops the rear seats flat without you having to open a rear door - clever stuff.
Overall impression of the new RAV4 – wow. It is such an improvement in every area that it perhaps deserves to be the new RAV5.
By Gordon Legge
Capacity 2.4ltr 4 cylinder 16 valve
Front MacPherson struts
Rear Double wishbone, coil springs
Front Ventilated discs
Rear Solid disks