One of the most easily recognizable cars on our roads is undoubtedly the Toyota RAV4 (Recreational Active Vehicle). First seen on the local motoring landscape 20 years ago the RAV4 is a compact recreational vehicle that most would agree, pioneered today’s valuable and hugely popular compact SUV market. Right off the bat, the RAV4 become a symbol of independence, fun and adventure and anyone who drove one back then epitomized all that was cool and funky.
Take for instance Penny Lebyane’s 3-door RAV4 – affectionately nicknamed the “Green Mamba”. Whenever it wasn’t parked on a pavement outside a hot party scene, one could catch a glimpse of it racing down the streets of Johannesburg with its beautiful celebrity owner at the wheel. Fast-forward a couple of decades and the Toyota RAV4’s design and ‘persona’ has evolved considerably into something quite graceful, mature and family-orientated, tactfully losing its “party-wheels” image along the way. With over 500 units sold monthly, Toyota recently made a few touch-ups to the RAV4 resulting in a refreshed and updated new model. Launched in an opulent beach-front resort in Mozambique, I found 6 things which I ♥ about the latest RAV4.
- EXTERIOR DESIGN: Hey There You Decent Looking RAV4 You! Let’s face it; Toyota doesn’t necessarily design racy /hey-look-at-me type cars. However, they do come up with moderately decent looking cars in line with the desires of the audience they appeal to. Unsurprisingly, the RAV4 is not drop-dead good looking neither is it paint-waiting-to-dry kind of boring. It’s somewhere in the middle but with enough tweaks to make it stand out and be noticed. Why I ♥it! Up front, the revamped RAV4 boasts reshaped headlamps with LEDs which come standard across the range. Its front bumper has undergone a bit of surgery too, resulting in a nose which carries the latest Toyota design language. In side profile, the RAV4 stands high and proud on redesigned 17 & 18 inch alloys whist the rear boasts a slinky tail light design that features LED lights and no visible reverse lights. I particularly liked the reshaped lower tailgate and restyled fog lamps.
2. INTERIOR: A Few ‘Just Powdered My Nose’ Sort Of Enhancements: Not much of a major redesign was needed within the interior of the new-look RAV4 to be honest. The touch-ups Toyota’s designers made are really similar to when one checks that her make-up is flawless by fussing over it a tad more. Why I ♥it! That said, certain areas within the cabin have been revised bringing a touch more quality to the RAV4, such as ambient lighting and the layout of the gear shift area cup-holders which have been revised and improved. Storage for one’s sunglasses has been included near to the overhead interior lighting cluster above the windscreen.
3. SPACE: More Is More And Then Some! Space is hardly ever an issue within a Toyota, possibly because “family” is a core factor of the Toyota ethos. As such there is loads of it in the RAV4 – front, rear and luggage compartment. Why I ♥it! For a small sized SUV the RAV4 has good leg and head room, ensuring that tall folks can be quite comfortable in the rear over long distance journeys.
4. CREATURE COMFORTS: All the More To Enjoy the Drive With My Dear! The addition of a 4.2-inch colour multi-information display in the instrument binnacle is a most welcome feature. Not only does it show details on energy usage and general vehicle information but it also allows has customisation options. Of course elements such as Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls, a rear-view camera (VX models only), aircon, radio, CD player, 6 quality speakers, seat-heaters, cruise control, trip data and the management of settings for door locking and lighting all make for a more enjoyable ride. You also get a coat-hook and key reminder warning, both which come in handy for busy women who are constantly on the go* Why I ♥ it! Being slightly technically challenged I was delighted at the simplicity with which I managed to connect the RAV4 to all my must-have gadgets. *model specific
5. RAINBOW OF COLOURS: All the More To Stand Out! A total of 8-colours make up the RAV4 rainbow and by far my favourite was the Inferno Metallic – a burnt orange type colour which is both warm and bold. Other colours include the usual whites and silvers (with fancier names of course) as well as a refreshing Blue Metallic which cannot be missed! Why I ♥ it! Both the Inferno and the Blue seem a little risqué for Toyota but I think they fit the target audience perfectly.
6. SAFETY: So That Nothing Bad Happens To You Along The Journey! Quite a few handy systems have been included in the latest RAV4, including Park Distance Control, Hill Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Driver, front passenger, side, curtain and driver knee airbags and of course ISOFIX fittings to ensure babies and infants are securely strapped in too. Why I ♥ it! By far, my fav feature on this front is the Height Adjustable Seat Belt for obvious reasons!
2.0-litre GX MT Petrol 2WD 107kW/187Nm
2.0-litre GX CVT Petrol 2WD 107kW/187Nm
2.5-litre VX 6AT Petrol AWD 132kW/233Nm
2.2-litre GX 6MT Diesel AWD 110kW/340Nm
2.2-litre VX 6ATAWD Diesel Auto 110kW/340Nm
PRICE & AFTER SALES
2.0 GX MT R351 000
2.0 GX CVT R362 900
2.2D GX MT` R439 000
2.2D AWD VX 6AT R522 000
The new RAV44 comes standard with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 5-year/90 000km service plan.
Out of interest, the Toyota Rav4 is up against plenty of other contenders and from a pricing point of view it maybe that the RAV4 is in for a bit of a fight. That said, brand loyalty has a lot to do with purchase making decisions and it will be interesting to see how the market takes to the latest compact utility vehicle from Toyota.
Toyota RAV4 COMPETITORS
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI Titanium (132kW/400Nm) – R454 900
Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 4WD Elite (130kW/392Nm) – R484 900
Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi AWD AT (130kW/392Nm) – R439 995
Mazda CX5 2.2 DE AWD Akera (129kW/420Nm) – R456 100
VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI 4Motion Sport (103kW/320Nm) – R447 500