The newly designed model does away with the spare wheel mounted on the rear door, allowing for a new modern roof-hinged tailgate. The front receives the new horizontal line grille design similar to that found on the latest Corolla hatch while the body has shrunk in height, width and length although cabin room has increased.
Quality, durability and reliability holding on to the number one spot
Toyota sold close to 10 million vehicles globally in 2012 which made it the world’s sales leader yet again. In New Zealand it echoed this trend by selling a record 22,112 new vehicles to keep it at the top of the podium it has occupied for the past 25 years.
The Toyota RAV4 (Recreational Active Vehicle 4wd) was introduced to New Zealand in 1995 and now the fourth generation has arrived. The newly designed model does away with the spare wheel mounted on the rear door, allowing for a new modern roof-hinged tailgate.
The front receives the new horizontal line grille design similar to that found on the latest Corolla hatch while the body has shrunk in height, width and length although cabin room has increased.
The interior is all new with a mature design dashboard and offers oodles of storage space. Depending on the specification level the seats are covered in material or leather and some carbon-fibre look plastics are used on the trim. The radio has a 6.1-inch touch screen display as standard kit including USB, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an SD card slot.
Boot space on GX and GXL models is a generous 506L and folding the rear seats frees up an extra 1149L. Limited models replace the full size spare wheel with a space saver type to improve boot space to 577L plus an extra 1199L with the seats folded down.
Changing the face of RAV4 as we know it
Toyota NZ has dropped the manual transmission option for our market, and even though the name would suggest all models are 4WD, for the first time we get the option of a 2WD. The new model has three engine choices, a 2.0L petrol married to a CVT transmission and driving the front wheels only, a new 2.5L petrol motor joins the range for the first time and is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission to power the four-wheel drive system, and a 2.2L diesel motor which now has a six-speed auto ‘box.. The 2.0L motor produces 107kW/187Nm, the 2.5L engine has 132kW/233Nm while the 2.2L turbocharged oil burner pushes out a useful 110kW/340Nm.
The braked towing capacities vary across the range, with CVT models restricted to a mere 800kg. The 2.5L petrol model is rated at 1,500kg and the diesel version is capable of towing 1,800kg. Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.4L/100km for the 2.0L engine, 8.5L/100km for the 2.5L and 6.5L/100km for the 2.2L.
The RAV4’s MacPherson strut front suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension setup is nicely tuned for comfort and by selecting sport mode on the AWD models, the bulk of the torque is sent to the rear wheels in a 90:10 rear/front split to effectively reduce understeer.
When the conditions get tough off the tar seal and wheel slip is detected the AWD on-demand system has the ability to split the torque evenly between the two axles. Under normal driving conditions the AWD system keeps the vehicle in FWD mode for fuel saving reasons and when going bush the driver can select 4WD lock for a permanent 50:50 torque split at speeds of up to 40km/h. The RAV4 doesn’t have the best ground clearance in the small SUV segment at 167mm to 168mm depending on the model but in the bush it’s as capable as most competitors’ small SUVs.
Passive safety comes in the form of ISOFIX child seat anchorages and seven airbags; driver and front passenger frontal airbags and side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag as well as two curtain airbags.
Active safety features include Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Assist Control (DAC) for the AWD models, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control. As expected, the RAV4 achieves a five star ANCAP safety rating.
There are three specification levels available; the 2.0L petrol model is available in GX and GXL versions while the 2.5L petrol and 2.2L diesel add a Limited spec.
All models have a rear boot spoiler and proximity sensors on the rear bumper. And all models except the 2.0L GX are fitted with roof rails. The GX has 17 inch steel wheels, while the GXL adds 17-inch alloy wheel rims, front fog lamps, dual-zone air-conditioning and a reversing camera. Limited models have 18-inch alloys, a powered tailgate, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and satellite navigation to name a few.
Pricing starts at $39,990 for the 2.0L 2WD GX and $44,490 for the GXL. The 2.5L is priced at $47,290 for the GX and $51,490 for the GXL, with the Limited priced at $60,790. The 2.2L diesel is priced from $49,290 up to $62,790.