Juliet reviews…The RAV4

It was way back in 1994 when we were first introduced to the Toyota RAV4. It was a new kind of car back then, it was a sort of compact off-roader, but didn’t look like an SUV, but didn’t exactly look like a hatchback either. But boy, were they popular!

Fast forward to 2019 and the fifth generation RAV4 has just arrived in South Africa. You cannot even compare the first generation to this one, but Toyota has had to move with the market and customers are demanding more from their cars. The design also needed a good make over and many will agree that this is the best looking RAV4 yet.

It is underpinned by the all-new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) programme which gives the car its low centre of gravity, light weight, and a strong, balanced chassis. It also means the car handles better than before and so makes for a more enjoyable drive. The TNGA platform underpins the “confident and natural” driving quality Toyota has sought for this new model. Beyond the benefits of the chassis itself, further detailed measures make important contributions to its overall quality.

Thanks to this TNGA platform, the interior is more spacious. The boot has even seen an increase of 79-litres, making the 580-litre boot one of the biggest in the segment. And the segment is tough remember? Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan….to name but a few. The new RAV4 has its work cut out for it, but I think this model is up to the challenge.

For the first time the RAV4 will be offered in in a three-grade strategy. The familiar base model GX and flagship VX are now joined by the ‘edgier’ GX-R which sits slap bang between the two familiar trim levels. All offer a long list of standard features.

The new Toyota RAV4 is offered with a choice of two petrol engines, namely the 2.0-litre (127 kW/203 Nm) or the 2.5-litre (152 kW/243 Nm). Both engines offer enough power, but your choice might also come down to the transmission type. You can opt for a manual, CVT or 8-speed automatic. This 8-speed automatic is paired to the flagship 2.5-litre VX AWD and is just superb, but if you want convenience but not the price tag, you will be happy with the improved CVT.

The fuel consumption is claimed at 6.5 – 6.8l/100 km for the 2.0-litre and at 7.3l/100 km for the 2.5-litre engine. The All-Wheel Drive system on the new RAV4 automatically adjusts the different vehicle systems – steering assist, brake and throttle control, shift pattern and drive torque distribution – according to the drive mode selected. ‘Mud & Sand’ and ‘Rock & Dirt.’

The new RAV4 clearly offers more than it ever has before and if you are already a fan of the trusted Toyota badge, then this will be a no-brainer for you. For the rest of you, take one for a spin, you might just be convinced.


  • RAV4 2.0 GX MT 2WD – R 416 400
  • RAV4 2.0 GX CVT 2WD – R 427 600
  • RAV4 2.0 GX-R CVT AWD – R508 100
  • RAV4 2.0 VX CVT 2WD – R505 400
  • RAV4 2.5 VX 8AT AWD – R577 900

All models carry a 6-services/90 000 km service plan with 12-month/15 000 km intervals. A 3-year/100 000 km Warranty is also provided.

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