Long-term test (Introduction): Toyota RAV4 2,5 AWD VX

Having been impressed with the new Corolla Hatch for a few months, this RAV4 is like more of the same, simply supersized. Our car is finished in Moonlight Ocean Metallic, a rich, deep blue with the optional interior colour beige. This is richer and classier than your normal bland beige and complements the dark exterior well. 

The driving environment is similarly upmarket to the Corolla’s, where comfort and luxury features abound. Bonuses on the RAV4 include a higher seating position, more space on the rear seat and a larger boot. 

If the interior seems like déjà vu, the engine and gearbox are anything but. No turbocharging here and it has a torque converter transmission instead of a CVT. The engine, which has good grunt, is perhaps a bit too eager off the line but gear shifts are quick with a brief power cut to mimic manual shifting; neat. Three drive settings can be selected with a prod of buttons: eco, normal and sport. I prefer eco because it allows slightly smoother acceleration than the others. Higher revs are unnecessary due to the low-down torque figure being above 200 N.m, even if the maximum of 243 N.m is delivered at 4 000 r/min. But wait, there’s more. The closest button to the driver in the console area is a “snow” setting. This makes progress smooth and refined. 

You would expect the ride quality to be even better than the Corolla’s but it feels the bumps more. The former offers one of the best shock-absorption characteristics available so the stiffness is possibly down to the lower-profile 19-inch tyres and rims. Ground clearance is much better; important for an AWD layout. 

The instrument cluster design is interesting. Instead of conventional dials, there are three 180-degree segments, horizontal for speedo and vertical for the rev counter and gauges. Additionally, the speedometer display can switch from analogue sweep to digital numerals. I prefer the analogue. You can select a variety of screen options such as a diagram showing which wheels are receiving the bulk of the torque. 

It’s early days but the overall fuel consumption is 8,73 L/100 km. The car had just over 4 000 km on arrival so I’m expecting that figure to drop further as it loosens up. 

 After 1 month
Current Mileage: 
731 km
Average fuel consumption: 
8,73 L/100 km
We like: 
interior space; classy trim
We don’t like: 
space-saver spare wheel

 

Long-term test (Update 1): Toyota RAV4 2,5 AWD VX

One of the RAV4’s useful features is a blind-spot indicator. This has often warned me of impending accidents when switching lanes. I usually turn off lane-departure warning, though. With our roads so often under repair, false alarms are too frequent (even though the Toyota system is subtle). 

While on a recent motorcycle trip with the RAV4 as the support vehicle, a dedicated Toyota enthusiast in Paternoster took a shine to the wheel hub badges, prising them from their slots. I spotted this only while washing the car the following day. Replacements are on their way. 

After 2 months
Current Mileage: 
3 345 km
Average fuel consumption: 
9,11 L/100 km