With the original RAV4 unveiled in 1994, Toyota singlehandedly created the SUV crossover category; and it’s that same pioneering spirit in the all-new fifth generation RAV4 that sees this iconic SUV enter a new era of striking design, performance, capability and safety.
The new RAV4 takes a bold leap forward with a dynamic new design characterised by a front grille with an assertive, angular bumper, and LED headlights, as well as taillights. The results is a vehicle that has a confident, athletic stance on the road, adding a more chiselled and practical take to the progressive design language first introduced on the Toyota CH-R.
This strong polygonal theme runs throughout the interior too with an ergonomic, high-quality cabin characterised by soft-touch surfaces, including the dashboard and door panels. The switchgear is new, with cleanly integrated buttons and pleasingly tactile controls like the soft-touch knurling on the audio and air conditioning controls.
Brushed-aluminium trim adds a premium feel and highlights the interior’s stylish design, while a low-set instrument panel with horizontal lines that flow into the door panel emphasise the cabin’s generous width and give the driver a clearer view of the road ahead.
Underpinning the new RAV4 is the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform. It’s the first time its been used for an SUV and, in the RAV4, it contributes to supple and engaging ride, as well as a spacious interior with class-leading load space.
The TNGA platform’s inherently lower centre of gravity and high body rigidity means its engineers didn’t have to compensate with a overly stiff suspension to give it decent dynamic abilities. Instead, the independent front and double wishbone rear suspension is pliant enough to soak up bumps, while still remaining agile and responsive to provide the driver with impressive dynamic control.
The new platform also means Toyota’s designers could create a vehicle that is slightly shorter than its predecessor (by 5mm), yet has a longer wheelbase (by 30mm) – and that means more interior space. It’s wider too (by 10mm), allowing for a larger, open centre console between the front seats – something more typical of larger SUVS – along with wider seats for rear passengers and increased opening-angle of the rear doors.
Along with plenty of useful and easily accessible storage for the driver and front passenger, the load space behind the rear seats is notably bigger thanks to a fully flat floor that’s 60mm longer than the previous generation’s. It now boasts a best-in-class capacity of 580 litres (a 79 litre improvement) that, when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down, can accommodate a 29-inch mountain bike without any wheels having to be removed. There are more storage nets on each side of the boot, clever details that include a hand grip on the tailgate that serve as a hanger, and a power-operated tailgate with hands-free function.
The all-new RAV4 backs up its rugged, determined looks with increased ground clearance and shorter front and rear overhangs, allowing it to take on tough terrain with ease. Along with a choice of two “Dynamic Force” naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines – a 127kW 2.0-litre and 152kW 2.5-litre – comes improvements in the all-wheel drive (AWD) technology. Now, not only do you get more responsive and fuel-efficient engines, but the new RAV4 delivers enhanced performance capabilities and control in all driving conditions.
The mechanical all-wheel-drive system is equipped with Toyota’s first dynamic torque vectoring system with Rear Driveline Disconnect. This manages torque distribution between the left and right rear wheels, providing stable performance and accurate response to steering inputs when cornering, both in dry and slippery conditions.
Toyota’s AWD Integrated Management systems – a unique feature in its class – further improves the RAV4’s AWD performance by automatically adjusting different the 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” are the modes are available.
With regard to transmissions, the RAV4 comes with a choice of three: a 6-speed manual; a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT); or an 8-speed automatic. The 2.0-litre engine is paired with either the rev-matching 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) or Shiftmatic CVT option, and comes in 2WD or AWD guise.
The 2.5-litre is exclusively combined with an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission that offers smooth and crisp shifts and lock-up control when in Sport mode.
Befitting Toyota’s occupant safety ethos, the new RAV4 is equipped with a raft of safety features. A full suite of airbags – including knee and curtain – are fitted to all models, with electronic driver aids in the form of ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Trailer Sway Control all catered for.
The VX model introduces Toyota Safety Sense for the first time on RAV4, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Control, Blind-Spot Monitor (BSM) and Pre-Crash System (PCS). With steering assist, as well as radar-controlled braking in conjunction with acceleration functions, these Adaptive Cruise Control and LDA systems essentially end a level of autonomous driving to the VX models.
For the first time the RAV4 line-up will comprise a three-grade strategy – GX, GX-R and VX.
The GX: 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights, push-button start, a seven-inch display audio and multi-information display (MID), Cruise Control, Reverse Camera and rear Park Distance Control (PDC) are also included.
The GX-R grade: aimed at customers looking for a more rugged exterior appearance and increased off-road usage, the GX has a bigger upper front grille with broad horizontal slats, a larger more prominent skidplate, chunky black over-fenders, and 18-inch alloy wheels. In terms of spec, it adds power-adjustable leather seats with lumbar support, seat heaters, leather steering wheel and trim, smart entry, auto-dimming interior mirror, rain-sensing wipers, wireless charging and climate control.
The VX grade: adds 19-inch high-gloss alloy wheels, Auto High Beam (AHB), Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, memory seats, power-operated tailgate, Panoramic View Monitor plus front PDC. The instrument cluster gets a TFT multi-information display (MID), providing key driver information, including a large LCD speedometer.
RANGE & PRICING
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 included.
2.0-litre Dynamic Force
Power: 127 kW @ 6 600 rpm
Torque: 203 Nm between 4 400 - 4 800 rpm
Fuel consumption: between 6.5 - 6.8 l/100km
C02 emissions: 147 g/km.
2.5-litre Dynamic Force
Power: 152 kW @ 6 600 rpm
Torque: 243 Nm between 4 000 - 5 000 rpm
Fuel consumption: 7.3 l/100km
C02 emissions: 166 g/km.
GX & VX: nine colour choices including the Urban Khaki, Cinnabar Red and Caribbean Blue hues.
GX-R: five complimentary colours
VX: choice of Black and Ivory leather interior
GX: Black fabric interior trim
GX-R: choice of Black and Orchid Brown Art-leather