What's the used Toyota RAV4 4x4 like?
The Toyota RAV4 is a large SUV that has grown over the years in terms of both size and engine options. This fourth-generation model is indeed noticeably longer and wider than the version that went before it, and it dropped the features made its predecessors so distinctive, namely the tailgate-mounted spare wheel and side-hinged rear door, for a more conventional hatchback.
On the used market, it finds itself in a category chock-full of competitors, with the likes of the smaller Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca at one end and larger and premium products such as the BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque at the other.
Toyota offered this RAV4 with a number of different engine options: 124bhp 2.0-litre and 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel engines, a 151bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 194bhp 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. There's also front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and automatic or manual gearboxes, depending on the engine. A 143bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine sourced from BMW was offered from 2016, replacing the earlier 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre units.
The diesel models are a little short of grunt, and there's a gruffness to the engine noise. The petrol car feels short of low-down go, too. That leaves the petrol-electric hybrid; it has good mechanical refinement and plenty of mid-range torque, thanks to the electric motor and an elastic-feeling CVT gearbox that's well calibrated to take advantage of that easy pulling power. It can even tow quite well (unusual for a hybrid), particularly in four-wheel-drive form.
In fact, the RAV4 is an easy car to drive. However, its ride is slightly unsettled and its handling is less responsive than that of some large SUVs. It isn't particularly comfortable, either, nor is it as capable off-road as some rivals, despite its rugged air.
Few could argue with the versatility of the RAV4, though, because it has loads of head and leg room in the front and near class-leading amounts of space in the back. The hatchback rear makes loading the cargo area far easier in tight parking spaces, and the wide opening helps when you're fitting in awkwardly shaped items. The load bay is almost two metres long when you fold the rear seats flat.
As for trim levels, there were three to choose from initially: Active, Icon and Invincible. Active models got 17in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, air conditioning and Bluetooth, while Icon provided a lot more kit, including a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, a powered tailgate and cruise control. Invincible added full leather upholstery, heated front seats and rear parking sensors.
Later on, Business Edition was added. It was based on Active but added the touchscreen from Icon, along with sat-nav, to appeal company car drivers. Invincible was rebranded as Excel in 2015.
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