Toyota RAV4 2019 Review
Toyota’s RAV4 has been a familiar sight on our roads for an impressive quarter century and during this time it has grown from small and funky to large and just a little more serious. Generation five is brings notable updates with a new platform, revised hybrid drive train and significant new design direction.
Toyota has certainly moved the latest RAV4 into
a bolder place. There’s an overall chunkiness of form which offers a reassuring
impression of solidity and capability. There are hints of Jeep Compass in the
angular ‘polygonal’ wheel arches and the slender headlights give its face a
Inside, there are are echoes of the chunky
exterior and angular forms. Controls are intuitive and straight-forward to operate
(especially the large rubberised knobs for adjusting the climate); displays are
clear and particularly easy to read. The main infotainment touch-screen is a
bit of a stretch away and more regularly-used ‘hot keys’ are furthest away from
the driver (being set up for left-hand-drive markets).
The cabin is more spacious than the previous
model with particularly good room in rear. Further back still is the decent
boot with a 580 litre capacity. Overall, the interior design a little
disjointed but seemingly well put together.
Keeping the engine options simple, there’s just
one: the new 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid with either front- or
all-wheel-drive (generating 218PS/163kW and 222PS/160kW respectively).
There are four equipment levels: Icon, Design,
Dynamic and Excel. The entry Icon is equipped as well as many mid-spec
competitors with 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, auto wipers and
lights, push-button start, LED headlights, heated, electronically folding
mirrors and rear-view camera.
Design adds 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry,
powered tailgate and front parking sensors. Excel additions include blind spot
monitor and rear cross traffic alert along with a number of interior upgrades
including leather upholstery. Dynamic brings in front sports seats and bi-tone
Importantly, all models are fitted with an
updated version of Pre-Collision which can now detect pedestrians on the road
ahead during low-light driving as well as in daylight.
Behind the wheel
As we have enjoyed in Toyotas for some time, the self-charging, hybrid powertrain is clever, smooth and unobtrusive. Performance is respectable with 0-62mph reached in just 8.1 seconds for the front-wheel-drive model (8.4 seconds for AWD). It has a comfortable and commanding forward view (the new model’s bonnet being 15mm lower than the outgoing version) and refinement is good. It settles down well at motorway speeds although some more minor road imperfections are transmitted into the car. Impressively, for a vehicle of the RAV4’s height, there’s surprisingly little body roll through the corners.
Toyota has considerable experience in the hybrid field and the latest RAV4 demonstrates seamless merging of petrol and electric power. If full EV or plug-in hybrid won’t work for your driving pattern, it’s an easy way to enjoy electric propulsion some of the time. It is distinctive to look at and we like its ease of use and good levels of practicality carried over from the earlier models.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter