JOE’s Car Review: Toyota RAV4 7 years ago

JOE’s Car Review: Toyota RAV4

Recently, JOE’s Oisín Collins tested out the all-new Toyota RAV4 by taking it through its paces on some fairly tough Irish roads. Here’s a look at how he got on.

It’s been almost 20 years since the first Toyota RAV (Recreational Active Vehicle – for those who've always wondered but never bothered to look it up) was launched in Ireland and within that time we've enjoyed three generations of the model – so Toyota have certainly been doing something right. The new fourth generation is now on sale with 132-plates and it’s starting off cheaper than the outgoing generation. So, without further adieu, here’s a look at how I got on in the RAV4.

Car tested: Toyota RAV4 2.0 D-4D 125 Luna 2WD - €29,995

So, who would drive a RAV4? I imagine the new RAV4 will gain a lot of customers who want a motor that has a medium to high ride height and buckets of space, but I can’t help feel like it’s lost a little bit of it’s ruggedness with the new generation. It will still handle a grassy road or steep incline with no problems, but taking it into a field of pure muck is probably asking a bit much.


The Drive

The all-new RAV4 is extremely easy to drive. In fact, you could argue that it’s a little too easy to drive. You can pretty much manoeuvre the car with a single finger and while that makes the drive a lot easier it also makes it a bit boring. Tight corners are no match for the new RAV4 and thanks to a reversing camera (available in Luna and Sol models), parking the big motor is simple. As for motorway driving, it feels like you’re floating on a waterbed, and not just any water; I’m talking about that Fiji stuff that costs a fortune.

While all that makes the everyday driver side of me happy, it makes the rugged caveman feel a little left out. When you start taking the RAV4 over less desirable roads you'll notice the suspension starting to struggle a little and if you're taking it over any type of pothole-laden lane then you better make sure your coffee cup has a lid on it. On the plus side, for a large vehicle like the RAV the CO2 emissions are surprisingly low at 127 g/km so your motor tax is only €270 per year. We tested out the 2.0L diesel, but you can also get a 2.2L diesel or a 2.0L petrol.


The Style

Toyota has gone back to the drawing board for the styling of the new RAV4. They’ve completely changed the exterior so that it’s in keeping with the rest of the new Toyota fleet and although it’s lost some of it’s off-road ruggedness, it’s gained a more sporty feel to it compared to the previous generation. The new RAV4 is a little bit lower (-60mm), but it’s longer and wider which means it has a lot more legroom inside and feels planted to the ground on the outside. It also comes with a 547-litre boot, so sticking the golf clubs in along with the shopping is no problem. The interior is nice but it leaves a little to be desired as there’s a fair bit of plastic trimming. Having said that the interior is extremely comfortable, spacious and the driver position is perfect. So no major complaints really.


Sex appeal

While the new RAV4 might not be as rough and ready as it used to be, it has a nice sporty edge to it that focuses on sharp straight lines. It’s a great looking car and one of the only things that I miss from the last generation is that the spare wheel is no longer mounted to the boot door. Other than that, it’s got more sex appeal than most SUVs on the road and it will certainly stand out in the car park.



The three RAV models currently available in Ireland are the entry-level Aura, mid-range Luna and top-of-the-range Sol. All three come with LED daytime lights, Bluetooth, hill-assist, fog-lights and USB port as standard. The Luna that I tested also came with some leather trimmings, rain sensors, cruise control, and a 6.1” colour touch screen display. There are plenty of other options available for the new RAV, but the car tested had everything a driver could want.

Some stats

Price range - €27,995 – €43,520
0-100 kph -  10.5 seconds
Max speed -  185kph
Length - 4,570mm
Width - 1,845mm
Height - 1,660mm

The Verdict

The all-new RAV4 is a great drive, it looks really good and has loads of room on the inside, but it feels more suited to the motorway and shopping centre car park than back road and overgrown country lanes.

For more info on the RAV4 check out the Toyota Ireland website.