I know the Toyota Rav4 fairly well. I’ve driven every model in the range and to date I can’t find any obvious flaw that would keep a sane person from buying one.
The only real problem was the lack of a high-end diesel in the range. If you wanted a Rav4 with all the toys, you had to have a 2,5-litre petrol engine, which isn’t exactly practical considering the price of petrol these days.
Toyota fixed this problem by making the VX top-of-the-line trim available with a 2,2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. The powertrain is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
In this guise the Rav4 is even harder to fault. The engine is refined and the six-speed automatic does a decent job in the city and on the highway. My average fuel consumption of around 8,4 l/100km isn’t bad either, considering the size and weight of the car.
What really makes this car great is the superb level of comfort on the inside. It rides beautifully and in VX guise it comes with every toy imaginable. The leather seats are extremely tasteful and offer support in all the right places. The steering is light and all of the major controls are easy to reach and easy to understand.
The VX, in addition to the leather seats mentioned above, include electrically adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, front seat heaters, automatic dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera display, a powered tailgate with memory function, cruise control and a keyless entry system.
It’s also equipped with Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel drive system. It can distribute evenly between the front and rear wheels if needed, but it normal on the road conditions it sends all the power to the front wheels.
I haven’t driven this specific model on anything but tar yet, but if it’s anything like the other AWD models I’ve driven, it should perform admirably on a gravel road.
Retailing at R438 900, the Rav4 2,2D AWD automatic represents good value for money. It’s spacious, luxurious and fairly frugal. If you’re shopping around in the segment, the Rav4, in any guise, should be near the top of your list.