RAV4 JUST KEEPS GOING RIGHT. WE TEST THE FLAGSHIP VX

RAV4

There’s many a good reason why Toyota’s SUV pioneer keeps leading the way

The first Toyota RAV4 was a true pioneer. It established the small SUV niche a quarter-century back. And it’s made it its own ever since. Of course, being a Toyota has helped, but RAV4 has always been a bit edgy and different. As any market leader should be.

RAV 4 REDEFINED THE FUN SUV. AGAIN.

This fifth-generation model took RAV4 to the next level to once again re-define the fun SUV niche in an expressive and angular look. We baulked at it at first, but that mouth has grown on us!

This particular VX is pretty cool – in spite of its Stellenbosch Boer se Vrou white hue, that is. This one’s subtler grille treatment and bright alloys complement the car’s lower, wider stance and longer wheelbase. Inside, this one’s black trim is just as unadventurous, but there are a few cool buts in there.

Our flagship VX packed the 152kW 243Nm 2.5-litre that sips 7.3 l/100km at 165g/km turning an 8-speed automatic. We found it lithe and responsive on the road – in part of course thanks to the fifth RAV4 also benefiting a stiffer platform and lower centre of gravity, latest all-wheel drive technology, dynamic torque vectoring.

A GOOD BASE. AND ALL THE BITS, TOO

Rear Driveline Disconnect further manages torque distribution between the rear wheels for stable performance and accurate cornering, response, whatever the driving conditions. AWD Integrated Management automatically adjusts different vehicle systems – steering assist, brake and throttle control, shift pattern and drive torque distribution. RAV4 also has ‘Mud & Sand’ and ‘Rock & Dirt’ drive modes. Not that it needs them. It’s damn good on the dirt, all on its own.

Step inside and our RAV4 Vs came impressively stacked too. There are TFT multi-info and large LCD speedo displays, as well as the expected infotainment bits and a Panoramic View Monitor Plus. Add a Reverse Camera and rear Park Distance Control. Don’t forget those leather seats with lumbar and heating, a leather steering wheel, smart entry, and auto-dimming mirror and wipers, wireless charging and climate control, memory seats, a power tailgate and front PDC.

There’s more — Auto High Beam, a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and all the safety too. That includes a full set of Airbags, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability, Hill Assist and Trailer Sway controls. Amd Toyota Safety Sense adds Adaptive Cruise and Steering Controls, Lane Departure Alert, a Blind-Spot Monitor and Pre-Crash.

RAV4 HAS ALL THE TOYOTA PLUSSES, OF COURSE

All RAV4s carry a 6-services/90 000 km service plan with 12-month/15 000km intervals and a 3-year/100 000km Warranty. And all those regular Toyota QDR and back-up plusses, of course. More than adequate for a five-hundred grand car. RAV4 is a supremely equipped, well-built, dependable and reliable.

It’s a family 4×4 that performs as well on the beaten track as it does off it. You’ll also get most of your money back one day too. Little wonder its SA’s most popular SUV for its size… — Michele Lupini

Images — Marcella Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Toyota RAV4 2.5 AWD VX
Engine: 152 kW 24 3Nm 2.5-litre petrol I4
Drive: CVT AWD
TESTED:
0-60km/h:         4.04 sec
0-100km/h:        8.35 sec
0-160km/h:        20.29 sec
400m:             15.9 sec @ 144 km/h
80-120km/h:       5.58 sec
120-160km/h:      8.84 sec
CLAIMED:
VMax:             200km/h
Fuel:             7.3 l/100km
CO2:              166 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/6 service 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R644K
RATED:            8
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