Toyota RAV4 (2013-present)

It’s not the most exciting or economical SUV you can buy but the Toyota RAV4 is at least spacious and reassuringly well made

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Impressive reliability and warranty
Well equipped even in basic S trim
Spacious, practical interior

Weaknesses 

Inefficient engines, especially 2.0 VVT-i
Noisy
No diesel four-wheel drive option
Best New Discount

Toyota RAV4 Estate 2.5 vvt-i hybrid excel tss 5dr cvt [nav]

Total RRP £34,985

Your quote £31,531

You Save £3,454

The first-generation Toyota RAV4 of 1994 set the motoring world alight with its pioneering blend of SUV styling and strong performance. Things have moved on since then and today’s version, the fourth generation, seeks to hold its ground in a much more congested market dominated by the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. So what does today’s RAV4 bring to the table?

More than anything, an aura of reliability and dependability. It’s the safe if unadventurous choice, but one that’s not wholly satisfying.

On the plus side, it’s roomy and has a flat floor in the back so that it can seat three people on its rear seat in comfort. The boot is an impressive 547 litres (this includes a 100-litre underfloor storage compartment) compared with 430 litres in the Qashqai. Saying that, the Honda CR-V has 589 litres. Push down the RAV4’s back seats, though, and the space expands to 1735 litres, which is larger than the Honda. Practical touches include a storage net and large cupholders.

Where the RAV4 loses points is with its engines and transmission. While other car makers offer small-capacity petrol engines and ultra-frugal diesels, the RAV4 makes do with a couple of large petrol engines, both with noisy automatic gearboxes, and a less than cutting-edge 2.0-litre diesel manual.

The 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol is four-wheel drive only and thirsty while the 2.5 VVT-i Hybrid, which pairs the petrol engine with an electric motor and is available in two or four-wheel drive, is powerful and tax efficient but expensive.

The 2.0 D-4D diesel is the best engine. It’s not as frugal as the new generation of smaller diesels but 60mpg is not to be sniffed at. It’s the best to drive, too: nimble, composed and with accurate, if light, steering. However, it’s not available with four-wheel drive. The 2.0 VVT-i is a distant second while the Hybrid feels heavy and a little unwieldy.

Equipment levels are good across the five trim levels. Our pick is SE Business for its suite of driver-assist systems and good level of luxury features for not much more than the price of the basic Active model. Plus, it’s only offered with the 2.0 D-4D engine.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 10:45

Toyota RAV4 Engines 

2.5 VVT-i Hybrid auto, 2.0 D-4D, 2.0 Vmatic

The heart of the RAV4 engine range is the 2.0 D-4D, a diesel engine that returns a reasonable 60mpg and goes from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds. It’s not the most refined engine in the class, although it is quiet at cruising speeds. It’s only available with a manual gearbox, which will suit the majority of drivers. In any case, the automatic gearbox on the Hybrid and 2.0 VVT-i is not very pleasant to use, being noisy under acceleration.

What’s strange is that the diesel engine isn’t available with four-wheel drive. While most RAV4 owners are unlikely to use their cars off-road, some people may miss the extra traction that 4WD provides, especially when towing or on slippery roads.

On the other hand, the 2.0 VTT-i Vmatic is only available with four-wheel drive and automatic transmission, which explains its woeful economy.

The Hybrid is all about reducing CO2 emissions and largely aimed at company car drivers wishing to reduce their tax liability. It’s quick but the gearbox is noisy. It’s offered in two or four-wheel drive but it’s important to note that the towing limit for the 2WD is just 800kg compared with 1650kg for the 4WD.

Type

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 60

top speed

2.5 VVT-i Hybrid

Petrol

57.6 - 55.4mpg

191bhp

8.4s

112mph

2.0 D-4D

Diesel

60.1mpg

141bhp

9.6s

121mph

2.0 VVT-i Vmatic

Petrol

43.5mpg

149bhp

9.9s

115mph

Toyota RAV4 Trims 

Active, Business edition, Business Edition Plus, Icon, Excel

Basic Active trim is only offered with the 2.0 D-4D engine. It helps to bring down the RAV4’s entry price to around £24,000 before discount. However, while it has luxuries such as cruise control, a rear view camera, a 7.0-inch touchscreen and air conditioning, the next trim, Business Edition, which is based on it, makes a lot more sense.

Again this one is only offered with the 2.0 D-4D but the extra £1400 it costs is money well spent since it brings adaptive cruise, a sat nav, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and the Safety Sense pack of driver assist features. A slightly enhanced version, called Business Edition Plus, is only offered with the Hybrid engine.

Icon and top-spec Excel are available with all three engines but raise RAV4 prices substantially. On top of Business edition’s features, Icon adds larger (18in) wheels, leather/Alcantara trim and a powered tailgate. They certainly inject a welcome feeling of luxury but at a price.

Excel’s major contribution is leather trim and a sunroof. Together, they raise the price of the 2.0 D-4D, the cheapest model in this trim, to around £28,000 before discount, which is a lot for a car of only average ability.

Toyota RAV4 Prices

Toyota RAV4 Design

2.0 v-matic 143 design tss 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 43.5mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £29,208

You could save up to: £3117

2.5 vvt-i hybrid design tss 5dr cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £30,425

You could save up to: £3315

2.5 vvt-i hybrid design tss 5dr cvt 2wd

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 56.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £28,627

You could save up to: £3088

Toyota RAV4 Excel

2.0 v-matic 143 excel tss 5dr [nav] cvt

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 43.5mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £30,314

You could save up to: £3256

2.5 vvt-i hybrid excel tss 5dr cvt [nav]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £31,531

You could save up to: £3454

2.5 vvt-i hybrid excel tss 5dr cvt [nav] 2wd

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 56.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £29,733

You could save up to: £3227

Toyota RAV4 Icon

2.5 vvt-i hybrid icon tss 5dr cvt [cloth] 2wd

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 57.6mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £26,221

You could save up to: £2784

Toyota RAV4 Icon Tech

2.5 vvt-i hybrid icon tech tss 5dr cvt 2wd

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 57.6mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £26,700

You could save up to: £2845