– Article/photos by Rod Fuller –
Some of the best trips in life are taken with friends. And here at Fleet Auto News we’ve always had a soft spot for the RAV4, the original and still one of the most popular SUV’s available today. So with a new model RAV4 due soon, I took the current RAV4 GXL for a short country escape.
The GXL I drove had the optional premium interior with leather seats all round (heated in front) and 10-way adjustable for the driver, so my trip was already off to a comfortable start. Heading up through the New England districts and then over to the coast before heading south again, I had a really good mix of highways and regional roads (complete with some really twisty stuff) to test the RAV4’s mettle.
The RAV handled it all admirably, providing a smooth and comfortable drive at all times. The 2.0lt petrol engine (107kW/187Nm) coupled with a seven speed CVT transmission (with Eco/Sport modes) driving the front wheels, was smooth and economical. Toyota lists 7.0lt/100km (combined cycle) and power delivery is enough for about town. On the open road though I’d keep it in ‘Sport’ mode, as that helps ‘liven’ the engine up, and I felt at highways speeds power delivery from this powertrain was a bit wanting. Alternatives would be to consider either the 2.5lt petrol or 2.2lt diesel motors, both of which provide more power.
This model whilst in design terms a few years old, is still a contemporary and modern SUV, very attractively styled, especially with its 18 inch sport alloy wheels (235/55R18 Dunlop tyres). I really like the look of the DRL’s, distinctive – bold, and the headlights are very good lighting the way for country night driving.
A mid-sized five seater SUV, the interior space is very versatile with excellent head and leg room for rear seat passengers. There’s storage space galore, with up to 760lt luggage space and an underfloor compartment to store the cargo blind, good size console bin in the front; space to put your phone, four cup holders (two front and rear) plus five bottle holders (four front and one rear) – Toyota must think RAV4 drivers get really thirsty!!
On the tech side, the RAV4 still holds its own in most areas but is showing its age in some. The 2018 model GXL does feature radar cruise control, hill start assist, keyless entry, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Two 12V outlets are provided (one for front and one rear seats) and two USB in the front only, and there is also dual zone climate control, but no vents for rear seat passengers.
The infotainment display with a six inch colour touchscreen is practical and reasonably easy to use, but feels a little dated and isn’t compatible for the newer platforms of Apple Car Play/Android Auto. With the new model coming later in the year, it hopefully will address this, as well as adding additional safety features such as forward collision warnings/AEB.
RAV4 comes with a five year unlimited kilometre warranty and offers roadside assistance plans.
This RAV4 is a great mid-sized SUV, and along my trip felt like I was travelling with an old friend. It’s pleasurable to drive and offers versatile practical motoring that would serve any owner well for years to come. And who knows what ‘run out’ deals may be offered over the coming months to help you run away with a RAV4.
What does it look like as a Novated Lease?
|RRP (including GST)||$31,490|
|Annual Savings with a Novated Lease||$2,487|
This data is from the 2019 Novated Leasing Guide produced by Fleet Auto News.