Toyota RAV4: The Game-Changer Has Upped Its Game

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“Out with the old and in with the new” seems to be the mantra for Toyota and its latest take on the RAV4.
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Introduction

“Out with the old and in with the new” seems to be the mantra for Toyota and its latest take on the RAV4. While it once revolutionized the SUV market by challenging and overthrowing traditional stereotypes of SUVs being bulky vehicles, it was unable to build on the initial hype and has rapidly lost its swagger since the inauguration of the first RAV4 10 years ago. Thankfully, Toyota aims to set things right this time round with the fifth-gen RAV4 that deviates from the usual features of its predecessors.  

Exterior

At first glance, the Toyota RAV4 sports a vastly different look with a face defined by sharp edges and strong lines. An imposing grille sporting a wedge-shaped design and wide headlights greet you from the front as squared-off wheel arches along the sides give off a gritty feel to it. An octagon-shaped rear rounds off what can be described as a ‘cross-octagon’ styling feature in this series. 

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Squared-off wheel arches for a sense of grit

Those who are familiar with the RAV4 will recognize how far it has come since the first iteration. Contrary to its early days as a fun and compact vehicle suitable for both urban and natural terrains, the latest model is almost like a mid-sized SUV; coming in at 4,600mm in length and 1,855mm in width, an increase of 10mm from the previous model. For comparison, it is shorter in length but wider and taller when compared to rivals such as the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback.

Interior

The evolution continues inside as the car makes its transition to digital instruments. The Rav4 sports a 7.0-inch full colour screen that showcases the speedometer and multi-info display, with changing colour themes that vary between the different driving modes such as Normal, Eco and Sports. Gadget fanatics will be spoilt with the wireless charging system on the central console as well as 3 additional fast-charging USB ports available in the front and back of the vehicle.  

Unrivalled boot space

The Toyota RAV4 is unrivalled in its class when it comes to boot space. Thanks to 60:40 folding rear seats, up to 700-litres of space is available for all your storage needs. Even with passengers on-board, a generous 547-litres has got everyone’s needs covered. And for those with a shorter reach, fret not because the door to the boot can be customized to open till a certain height. Two hanger hooks on either side are nice touches that anyone who carries an extra outfit with them would appreciate.  

Performance

Laying the foundations for the recent transformation of the Toyota RAV4 is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that facilitates cost-cutting in the manufacturing process. This then allows Toyota to focus on developing other aspects of the car, while also lowering the price. This is the same concept that has also produced the likes of the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES.

As the only variant of its kind in Singapore, it is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that provides 170bhp and 223Nm of torque. Taking its 1.5 tonne kerb weight into consideration, expect a leisurely acceleration and overall performance that would set minds at ease rather than take your breath away.

Similar to the Lexus UX, the Toyota RAV4 runs on the Direct Shift CVT gearbox that is a 6% upgrade in terms of fuel efficiency. Toyota’s official figure is 6L/100km, which is decent for a mid-sized SUV.

An interior made for the utmost comfort

For an SUV, the RAV4 handles surprisingly well, thanks to a well-sorted chassis. The RAV4 can corner at speed with with minimal body roll and swaying, which is superb for a tall SUV. Furthermore, ride quality is also decent. The suspension manages to soak up bumps without transferring them into the cabin.

Safety

While the latest revamp has seen the Toyota RAV4 undergo a new facelift coupled with advanced schematics, safety remains consistently dependable with the Toyota Safety Sense Package that consists of a Pre-Collision System, Automatic High-Beam, Lane Departure Alert and Dynamic Cruise Control. Seven airbags, VSC, ABS, Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist Control are all equipped into the vehicle to ensure the safest ride possible for you and your loved ones.

Summary

Change is the only constant, and as the world continues to develop so too, does Toyota with its latest edition of the RAV4. Much like its game-changing first-ever iteration, the modern RAV4 looks poised to hold its own in the extremely volatile market by sticking to its original game-plan of providing a comfy and secure ride without charging a premium for it. An initiative that will go down well with families looking for a quality, no-frills vehicle.

Verdict

What we like
- Bigger compared to its predecessor
- Rugged design and outlook
- TNGA platform significantly improves the handling and drivability
- Good ride quality and suspension
- Features such as memory seats and wireless charging functions are a big plus
What we do not like
- Slight sluggishness of the direct shift CVT transmission as opposed to an automatic transmission
- Sound insulation could be improved
Editor’s recommendation
Get the Rav4 if you do not want to be seen as conventional. It is stylishly designed for sporty individuals who want to stand out from the rest. A very interesting car indeed.

Specifications

Engine 

1,987cc, incline 4 

Power  

170bhp at 6600rpm 

Torque 

223Nm at 4400rpm 

Gearbox 

Continuously Variable Transmission 

0-100km/h 

Undisclosed 

Top Speed  

190km/h 

Fuel Efficiency 

6.0L/100km 

VES Band/CO2 

Band B / 137g/km 

Price 

$133,988 with COE (As of Dec 2019)

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