Review

Toyota RAV4 SUV

Toyota RAV4 SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Very spacious
  • Large boot
  • Long warranty
Cons
  • Not very fun to drive
  • Upright styling
  • Expensive

"The Toyota RAV4 is a well-equipped and practical SUV with a long warranty and economical engines."

The original Toyota RAV4 invented the small SUV class when it arrived in 1994, and its strong sales were proof that customers wanted a rugged-looking vehicle that favoured fun driving above off-road grip.

Today, the RAV4 has lost some of its original character in the pursuit of more space and better fuel economy. It now feels like a very big car inside, with lots of space for four or even five passengers, a large boot and plenty of storage bins for your family's odds and ends.

One petrol and two diesel engines are available. We’d recommend the latter pair, as both easily manage more than 40mpg, while the petrol is expensive to run. A five-year/100,000-mile warranty should give peace of mind and boost resale values, as it can be transferred to the next owner.

There are three trim levels available on the RAV4: Active, Icon and Invincible. The entry-level trim is a little sparse, but the others get a reversing camera, a touchscreen, a DAB digital radio and cruise control. Optional extras include everything you need to enjoy (or make it look like you enjoy) rugged outdoor pursuits – bike racks, mud-flaps, roof boxes and the like.

The Toyota RAV4 is certainly a sensible choice, then, but in losing some of its character it has also allowed rivals including the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Kuga to get ahead. Other rivals in this class to consider include the Volkswagen Tiguan (a more upmarket compact SUV that's getting on a bit now) and the Mitsubishi Outlander, which isn’t the most exciting car on the road either, but makes a great family motoring choice.

Prices start from just under £22,500, which will get you the basic diesel with front-wheel drive in Active trim. Go for the more powerful diesel with four-wheel drive, automatic transmission and the highest trim level and you’re approaching £30,000.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.3 / 5

Choose the front-wheel-drive diesel version of the Toyota RAV4 for the lowest running costs

Engines, drive & performance

2.6 / 5

The Toyota RAV4 is a comfy cruiser, but there are sportier SUVs available

Interior & comfort

2.7 / 5

Lots of headroom and reclining rear seats make the Toyota RAV4 ideal for long trips

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

A large boot and lots of storage solutions are two of the Toyota RAV4’s best features

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 5

The Toyota RAV4 has an excellent warranty and a good safety record

What the others say

3.2 / 5
based on 3 reviews
3 / 5
"In the face of some stiff opposition, Toyota has attempted to make the RAV4 stand out. And while it's not great to look at and not all that sharp to drive, the new model is comfortable and extremely spacious. Look lower down the range and it mixes in decent fuel economy and a good spec – particularly if you don’t necessarily need four-wheel drive."
3 / 5
"The new RAV4 is a practical, five-seat SUV, but so is a Mazda CX-5, and entry-level versions of that car come with so much kit there's no need to venture any further up the range. So, while the RAV4 is available for less, the version you'll actually want will cost you more than an equivalent CX-5. Given that the Mazda also handles better and comes with an engine that's both stronger and more fuel-efficient, we reckon it's the better buy."
3.5 / 5
"Good reliability record and decent resale values, but not as stylish as rivals and interior is a little dull."

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What owners say

4.2112
4.2 /5 based on 125 reviews
70%
 people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

2 star   0
1 star   0
Last updated
8 Dec 2014
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