Toyota RAV4 SUV
Price £23,695 - £31,990
- Five-year warranty
- Lots of space
- Big boot
- Dull interior
- Rivals are cheaper
- Poor hybrid version
At a glance
"The Toyota RAV4 is a spacious SUV with plenty of equipment, low running costs and a long warranty."
The Toyota RAV4 is credited with inventing the small SUV class when the first generation arrived in 1994. It sold extremely well and proved that buyers were keen on rugged-looking cars that were good to drive on the road.
The latest RAV4 is rather more sedate and lacks the individuality that made the original such a success. It's more spacious and economical than ever, though, and now feels quite large inside. It's become much more practical, too, with a big boot, plenty of space for rear-seat passengers and a lot of storage areas in the cabin.
The engine range comprises a petrol, a diesel and a hybrid. The diesel makes most sense in a car of the RAV4's size, as it has more mid-range power and lower running costs than the petrol. Toyota is among the market leaders when it comes to warranties: its cars are covered for five years or 100,000 miles.
RAV4 trim levels start with Active and rise through Business Edition and Icon to top-spec Excel. The basic model is a bit short of equipment, but every other version comes with a reversing camera, a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB digital radio and cruise control at the very least, which is generous. Toyota thinks RAV4 buyers will be fans of outdoor pursuits, so options include the likes of bike racks, mudflaps and roof boxes.
The RAV4 has become more sensible and practical over the years, but in doing so has lost its edge to rivals such as the Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5, which are more fun to drive. Other competitors include the Volkswagen Tiguan (which is more upmarket, but feeling its age) and the Mitsubishi Outlander (which isn’t as good to drive as the Ford or Mazda, but still a great SUV).
Prices for the Toyota RAV4 start at just over £23,000 for a front-wheel-drive diesel model in entry-level Active trim. The priciest model in the range just exceeds £30,000, which seems pretty expensive.
Our pick of the range is the RAV4 with the 2.0-litre diesel engine in Business Edition trim. This engine is pretty cheap to run, but you get the likes of sat nav and climate control as standard, so it's a good mix.
Choose the front-wheel-drive diesel version of the Toyota RAV4 for the lowest running costs
The Toyota RAV4 is a comfortable cruiser, but there are sportier SUVs available
Lots of headroom and reclining rear seats make the Toyota RAV4 ideal for long trips
A large boot and lots of storage solutions are two of the Toyota RAV4’s best features
The Toyota RAV4 has an excellent warranty and a good safety record