Toyota RAV4 SUV
Price £22,795 - £30,160
- Five-year warranty
- Lots of space
- Big boot
- Dull handling
- Unusual styling
- Rivals are cheaper
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 single petrol and two diesels. The latter make more sense in a car of the RAV4's size, as they have more mid-range power and lower running costs, while the petrol is comparatively expensive to run, too. 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 Invincible. 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, but in doing so it has lost its edge to rivals such as the Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5, which are more fun to drive. Fellow 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 and the Mazda, but still a great, spacious family SUV).
Prices for the Toyota RAV4 start at just under £23,000 for a front-wheel-drive diesel model in entry-level Active trim. The priciest model in the range – the 2.2-litre diesel 150 Invincible – 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 has the lowest running costs of the three, 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 comfy 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