Toyota RAV4 Review

Toyota Rav4
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finder score: 76.33%

Avg. critics score: 76.33%
3 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of WhichCar, Car Show Room and Motoring to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
Finder.com.au is personal finance comparison site that provides you with the tools you need to make better decisions. Learn
how we work and how we make money.

Critic reviews

Website Rating Notable quotes
Motoring 69% "By the end of the week the RAV4 had cemented its position as a good all-rounder." Read more
WhichCar 80% "The Toyota RAV4 kickstarted the whole city-focused SUV craze, and it remains one of the more popular. It has grown into a mid-sizer that rides nicely, corners well, has great front seats, and comes with automatic emergency braking as standard." Read more
Car Showroom 80% "Regardless of which RAV4 you settle on, you’ll end up with a tough-as-nails, efficient, comfortable, and dependable workhorse that will get you from point-A to point-B on time, every time."> Read more

How does the Toyota RAV4 compare with its peers?

Boot displacement ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score

Mazda CX-5
7 442L 5-Stars $28,690 83.25% Read Review

Hyundai Tucson
5 488L 5-Stars $28,590 79% Read Review

Nissan X-Trail
7 565L 5-Stars $27,990 76.25% Read Review

Toyota RAV4
5 577L 5-Stars $28,550 76.33% Read Review

Kia Sportage
5 466L 5-Stars $28,990 79.50% Read Review

Mitsubishi Outlander
7 477L 5-Stars $28,750 73.75% Read Review

The complete Toyota RAV4 review

Toyota RAV4 pricing and overview

The Toyota RAV4 is often credited as the car that kickstarted Australia’s SUV movement. But today, there are a lot more SUV options than there used to be, and many reviewers agree that the RAV4 has a hard time standing out among them.

It might not excite in any particular way, other than perhaps for its reliability, affordability and ease of maintenance, but it’s well kitted out and might be a very practical purchase.

As one reviewer said, it’s a car you buy with your head, not your heart.

Toyota RAV4 2017 variants

Prices indicate the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

2L Petrol 2WD 6-speed manual 2L Petrol 2WD CVT 2.5L Petrol AWD 6-speed automatic 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed manual 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed automatic
RAV4 GX $28,550 - $29,450 $30,590 - $31,490 $33,650 - $34,490 $36,710 - $39,060 $38,750 - $41,100
RAV4 GXL $35,390 - $38,490 $38,450 - $38,490 $43,550 - $45,125
Cruiser $44,490 - $45,400 $50,500

Engine and performance

There are three different models in the RAV4 range and five different options among them.

  • GX. This is the basic variant, starting at a wallet-friendly $28,550 and running to $34,490, while offering a full spectrum of engine, drivetrain and transmission options.
  • GXL. This is the mid-range option, starting at $35,390 and running to $45,125. A manual transmission is off limits to the GXL, but you get all the other options.
  • Cruiser. This is the range-topping Cruiser, starting at $45,400 and running to a very dear $50,500. It is only available with the best options.
2L Petrol 2WD 6-speed manual 2L Petrol 2WD CVT 2.5L Petrol AWD 6-speed automatic 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed manual 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed automatic
Power 107kW @ 6200 RPM 107kW @ 6200 RPM 132kW @ 6000 RPM 110kW @ 3600 RPM 110kW @ 3600 RPM
Torque 187Nm @ 3600 RPM 187Nm @ 3600 RPM 233Nm @ 4100 RPM 340Nm @ 2000 RPM 340Nm @ 2000 RPM
Consumption 7.7L/100km 7L/100km 8.5L/100km 6.7L/100km 5.7L/100km
Towing capacity (braked) 800kg 800kg 1,500kg 1,200kg 1,200kg
Availability
2L Petrol 2WD 6-speed manual 2L Petrol 2WD CVT 2.5L Petrol AWD 6-speed automatic 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed manual 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed automatic
RAV4 GX
RAV4 GXL
Cruiser

Across the board, you won’t find as much power or torque as equivalent vehicles might bring, but unless you know you need it, such as for towing or hill climbing, you might not miss it.

It has excellent fuel consumption overall, but not quite enough to top the charts. However, like other SUVs, it offers eco mode and sports mode options alongside the standard drive to help you get a bit more impact or efficiency out of your drive.

  • Eco mode. This mode is more sluggish but provides improved fuel efficiency.
  • Sports mode. This mode provides a nimbler drive but increases fuel consumption.

Handling

Handling

Reviewers tend to agree that on the whole, the RAV4 might not offer as impactful a driving experience as its equivalents, but it’s still plenty capable.

Some test drivers have pointed out that its handling improves with speed, and the RAV4 might be most at home on freeways. If you take it for a test drive, you’ll want to make sure you try it across a range of speeds. You will probably also want to try out the eco mode and sports mode to get a sense of the real potential and limitations of the drive.

Naturally your choice of engine, drivetrain and transmission is likely to change the drive considerably.

  • 2L petrol 2WD. This engine is clearly most at home on sealed roads. The CVT, available with the GX and GXL, might offer a “lighter” driving experience than you want but also comes with considerable efficiency benefits. It’s also the only alternative to a manual transmission on this engine type.
  • 2.5L petrol AWD. This engine provides a significant increase in power and the introduction of 4WD capability, which is available for the GX, the GXL and the Cruiser. If you want more grunt from the engine or plan on driving on anything other than asphalt, but don’t want to pay the premium price for a diesel engine, then this might be the sweet spot for you.
  • 2.2L diesel AWD. Your two options here are manual and automatic, which will naturally affect your driving experience in a big way.

Reviewers tend to agree that it’s a fairly soft but dependable drive, although it might be somewhat sluggish and uncertain at the mid-speed range compared to its competitors. At higher speeds though, you might feel a bit more weight and confidence in the steering.

It also sits relatively flat and handles bends and corners well at almost any speed, and the freeways might be where it really shines. If you’re going for a 2WD 2L petrol model (GX or GXL only), then the highway might be where it’s at its best.

Reviewers also note that it offers a quiet ride at almost any speed, while many other SUVs are still experiencing issues with road noise across the generations.

If you like the sound of a somewhat uninspiring, but sedate, quiet and comfortable ride, then the RAV4 might be right up your street.

It’s largely a city slicker, but the RAV4 is still a fairly big car and you’ll probably feel it. You’ll get a nice spacious interior and functional space, but when fully loaded on a weaker engine, it might lurch more than you want.

With the RAV4, you’ll want to consider whether you’ll be carrying heavy loads.

On and off road

Reviewers noted the balanced performance on and off the bitumen. As long as you’re not on a 2WD model, you can expect capable handling on snow, sand, dirt and other imperfect roads.

The suspension also seems to be tuned for flexibility and can handle the expected capably.

But it might not be the ideal option for heavier duty terrain. Hills might prove frustrating and call for a run up before you can scale them.

Interior and other features

The technology

One of the highlights of the RAV4 is probably its technology kit. Even the basic models come with a range of features that might cost you a lot more with other SUVs.

This might be particularly good news for anyone eyeing the GX as a potentially good choice of SUV at a friendly price.

Essential features

You’ll find a range of features with everything.

All 2017 RAV4s, as well as many other recent Toyotas, include the Toyota Safety Sense+ suite, which includes the following:

  • Forward collision warning and autonomous braking. This feature automatically detects hazards and applies the brakes.
  • Automatic high beams. This feature can automatically detect oncoming headlights and switch the high beams on and off
  • Lane departure alert and steering control. If the cameras detect you drifting out of the lane, you can receive an alert. The steering control can gently guide you back automatically if you aren’t taking action following an alert. Some reviewers note that the lane departure alerts are somewhat hyperactive, and the system might be a little too alert for some conditions.
  • Sway warning system. This is probably better described as the coffee cup light. The sway warning system detects signs of tired driving – specifically swaying within your lane.
  • Active cruise control. The cruise control can detect and match speeds with traffic.

With all 2017 RAV4s, you’ll also find the following:

  • 6.1” touchscreen. This standard in-car touchscreen is built for practicality and easy navigability and also comes with Bluetooth, AUX and USB. It’s not as big or as luxurious feeling as what other SUVs offer, and the materials mean it might be somewhat more prone to glare, but it’s responsive, offers a good range of connectivity features and is well designed.
  • Reverse camera. This is an exceptionally useful feature, and one that you might happily let yourself become dependent on.
  • Front and rear parking sensors. You’ll find front and rear parking sensors on all RAV4s.
  • Hill-start assist control (HAC). This lets you maintain braking power for a short while after taking your foot off the brake pedal, so you don’t roll back while starting on a hill.
  • Rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights. This feature is far from essential, but far from useless as well.
  • 4”2 multi-information-display (MID). This is a quick-check panel that provides essential information right in front of you, including speed, fuel, temperature and audio settings. It might take some getting used to, but once you are, you might wonder why more vehicles don’t have one.

GXL additions

On top of the above, the GXL gives you a range of extras. They are mostly style and comfort upgrades, but there are also a couple of more utilitarian advantages.

Cruiser additions

Compared to the GXL, the Cruiser adds even more luxury and style touches, with some added comfort.

The interior

The RAV4 interior is generally designed for utility, practicality and comfort, although the 2017 model does add some plusher touches compared to earlier models and includes a redesigned centre console.

If there are three unique interior features on offer, they’re probably the following:

  • The standard touchscreen. It is practical, responsive and well-designed.
  • The MID. This shows you the things you need at a glance and is just behind the steering wheel.
  • Cup holders that accommodate mugs with handles. It’s a mystery why more SUVs don’t have this.

The interior surfaces also get considerably slicker as you climb the price range up from the GX to the Cruiser.

You have enough space in the front and back to get comfortable, but the seats might also be slightly firmer than other SUVs, so consider how well that suits you on a long trip. The rear air vents are also a bit lacking in functionality since they are missing directional controls and dual zone air conditioning only comes with the GXL and above.

The storage space is ample. It’s not a range-topper but it gets pretty close. You can put the rear seats down and take out the spare tyre to get even more space.

With all the seats up, you get a very reasonable boot capacity of 577L, or 506L with a full size spare tyre. Put the seats down and this expands to 1,666L.

Price and value for money

The RAV4 spans a particularly broad price range, almost doubling in price from the most basic GX to the top-of-the-line Cruiser. It probably starts slightly cheaper than most, but tops out very pricey.

It might be quite hard to justify the price tag of the Cruiser since most of the features it adds are luxuries and cosmetic touches. With a price tag that high, the Cruiser might have been designed for the Toyota loyalists who are happy to pay premium price for top-of-the-line everything.

On the other end of the scale, it’s very hard to argue with the value for money you can get with the GX. The interior features and driving experience won’t bring any revelations, but it boasts great safety characteristics and a solid electronics suite, which would probably cost you much more with other brands.

There’s also something to be said for the efficiency, reliability and solid manufacturer’s warranty that comes with your car.

If there’s one thing all RAV4 reviewers agree on, it’s that you buy this car with your head and not your heart.

2L Petrol 2WD 6-speed manual 2L Petrol 2WD CVT 2.5L Petrol AWD 6-speed automatic 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed manual 2.2L Diesel AWD 6-speed automatic
RAV4 GX $28,550 - $29,450 $30,590 - $31,490 $33,650 - $34,490 $36,710 - $39,060 $38,750 - $41,100
RAV4 GXL $35,390 - $38,490 $38,450 - $38,490 $43,550 - $45,125
Cruiser $44,490 - $45,400 $50,500

Compare some options to finance a Toyota RAV4

Rates last updated August 19th, 2018
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee Product Description Monthly Repayment
IMB New Car Loan
5.99% (fixed)
6.34%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$250
Borrow as little as $2,000 at a competitive fixed rate
Finance a new car up to two years old. Competitive 5.99% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants.
Loans.com.au - New Car Loan
From 5.44% (fixed)
5.99%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$0
$400
Optional balloon payment available to reduce your repayments.
A competitive rate car loan suitable for a new cor used car.
Latitude Motor Vehicle Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
8.1%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$10
$295
Finance a range of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, boats and caravans.
Apply online to finance a new or used motor vehicle and receive a response in 90 seconds. You will receive a competitive tailored rate of between 6.99% p.a. to 14.99% p.a.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 5.29% (fixed)
6.56%
$18,000
1 to 7 years
$8.90
$459.20
Fixed or variable rates starting from 5.29% p.a.
Apply for up to $100,000 and have up to 7 year(s) to repay. You can use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit.
Sydney CU Special Variable Car Loan
5.95% (variable)
5.95%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$0
Apply for a loan up to 50000.
Benefit from a flexible, variable rate to finance a car up to 3 years old with SCU.
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
From 5.69% (fixed)
5.97%
$25,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$175
Offset your interest with a Car Budget Account.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.
Bank Australia Car Loan
6.45% (fixed)
6.66%
$1,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$150
Waived establishment fee for safe or green-rated cars.
A competitive rate and the ability to offset your car’s carbon emissions for the loan term.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
6.92%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$0
Finance a new or used vehicle up to 7 years old.
Benefit from additional repayments, no ongoing fees and access to a redraw facility with this competitive loan from CUA.
RACV New Car Loans
From 5.99% (fixed)
6.55%
$15,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$399
Benefit from 5-hour pre-approval.
A competitive rate car loan from RACV with no monthly fees.
MyState Secured Personal Loan
From 7.99% (variable)
8.96%
$10,000
1 to 10 years
$10
$200
Your choice between secured or unsecured.
Apply for a loan up to $75,000 and benefit from loan terms up to 10 years.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.89% (fixed)
7.24%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$0
$250
Secure this loan with a car and use the funds for any purpose.
Competitive 6.89% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants. Loan amounts up to $60,000 available.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pictures: Toyota

Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
IMB New Car Loan

Borrow up to $75,000 for a new car up to two years old. Competitive 5.99% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants.

Loans.com.au - New Car Loan

This car loan is for new cars and offers a low fixed rate and no ongoing fees.

Latitude Motor Vehicle Loan

Apply online to finance a new or used motor vehicle and receive a response in 90 seconds. You will receive a competitive tailored rate of between 6.99% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.

Stratton Finance New Car Loan

Apply for up to $100,000 and have up to 7 year(s) to repay. You can use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit.

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