2019 Toyota RAV4 Review
The comprehensive Toyota RAV4 review
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|Car Advice||83%||"The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 is the safest, roomiest and most technically advanced to date – and has the option of hybrid power for the first time."||Read more|
|CarsGuide||83%||"The Toyota RAV4 2019 model is more advanced, more high-tech, safer, smarter and more spacious than any version that has come before it."||Read more|
|WhichCar||80%||"It has matured into a competent mid-sized SUV offering plenty of standard features and technology plus a choice of efficient petrol and hybrid powertrains. This latest model RAV4 is the first to offer an off-road capable version."||Read more|
|Motoring||85%||"Moreover, the RAV4 is bigger, safer, rides on a new platform and features a fresh design."||Read more|
|Finder||82.75%||"We were impressed with the fit and finish inside the Cruiser in particular. With the addition of leather-accented seats and door trim, there's a premium feel that was missing on older RAV 4 incarnations."||Read hands-on review|
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How does the Toyota RAV4 compare with its peers?
A comprehensive review of the Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4 pricing
There are four different trim grades for the RAV4: GX, GXL, Cruiser and Edge.
Toyota gives buyers the choice of a GX with either a 2.0-litre petrol 2WD, a 2.5-litre Hybrid 2WD or a 2.5-litre Hybrid electric AWD drivetrain. The 2.0-litre comes with either a 2WD six-speed manual or a 2WD automatic CVT gearbox. For the manual, you'll pay $34,499 and with a CVT, it'll cost you $36,670.
The base spec is pretty impressive. You get 17-inch alloys, parabolic LED headlamps with auto-levelling, LED rear lights, daytime running lights, front halogen lamps plus power-adjustable and heated side mirrors. There's an electric parking brake, an eight-inch touchscreen with Siri Eyes Free and Toyota Link.
Toyota also outfits the model with 6 speakers, a 4.2-inch multi-information display (in between the 2 instrument dials), a DAB radio, steering wheel mounted controls, satellite navigation with live traffic updates and Bluetooth connectivity. Safety-wise, you also get the following:
- Blind-spot monitor
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- A reversing camera with fix guidelines
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Toyota Safety Sense – lane departure alert, lane trace assist (on the auto CVT only), pre-collision safety with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, road-sign assist, auto high-beam and active cruise control (high speed only on the manual, all speeds on the auto CVT)
- Hill start assist
- Automatic headlamps
- Rain-sensing wipers
In addition, Hybrid GX RAV4s also get dual-zone automatic climate control, a smart start system and projector LED headlamps. The hybrid costs $42,335.
Toyota RAV4 GXL
The GXL sells as a 2WD with an automatic CVT transmission and the 2.0-litre petrol engine for $39,760. Hybrid models come with the choice of two drivelines: FWD for $42,335 or AWD at a drive-away price of $45,425.
A GXL gets additional or upgraded equipment like 18-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, roof rails, a premium steering wheel and gear shifter, automatic dual-zone climate control, premium embossed fabric seats, a wireless phone charger, smart entry and start, four extra USB plugs, a reversing camera with a back guide monitor and an electrochromic dimming rear-view mirror.
Toyota RAV4 Cruiser
2.0-litre Cruiser RAV4s receive 19-inch alloy wheels, whereas the Toyota RAV4 Hybrids roll on 18-inch alloys. The 2.0-litre petrol sells for $43,365. The 2WD Hybrid will cost you $45,940 and an AWD Cruiser Hybrid is $49,062.
These models also have a tilt and slide moonroof, a power back door, a leather-accented interior and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar-support adjustment. Additionally, there are heated seats up front, driver's seat memory, chrome-trimmed exterior door handles and a premium grille, bumper and interior door trim.
Setting the Cruiser apart from the models below it are also a seven-inch multi-information display, a nine-speaker premium audio system sourced from JBL, surround-view monitoring and ambient cabin lighting.
Toyota RAV4 Edge
For those who want to head down paths less travelled, Toyota builds the AWD 2.5-litre RAV4 Edge, which improves upon the GXL spec. The Edge is priced at a drive-away cost of $51,687. Some of the model highlights include an eight-speed automatic transmission, 19-inch alloys, a tilt and slide moonroof, a power-opening back door, a 10-way power-adjusting driver's seat with electric lumbar-support adjustment, SofTex synthetic leather seats and 3-mode front heated and ventilated seats.
Toyota also rigs the Edge with unique-to-the-trim bumpers, wheel arches, grille and fog lamp surrounds. There's a seven-inch multi-information display, a nine-speaker sound system from JBL, panoramic view monitoring and ambient interior cabin lighting. There's also a torque vectoring diff, off-road mode selection and downhill assist control.
Click on a price to compare car loans for the Toyota RAV4.
|2.0-litre, six-speed manual, 2WD: $34,449|
2.0-litre, automatic CVT, 2WD: $36,670
2.5-litre hybrid, automatic CVT, AWD: $42,335
|2.0-litre, automatic CVT, 2WD: $39,760|
2.5-litre hybrid, automatic CVT, 2WD: $42,335
2.5-litre hybrid, automatic CVT, AWD: $45,425
|2.0-litre, automatic CVT, 2WD: $43,365|
2.5-litre hybrid, automatic CVT, 2WD: $45,940
2.5-litre hybrid, automatic CVT, AWD: $49,062
|2.5-litre, eight-speed automatic, AWD: $51,687|
There's only one no-cost paint finish, Glacier White.
Other paint finishes cost an additional $618 on all models, apart from the Edge.
- Silver Sky
- Eclipse Black
- Atomic Rush
- Eclectic Blue
- Saturn Blue
- Crystal Pearl (on GXL upwards)
On Edge models, the following colours are available:
- Jungle Khaki (Free)
- Graphite ($630)
- Eclipse Black ($630)
- Atomic Rush ($630)
- Eclectic Blue ($630)
OverviewThe RAV4 is a near-perfect execution of the family SUV. Car reviewers, by their own admissions, had to get real fastidious to find fault with it. There are a few little things, like a slightly lethargic power-opening boot and front seats that sit a little too high for tall passengers. But Toyota makes up for it with the rest of the vehicle, building a well-priced, well-equipped SUV that'll suit most families and car owners. If that's not enough, there's a hybrid for those who want to shrink their footprint and save some gas money in the process.
|Car Advice||"The new Toyota RAV4 has moved with the times to appeal to modern families."|
|CarsGuide||"This could well be the most complete Toyota model ever made. The brand has nailed the brief with this mid-sized SUV, and in a market where it has traditionally been one of the go-to players, customers now have even more reasons to look at the RAV4 than ever before."|
|WhichCar||"The GXL Hybrid AWD is our pick, with the extra cost up from the GX justified by some handy extra equipment, and enhanced interior ambience."|
|Motoring||"For the first time in many years, this is a RAV4 you'd buy not simply because it's a Toyota but because it's bloody good."|
Engine and performance
Three engines can be optioned in the RAV4: a 2.0-litre petrol block, a 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain and a 2.5-litre petrol power plant.
Toyota 2.0-litre petrol engine
Toyota installs the 2.0-litre Dynamic Force in the RAV4 as well as in other models like the Corolla. This engine is only available as a front-wheel drive (FWD). It produces 127kW around 6,600rpm. Peak torque measures 203Nm between 4,400 and 4,900rpm.
Toyota 2.5-litre petrol engine
This petrol engine is sold as either a hybrid or non-hybrid variant.
The non-hybrid model makes 152kW at 6,600rpm. Torque sits around 243Nm at 4,000-5,000rpm. The Edge trim is the only model to have this engine.
As a hybrid, the same engine makes a combined 160kW in 2WD guise and 163kW when bought as an AWD. Torque stands at 221Nm at 3,600rpm.
Toyota RAV4 transmissions
Buyers have the option of a six-speed manual gearbox coupled with the 2.0-litre RAV4 as well as an automatic CVT that is available in all trim lines and is paired with each engine in the line-up. A more traditional eight-speed automatic gearbox is available for the adventure-oriented Edge model.
Car reviewers' impressions of the Toyota RAV4 engine and transmission line-up
Reviewers seemed to be genuinely impressed by the 2.0-litre. Many admitted to assuming that the smallest and least powerful of the engines would be a bit underpowered. However, they stated that the engine was plucky and determined. A handful said it was the pick of the range. Motoring journos even judged the six-speed manual to be endearing.
Testers found the 2.0-litre even worked nicely when meshed to a CVT, which often attracts scorn and negative comments. The reason is, they can often be noisy and feel power sapping. One writer summed the Toyota CVT up by saying it was cracking and convention-breaking.
While one group of testers thought the smaller engine offered perhaps the best value package, another group felt the hybrid was superior. The hybrid was described as remarkable, at least within the line-up. It is reported to be syrupy smooth and whisper quiet.
Toyota RAV4 engine and transmission figures
|Toyota 2.0L Petrol||Toyota 2.5L Hybrid||Toyota 2.5L Petrol|
|Engine type||Multi-hole direction injection, variable cooling system, variable valve timing||Atkinson cycle, variable valve timing intake and exhaust, multi-hole direct injector||Variable valve timing, Atkinson cycle, multi-hole direction injection|
|Drivetrain||FWD||FWD or AWD||AWD|
|Fuel tank capacity|
|Max power||127kW at 6,600rpm||2WD: 160kW|
|152kW at 6,600rpm|
|Max torque||203Nm at 4,400-4,900rpm||Combustion engine only: 221Nm at 3,600rpm||243Nm at 4,000-5,000rpm|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||Manual: 6.8L/100km|
Auto CVT: 6.5L/100km
Electric AWD: 4.8L/100km
|Emissions standard||Euro 5||Euro 5||Euro 5|
|Top speed (km/h)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Transmission||Six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT)||Automatic CVT||Eight-speed automatic|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||800kg/750kg||2WD: 480kg/480kg|
Toyota RAV4 fuel economy
How the RAV4 fairs in terms of fuel usage depends on the model.
2.0-litre petrol engine
The 2.0-litre RAV4 with the six-speed manual uses the following:
- Combined: 6.8L/100km
- Urban: 8.6L/100km
- Extra: 5.7L/100km
According to the Green Vehicle Guide, if you drove 14,000kms, with two-thirds of your time in urban areas, you'd spend around $1,556 annually on fuel with this RAV4 model.
2.5-litre petrol engine
The 2.5-litre petrol engine as a non-hybrid uses the following:
- Combined: 7.3L/100km
- Urban: 9.4L/100km
- Extra: 6.1L/100km
Yearly fuel costs over 14,000kms, 66% of which are covered in an urban environment, would be $1,692.
An AWD Hybrid model, as fitted to the GX, GXL and Cruiser, will use the following:
- Combined: 4.8L/100km
- Urban: 5L/100km
- Extra: 4.8L/100km
Fuel costs based on the above criteria would be $1,008.
A 2WD Hybrid model uses the following:
- Combined: 4.7L/100km
- Urban: 4.8L/100km
- Extra: 4.7L/100km
That makes for a yearly total of $974.
Because fuel economy figures are a result of a strictly regulated testing procedure, they do not factor in the everyday variables you face when driving on public roads. Things like the mechanical condition of your vehicle, your driving style, traffic conditions and the local environment will impact on fuel usage. As a result, you should use the stats only as a way of comparing different vehicles.
How close can you expect to get to the fuel economy figures published in the RAV4 brochure? Hybrid models were observed to sit within a litre of the official fuel figures.
A reviewer who sampled the Edge model saw a slightly increased fuel usage than official figures, but it was still acceptably close to the factory digits.
The RAV4 rides atop Toyota's New Global Architecture. This platform is also used on the Kluger. The idea is that it helps the company more efficiently pool resources and build safer cars. In theory, the shared underpinnings should also help the company create better-riding cars. What's the RAV4 like then?
As an SUV that will find its way into the hands of family buyers, it's not going to out-handle a hot hatch or a two-seater sports car. But, journos said it does ride comfortably and easily deals with pockmarked roads. One tester said the car was actually a lot more sporty than they expected it to be. Body roll is supposedly kept to a minimum and the car is described as a great family vehicle.
A couple of experts expressed dissatisfaction at the larger size alloy wheels, which inevitably transferred more vibrations into the cab. Steering on the RAV4 is recounted as focussed and exact.
It would appear that the RAV4 is well suited to the demands of a family with a generally adaptive ride.
Interior and equipment
Reportedly, the RAV4 has a very good interior, which stacks up very well against its opponents. All components and interior parts have a premium feel to them. Broadly speaking, it was felt that the new RAV4 was an improvement over its forerunner.
All seats are allegedly very comfortable and supportive. One commonly highlighted gripe was the height of the front seat. A couple of journalists voiced a grievance with the tall seats, which lack height adjustment. This could allegedly prove a problem for those who are fairly tall.
The RAV4 has reportedly one of the largest boot spaces in the category and the rear row is also purportedly the best in class. There's a fair amount of passenger room, prompting one tester to say this would be a great SUV for tall families. By their own admission, journos had to get real picky to find fault with the RAV4. One begrudgingly said that the power-opening boot could operate faster.
As you'd expect from a modern vehicle, there's a heap of safety assists – both passive and active. All models receive Toyota Safety Sense which is made up of the following features:
- Lane departure alert
- Lane trace assist (automatic CVT only)
- Pre-collision safety (with pedestrian and daylight detection
- Road-sign assist (reviewers said this worked very well)
- Automatic high beam
- Active cruise control (works at all speeds on automatic CVT, but only high-speed on manual)
In addition to these features, there is a blind-spot monitor, a rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors and seven airbags. There is also a reversing camera with either fixed lines on the GX or a back guide monitor on the GXL and higher trim RAV4s.
Toyota RAV4 GX
For some reviewers, the GX model was the pick of the range. They called it the best value RAV4. You do get a lot for your money, including the choice of a 2.0-litre petrol, a hybrid 2.5-litre 2WD or AWD. The 2.0-litre comes with a six-speed manual, which reviewers said was astoundingly good. Hybrid models come with a CVT, which was also well received.
Model highlights include parabolic LED headlights with auto-levelling (on the 2.0-litre petrol only) as well as LED daytime running lights and a rear combination lamp. Front fog lamps are standard and so are heated, retractable, power-adjustable side mirrors. The infotainment display is decent for a standard car at eight inches. There's also Siri Eyes Free and the Toyota Link smartphone connectivity app. You'll hear the audio from the digital radio through a six-speaker system. It's great to see sat-nav also included by default, with live traffic updates also incorporated. You can control everything from the steering wheel, helping you to keep your eyes on the road.
Many car makers include rear parking sensors, but few fit front parking aids without charging an optional fee. Toyota fits frontward aids on all models. As mentioned above, there's the Toyota Safety Sense suite and automatic headlamps and wipers.
If you go for a GX hybrid model, you'll also receive a smart start system, projector LED headlights and an automatic dual-zone climate control system.
Toyota RAV4 GXL
Other car reviews said this was the pick of the range. It's an automatic CVT-only model that travels on 18-inch alloy wheels. Behind the B pillar, Toyota drops in privacy glass and a premium steering wheel and gear shifter are installed. Additionally, the seats are embossed, and you can wirelessly charge your phone. The smart start system also gets smart entry, passengers receive four extra USB ports, the fixed guidelines on the reversing camera make way for a back guide monitor and the rear-view mirror will automatically dim to prevent dazzling the driver.
Toyota RAV4 Cruiser
The petrol Cruiser stands out thanks to larger 19-inch alloys (or gloss black 18-inch rims on the hybrids), Toyota fits a tilt and slide moonroof, a power-opening boot lid and there's also a 10-way power-adjusting driver's seat with electric lumbar adjustment. The seats are clad in a leather-accented upholstery and the front seats are heated. The driver's pew also has two-position memory profiles. Externally, the Cruiser shines thanks to chrome exterior door handles along with a premium grille and bumper. The six-speaker sound system is upgraded to a nine-speaker premium audio set-up from JBL and there's a larger seven-inch multi-information display. Helping you keep tabs on your surroundings is a panoramic view monitor and ambient interior cabin lighting should set a soothing mood for passengers.
Toyota RAV4 Edge
The Edge is supposed to put the Activity in Recreational Activity Vehicle (RAV). This model sports 19-inch machined alloys, hard-wearing synthetic leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a tough-looking Edge bumper and matching wheel-arch mouldings. This model also receives a torque vectoring diff and off-road drive mode select.
Toyota RAV4 safety and driver assists
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Toyota Safety Sense:||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear cross-traffic alert||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Front and rear parking sensors||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Reversing camera with fixed lines||✔||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Reversing camera with back guide monitor||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Panoramic view monitor||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Vehicle stability control and traction control||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Hill start assist||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Downhill assist control||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Seven SRS airbags:||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Seatbelt warning (all seats)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|ISOFIX child restraints on outer rear seats)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Off-road selection dial with drive mode select||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Light-sensitive automatic headlights||✔||✔||✔||✔|
Toyota RAV4 interior and comfort features
|Premium steering wheel and gear shifter||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Premium embossed fabric seats||✖️||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Synthetic leather "SofTex" seats||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Two-stage front heated seats||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Three-stage front heated and ventilated seats||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with electric lumbar support||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Two-position driver's seat memory||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Ambient interior cabin lighting||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Electrochromatic rear-view mirror||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Front and rear power windows||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|60/40 split-fold rear seats||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Folding rear seat centre armrest||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Automatic dual-zone climate control||Only on hybrid||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear passenger air vents||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|8-inch colour touchscreen display||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Satellite navigation with live traffic updates||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|AUX and USB input||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|4 extra USB ports, making 3 in the front and 2 in the rear||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Digital radio (DAB+)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Voice recognition, with Mobile Assistant, Siri Eyes Free, Miracast and Toyota Link||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Wireless phone charger||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|6-speaker audio system||✔||✔||✖️||✖️|
|9-speaker JBL premium audio||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Steering wheel controls with audio, multi-information display, voice and telephone controls||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Driver's seat open tray||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Passenger seat open tray||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Centre console tray and storage box||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Door pockets – driver and front passenger||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Four cup holders||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Two-level boot floor||Not with full-size spare||✔||✔||✔|
|Boot side pocket||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Power back door||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Remote locking with key start||GX petrol||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Smart start system||GX hybrid||✖️||✖️||✖️|
|Smart entry and smart start||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|4.2-inch multi-information display||✔||✔||✖️||✖️|
|7-inch multi-information display||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
Toyota RAV4 exterior highlights
|Silver 18-inch alloys||✖️||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Gloss black 18-inch alloys||✖️||✖️||Hybrid model||✖️|
|Silver 19-inch alloys||✖️||✖️||Petrol model||✖️|
|Machined alloy 19-inch alloys||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Spare wheel||Space saver (optional full-size spare for 2WD automatic CVT)||Space saver||Space saver||Space saver|
|Front halogen lights||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Body-coloured exterior door handles||✔||✔||✔|
|Chrome-trimmed exterior door handles||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Parabolic LED headlamps with auto-levelling||Petrol||Petrol||Petrol||✔|
|Projector LED headlights||Hybrid||Hybrid||Hybrid||✖️|
|LED daytime running lamps (DRLs)||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|LED rear combination lamp||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Automatic headlamps – light-sensitive||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Shark fin antenna||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Oval dual tailpipes||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Power-adjustable side mirrors with heater||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Electrically retractable side mirrors||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Premium bumper and grille||✖️||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Unique Edge design bumper, wheel-arch mouldings, grille and fog lamp surrounds||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Resin rear spoiler||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Privacy glass – rear windows||✖️||✔||✔||✔|
|Tilt and slide moonroof||✖️||✖️||✔||✔|
|Tilt and slide panoramic moonroof||✖️||✖️||✖️||Optional|
Motoring journalists agreed this was the best RAV4 ever made. It looks sharp, has a great safety feature set and generally offers great value for money. Plus, it's nice to have the option of a hybrid engine. The RAV4 should definitely be on your medium SUV shortlist since it looks like an ideal family runabout.
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