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Toyota RAV4 regains individuality

Toyota RAV4 was originally a cheeky “upstart”, but as generations moved, it moved towards the mainstream. Step by step, she took over the bland character that was so typical of Toyotas, and in parallel with this, RAV4 overtook Camry in sales, becoming the most popular new model in 2017 in the USA, except for pickups. It looks like the result will be repeated on the basis of the results of 2018 (at the time of the publication of the data, there was no data yet – approx. Ed.).

With the help of the fifth-generation RAV4, Toyota is making a desperate attempt to eliminate the list in the direction of facelessness and, of course, at the same time maintain the model’s popularity. The new Toyota RAV4 will try to get your attention with a healthy dose of external gloss, a new platform aimed at improving dynamic performance, and a greater variety of configurations.

Better both outside and inside
Even if, due to its mass character, the new RAV4 will soon become familiar, it is still a model that will attract attention. Its rough-square shapes are combined with fanciful wheel arches and a powerful front end, creating a distinctive, eye-catching style. Depending on the configuration Toyota RAV4 appears in different images. Take, for example, the version of Adventure with powerful lining on the body, made in the spirit of machines for outdoor activities a la Subaru, or the pathetic version of Limited with its pile of chrome parts. The palette of bright enamels, which includes stylish versions of two-tone body color, is another nice addition to the list of options.

Creating the interior, toyotovts rightly reasoned that it was necessary to first develop functional solutions and only secondly make compromises for the sake of fashion. First of all, we are pleased with the ergonomics: the touch screen protruding from the front panel, on the sides – the volume and audio settings buttons, as well as the “twist” and climate control buttons, which are easy to understand. Numerous storage niches, located on a two-level front panel and in a large central tunnel, and the overall layout of the cabin is excellent, as was the case with the previous RAV4. The back row is still spacious, and a low trunk opening facilitates loading of things.

All the main elements of the cabin are executed perfectly, you can only find fault with ridiculous design elements that are present in separate trim levels, such as the dominance of bright orange inserts in the Adventure version. But due to the high quality of plastic, numerous soft-touch inserts and sturdy switches, the overall impression remains positive. Although the RAV4 does not add up to the Mazda CX-5 in terms of the quality of the trim, we do not believe that there are many crossovers in this price category that can match the unique toyotovskoy combination of style and functionality, not to mention the variety of trim options.

Four wheel drive, three different versions
Technical diversity has also become more. Although the line of power plants still consists of only two options. The first is a basic 2.5-liter 4-cylinder unit in combination with an 8-speed “automatic”. The second is the same Atkinson cycle motor, which is paired with a Transaxle type hybrid drive. At the same time, Toyota is trying to expand the capabilities of the RAV4, offering a choice of three options for all-wheel drive. Basic equipment, as before, is equipped with front-wheel drive. In the versions of LE and XLE added all-wheel drive system, typical for such crossovers. There is a more advanced version of the 4×4 thrust vector control system that can disable the rear axle if necessary. This option is offered as an option in the Limited configuration and is the default in the Adventure configuration. And there is a third system installed on all hybrid RAV4s, which uses an electric motor mounted on the rear axle, which drives the rear wheels. Also in the XSE configuration is available a hybrid drive with more sporty suspension settings.

No matter what configuration you choose, the new RAV4 goes and turns much better than the previous ones. Like other Toyotas, built on the new platform family, the RAV4 is a pleasure to drive and “cleanly” is driven thanks to the impeccable steering rack settings and predicted body rolls. The suspension is tough, but energy-intensive, and the shock absorbers do not allow vibrations to penetrate into the interior. Landfill measurements also reflect improvements over time. Even the off-road version of Adventure, which we got for the test, demonstrated a competitive lateral overload level of 0.83 g on the slide site and stopped at a speed of 112 km / h at a decent 50.59 meters.

The standard 2.5-liter “four” has more power and torque than before. Now she develops 203 hp. and 249 Nm – 27 hp and 16 Nm more than its predecessor.

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