Review of New RAV4 – No More Boredom

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Over time, the model from the once compact segment has grown significantly, has acquired more advanced security systems and electronic driver assistance functions, which only a couple of years ago could be found only on premium SUVs and sedans.

Appearance also changes in the direction of complexity, fouling with more complex designs and visual solutions.

Twenty years ago, Rav4 had a semi-utilitarian appearance with a light touch of sportiness. Now it becomes clear that the crossover is trying on more and more refined tailcoats.

The latest restyling version of the 4th generation especially emphasizes its individuality and subtlety due to a good set of stylistic elements, especially in the front of the car.

The only thing that remains unchanged is the behavior of the car, as in the year of its appearance, the subsequent versions of the model remained cars that were measured and even boring in some ways. They say that stability is a sign of skill, in the case of RAV4, this is confirmed by 100%!

The next confirmation of the reasonableness of the model are the large sales of the car all over the world. In the largest market for new cars in the US, the crossover Toyota has consistently ranked among the top three sales leaders. At the moment, sales are ahead of Honda CR-V, but Toyota, being in second position, is not much behind it. In neighboring Canada in 2016, 49 thousand of these crossovers were sold, which once again proves the theory of popularity. Many automakers can only dream about this.

The popularity of RAV4 has become something self-evident today. But there are actually rivals in the segment. There are a lot of mid-sized SUVs: Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, add here VW Tiguan.

No More Boredom

Toyota’s design every year becomes more complex and quirky. It is enough to look at the most futuristic models of the brand: the hydrogen Mirai and the new Prius. In the same vein, RAV4 is also updated.

The grille between the headlights has turned into a thin strip, the headlights with a thin LED pattern have decreased in size. The lower part of the bumper, on the other hand, became heavy and stepped.

The expression of the new “face” turned out to be complacent and triumphant, it will be scary to scold or terribly praise, in any case it is unlikely to remain indifferent. And fans of “Star Wars” certainly like the car in white.

Mean design is good for smartphones, but not for the automotive industry. The updated RAV4 was added with relief details, the lining at the bottom of the doors became heavier, the protection of the wheel arches more strongly favored the dimensions of the car.

Owners did not like the flat and boring door of the trunk – now it has a convex bar in the color of the body. The unpainted rear bumper was a practical solution, but in the eyes of many made the RAV4 look like a commercial van, which did not match the price and status of the car. The updated machine has its upper part completely painted.

Restyling cost just a little for the engineers: they did not touch the steel parts at all, limited to plastic, but the changes are visible from afar.

3 facts about RAV4

  • The founder of the Toyota crossovers is the concept RAV Four shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989.
  • The first serial RAV4 went on sale in 1994. The Japanese expected to sell 4200 cars a month, but in the first month they sold 8,000 units.
  • In 2012, in Los Angeles, Toyota together with Tesla released a limited edition of 1484 pieces of electric car RAV4 EV. The range of travel without recharging reaches 100 miles.

Better options for safety

The active safety package of Toyota Safety Sense now includes three new systems: collision warning, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control. They supplemented already known ones – warnings of leaving the band and automatic switching from a driving light to a near one. And it became easier to park: a simple camera was replaced by a system of circular review. Four wide-angle lenses around the perimeter of this system help to form up to eight different “pictures”.

Infotainment system, a classic example of the Toyota interface that the company pre-installs on all its cars. A somewhat outdated concept, but working and managing the interface is much easier than in many other cars. The closest and most colorful example is the Honda CR-V, with the understanding of the debris of control in this SUV is much more complicated than that of Toyota.

Regarding the operation of the “Sport” and “Eco” modes, it is useless to include them in normal operating conditions. “Sports” mode of dynamics does not give this car, it’s just that the gear changes become sharper, creating the appearance of active work, and the “Ecologically-economical” mode will not do wonders for reducing fuel consumption.

No more cheaply carbon fiber inside

Interior decoration has become more expensive and higher quality. And the merit here is not even in the soft overlays on the door, high-quality smooth leather on the steering wheel and seats, but in an inconspicuous plastic cover under the transmission selector.

Before restyling, it was made “under the carbon fiber” and looked as if it was bought by a tuning enthusiast in a Chinese Internet store. Yellowish, as if covered with patina metal-like, replaced by a silvery – and gloomy, somewhat old-fashioned front panel shone in a new way.

It is important to note that even in the initial complete sets, the manufacturer took care of the customers and provided them with a maximum of convenience and a thoughtful interface. In top-end trim levels, the car owner will receive a number of luxury additions like leather, chrome inserts and even incomprehensible trim of doors and a center console for marble.

Controls placement are not fixed

A couple of things that seem uncomfortable for some car owners and passengers. Some car controls, such as the buttons for switching the driving modes or heating the seats are not very convenient, at the bottom of the center console, which makes working with them somewhat difficult. For someone, this can become an unpleasant surprise.

Still pretty practical

In fact, the most important thing that you should know about Rav4 is that the Japanese crossover longevity is the most practical and one of the most thoughtful family cars for carrying luggage. The rear seatbacks fold quickly and simply. When they are in the lower position you will have a satisfactory picture – 73.3 cubic feet for transporting any cargo or for other purposes. The figure is slightly smaller than that of CR-V, but insignificantly.

With the rear seats raised, the amount of luggage space also shows good results – 38.3 cu ft. Of the pleasant extra amenities, RAV4’s boot floor can be located at two different heights, which add even more practicality and convenience.

Technical aspects

Under the hood, you also will not find anything revolutionary. In our case, a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine is installed. In fact, this is an old-fashioned 2.4 liter engine well familiar to the owners of the previous RAV4. Power compared to the third generation increased to 180 hp and 172 lb ft of torque. The car’s steel is a little bit lively responding to depressing the accelerator pedal, dropping 1 second in acceleration to 60 mph. Nevertheless, despite the increased speed, it is not able to overtake the CR-V, the lack of a turbocharging and direct injection make themselves felt. You won’t see any innovations in the 2017 RAV4. It’s simple, but reliable! In the old days, Rav4 was the proud owner of a powerful V6. With this engine, it could compete on an equal footing in acceleration up to 60 mph with the Lexus IS, almost in no way inferior to the frying sedan. Alas, the golden time has irretrievably gone.

The second element creating an atmosphere when driving is the transmission. In our case, this is a 6-speed automatic transmission. How to describe its work in a few words? It’s boring, that’s the point! It performs his duties on hurray, but it is not necessary to wait for something special from it.

On the road

Driving RAV4 is a revelation for many, Toyota has learned to create strong and solid cars that feel themselves on the road. Despite some archaic platform, it performs its work at five plus, the cabin is silent, and the stability of the crossover on the non-ideal asphalt affects even sophisticated riders.

Noise insulation is great, maybe it’s the best in the segment.

RAV4 is extremely simple to manage and on the road, and off-road. This is important, because the target audience of the crossover often looks for a car higher, without going into details.

Nevertheless, RAV4 is capable of small feats. On the one hand, this instills too much confidence in the possibility of the car, but at the same time allows you to get out of a difficult situation.

Engine and transmission create a contradictory symbiosis. The fourth generation of RAV4 is distinguished by some special sense of dynamics. He kind of gets a good start, but with some maneuvers where you need to quickly accelerate, the right pedal has to be pushed to the metal. The motor starts to increase the tone of the sound, the arrow of the tachometer quickly reaches the maximum values, the six-speed box juggles with gears, hoping to find a suitable transmission in this particular mode of motion, without forgetting to save fuel as a result, it turns out that the car does not receive the acceleration that you expect from it.

But what about handling? Here everything is also standard for RAV4, it’s pretty lean. In principle, nothing special to expect from taxiing the crossover is not necessary, so putting it in the category of its minuses would be wrong.

Conclusion

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 has a decent appearance, but does not look like a million dollars, in principle giving way to the rest of the crossovers on the market. He is also somewhat more gluttonous than his competitors, the dynamics are not up to the mark, but the level of comfort is high, many parts are thought out to the smallest detail, which adds practicality to the crossover. So why do we buy them?

Perhaps the truth is in habit. People are used to these cars, buyers understand perfectly, competitors can do steeper than Toyota’s, more beautiful, more convenient, more refined and technologically, but it’s hardly qualitative and generally thought-out. Here are the lines of the future owners of crossovers in the dealerships of Toyota. And that says a lot.

In fact, RAV4 is a good and honest car. The cost of ownership is also not very high (if there are no breakdowns), its security assessments are actually on top – arguments that are really important in this segment. However, this car is suitable only for people with a measured way of life and a calm view of the world.

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Editor's rating
4.4 overall
  • Safety4.5
  • Performance4.1
  • Design4.6
  • Features4.4
  • Fuel economy4.2
Summary

Look pretty nice, good interior, perfect trimming and affordable price... but it is still lack of hot spice.

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