Fourth generation Toyota RAV4 hits the market

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Let’s face it how often do the owners of a RAV4, Suzuki Vitara, Land Rover Freelander, or Honda CR-V really venture off road ? The furthest off road some of these vehicles get is a pavement in Dublin 4. The popularity of these types of 4x4 or soft off-roaders is really explained in their appeal from versatility, style and perceived status point of view rather than their pure off road abilities.

Let’s face it how often do the owners of a RAV4, Suzuki Vitara, Land Rover Freelander, or Honda CR-V really venture off road ? The furthest off road some of these vehicles get is a pavement in Dublin 4. The popularity of these types of 4x4 or soft off-roaders is really explained in their appeal from versatility, style and perceived status point of view rather than their pure off road abilities.

Over the last years these SUV’s or sports utility vehicles as they are known have become ever more popular with young urban families and young trendies who like the idea of driving something a bit different.

Toyota is not new to this market, as they have had a RAV4 since the first model was introduced back in 1995.

For 2013 this then is the fourth generation of the model and benefits from a complete new body, revised engines and better specification across three trim grades, Aura, Luna and Sol. This week I am road testing the Luna grade 2.0 D4D.

The 4th generation RAV4 is longer, lower and wider, and with a 100mm longer wheelbase offers bigger boot and interior cabin space.

The styling is god with clean sharp lines. I dont think it looks as good as say the Hyundai, or Kia rivals but its smart enough.

The new cabin borrows most of its dashboard from the new Auris models. I am not a fan of its angular style but it all looks well enough and functions well.

The elevated driving position is very good with great visibility all around and the new RAV4 is of course better equipped. Bluetooth is now standard on all grades, there is also USB and Aux ports for iPOD and MP3, 7 airbags, VSC, Hill Start Assist, while the Luna includes a central touch screen with incorporated screen for reversing camera. With 17 inch alloys, chrome roof rails, tyre pressure warning, cruise control, dual zone climate control, auto wipers and lights, multifunction leather steering wheel and on board computer.

The interior is very well finished and apart from the slightly oppressive black colour scheme to the whole interior it looks and feels top quality.

Accomadation is very good with ample room for four adults and five if required. The new car has a bigger load area which with the rear seats in place offers 547 litres of load space. I was glad to see that the RAV4 has a proper space saver spare wheel, and not that useless tyre sealant.

It does well on the economy and emissions side too. Over my weeks test it burned just 6.9 litres of diesel per 100km.

The new RAV4 gives a smooth compliant ride over all road surfaces. It handles well too though i did find that if you push on a bit on wet roads in particular it understeers earlier than I would have expected. Nothing to bother you but I think the quite soft suspension set up has its limitations in the handling.

Noise levels are commendably low and really the new RAV4 proves a very refined car overall. Prices start at €27,995 for the 2.0 Aura 2WD. The 2.0 D4D Luna as tested here costs €29,995. Overfall then I liked the new RAV4. It is stylish, well built as you would expect of any Toyota, comes well equipped and now that its bigger offers better space everywhere from the cabin to the larger load area.