Sam says it’s a smart upgrade


The fifth generation of the Toyota Rav4 launched in 2019 with a number of upgrades to the exterior, 4WD functionality and technological enhancements. Admittedly, when I first saw a number of adverts about the RAV4 it made me quite excited to try the SUV out. What I saw of the car looked innovative and stylish.




In particular, the wireless charging station appealed to me on all levels. On a regular day out, you use your phone for

Wireless charging station below the infotainment system

Wireless charging station below the infotainment system

directions/traffic notifications, calls, emails and messages, to take photographs and much more. Normally, it is impossible your battery will last the full day without a power bank.


Now the RAV4 offers what is effectively a power bank that I didn’t need to remember to charge or take with, does it get any better than that? Well, it could. At best, it stopped your battery levels from dropping any lower than what it was currently at but it did not really charge it higher than that.


Sizing up

The Toyota RAV4’s increased size also did not really make sense to me. I don’t believe it is a compact SUV any longer. In fact, there is less than 20cm difference in both its length and height in comparison to the Fortuner, while the width is the same. Sure, the Fortuner is more ‘rugged,’ however, I do not think a buyer who specifically wants a compact SUV will be happy with the larger RAV4.


Slowing down

While it is larger than previous models, the RAV4 is more of a softroader

While it is larger than previous models, the RAV4 is more of a softroader

The larger body may also be what is causing the vehicle to struggle with power at times. The tested vehicle was the 2.5L AWD VX. The power output is set at 152 kW while the torque 243 Nm. Once the RAV4 is going, it maintains speed well and has plenty to offer but I did find that at times there was a lag getting to speed. I would also be more cautious of overtaking.


Other than that, the RAV4 is an immensely enjoyable car to drive. Once you reach your desired speed, it requires little effort to drive. It provides for a comfortable and confident drive that handles well and absorbs uneven roads well.


According to Toyota, the foundation of the new RAV4’s dynamic qualities is their Toyota New Global Architecture programme. It aims to give the car core strengths of a low centre of gravity, light-weight and a strong, rigid and balanced chassis that delivers exceptional handling, stability and driver rewards.


Toyota RAV4 -124Toyota has also made improvements in the all-wheel drive technology in the new RAV4 to deliver enhanced performance, capabilities and control in all driving conditions. The dynamic torque vectoring system has Rear Driveline Disconnect which distributes the torque between the left and right rear wheels. The AWD Integrated Management also allows the driver to select between mud and sand and dirt and rock modes.


The fuel consumption is set at 7.3L/100km which is impressive for a vehicle of its size. I, however, only managed to get 9.3L/100km, which seems more realistic. This was with an even mixture of traffic and open road driving.




Stepping up

While I do not believe the compact SUV driver will be enamoured with the increased size, the space, and consequently comfort, the car offers its drivers might make up for this. The interior is spacious for both front and rear passengers and the rear seats even recline.


Toyota RAV4 -162The boot space is something to be reckoned with, especially for families transporting kids and all their school bags and sporting equipment around. You can even fold the rear seats flat if you need more space to transport something larger, however, the boot is big enough that this would seldom be necessary.


The new Toyota RAV4 also has a number of other bonus features including seat heaters, leather steering wheel and trim, smart entry, auto-dimming interior mirror, rain-sensing wipers and climate control.


Toyota appears to be upping their game in many regards and it appears to be evident in the RAV4. It has plenty to offer the SUV driver and if you are not concerned about the slight lag when gain speed it is a worthy contender. If, however, you want a smaller SUV, the RAV4 might not be the car for you.


Good to know

The specs of the RAV4 2.5L AWD VX

Engine: 2.5 litre

Transmission: 8-Speed Sport Direct Shift automatic

Power:   152 kW

Torque:   243 Nm

Claimed fuel efficiency: 7.3L/100km

Price: from R577 900

Warranties:  standard with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 6-year service plan, with services scheduled at 15 000 km intervals.




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