Toyota RAV4
 

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Toyota RAV4

 

The very capable Toyota RAV4 is a great compact SUV option for family duty. It has good handling on the road and decent fuel economy.

Toyota RAV4 is the smallest utility vehicle in the company's lineup. It has come a long way from the first version released in the 1990's as part of the first wave of compact crossovers. At that time, the idea was to build a small SUV on car underpinnings. It has done well for itself in this highly competitive segment, being a consistent best seller. It bagged 2nd place in the 2013 Canadian Black Book Best Retained Value Awards for Compact SUVs.

Toyota RAV4 is popular among families offering a sporty profile, secure handling and roomy interiors. This year, the carmaker focused on updating interior features with additional trim around console and dashboard elements, use of better-quality materials and adding a softer touch to its surfaces.

The biggest news for the 2016 Toyota RAV4 is the addition of a hybrid model -- currently the only one in the compact SUV segment to offer such. This makes it the ideal choice for drivers whose main concern is fuel economy.

Toyota RAV4 is a great option to consider for those looking for a practical ride servicing the needs of the entire family. You will find that it is a versatile vehicle fit for the daily city commute as well as for urban weekend adventures.

Profile

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 has a slight styling refresh from the big redesign in 2013. Essentially, it carries over the same hatchback-style flow with a lower profile, which is identifiably the same across other compact SUVs. This year, the front fascia has an unusual flourish where it gets even more blunt. The styling element is similar to Toyota's other recently released passenger cars. The rear is still upright and chunky but with a slight reshape (barely noticeable compared to former RAV4 models).


Power and Performance:

Toyota RAV4 has two powertrain choices: standard gas engine with automatic six-speed transmission or the new hybrid model. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder offering 176 horsepower. Acceleration is not a problem with the RAV4 as it can easily go from zero to 100 kph in less than nine seconds.

It may come as a surprise to many, but the hybrid engine is even more powerful than the gas engine with a combined peak power of 194 hp from a 154 hp 2.5 liter four cylinder which is paired with Toyota's latest generation two-motor Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

Fuel economy ratings for Toyota RAV4 is at a decent range being in the compact SUV class. The hybrid model is the best option to consider if this is a concern given it offers 6.9 L/100 km for city driving and 7.6 L/100 km on highways, puts it at an above average fuel economy. Conventional front-wheel drive models, on the other hand, manage fuel economy numbers of 10.0 L/100 km for city driving and 7.6 L/100 km for highway driving.


Interiors and Special Features:

The improvements in this year's model create a comfortable and stylish interior. Toyota promises enhanced functionality, rear window visibility and a soft-touch instrument panel for all models.

The base model of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 comes with power locks, cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; steering-wheel audio and phone controls; and an AM/FM/CD player controlled through a 6.1-inch touchscreen LCD which also displays the reversing camera image with guidelines. All models have hands-free phone capability and audio streaming.

Seating is generous. The back seat is split 60/40 and portions can be folded down. Toyota RAV4's already cavernous 1010 litres cargo area expands to 2000 litres with the rear seats folded.


Safety features:

Toyota has more to be proud of with the 2016 RAV4 2WD achieving a 5-star ANCAP Safety rating. It has also greatly improved its IIHS rating over the past year's models. The Toyota RAV4 even has a top five-star overall rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Standard safety features such as Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and 7-piece airbag package make it feel like a true family vehicle. Upgrades are available for the GXL and Limited models for the Toyota Safety Sense package, designed to support awareness and decision-making on the road with features such as Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic brake control and automatic high beam.

Overall, Toyota RAV4 is a competitive vehicle in the compact SUV class. The spacious interiors, stable handling and safety features make it a good fit with families who have varying needs.