Toyota’s Recreational Activity Vehicle with a four wheel drive, better known as Toyota RAV4 is a crossover SUV that made its debut in 1994. Two years later, it landed on the American shores to make a mark on the then nascent small crossover SUV market. The car has kept pace with the increasing crossover SUV market by growing physically over the years, the core value of the vehicle remains intact – the space of an SUV with good manoeuvrability and fuel economy combined in a compact car.
Currently in its fourth generation, Toyota has also introduced Hybrid and electric variants of the RAV4 since 2013. The crossover has so many body styles available that it is as good as customizing the car to suit your needs. As one moves up the trim levels, additional features like sun-roof, heated side mirrors, alloy wheels, automatic climate control, LED headlights, simulated leather upholstery and several other safety technologies get added on.
For the current model year range, the RAV4 is available in five trim levels – LE, XLE, SE, Limited and Platinum. All the models run on a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that churns out 176 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all variants with buyers given the option to choose from a front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
As for the hybrid version, the carmaker has combined the 2.5L petrol engine with an electric motor and a 204 cell nickel hybride battery that offers a fuel economy of 33mpg, 8 more than the conventional models!
Despite being slotted in the compact sub-segment, the standout feature of the RAV4 is its roomy cabin that can give many SUVs a run for their money. Providing ample seating space to adults at both the front and rear seats, the RAV4 also doesn’t compromise on the look and feel of its interiors. The design is modern and as you move up the trim levels, you get premium leather upholstery. The car’s Entune infotainment system offer smartphone integration and other modern tech features. Also grabbing one’s attention, or rather not, is the excellent noise dampening inside the car.
Considering the spacious interiors, it has to have a butterfly effect on the car’s cargo carrying capacity. With completely flat folding rear seats, Toyota has ensured that the RAV4 gets segment leading cargo space at the back. Also, a rarity among similar cars is the inclusion of a power liftgate.
The RAV4 runs high on safety with a Pre-Collision system that detects and attempts to avoid frontal collision impact by applying semi-automatic brakes and assisting the driver to reduce the vehicle’s speed and collision impact. Then there is the Lane Departure Assist which warns the driver if the vehicle is deviating close to the lane marking. Another small yet important safety feature is the Intelligent High Beam that automatically switches on or off depending on the proximity and distance of an oncoming vehicle.
The RAV4 with its many variants is a perfect vehicle for those who need a vehicle that can be used for daily commute that can also back up as a utility vehicle with enough cargo space on weekends!
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