Toyota RAV4 - Used

Car Review

Toyota RAV4 front splash
Toyota RAV4 front moving
Toyota RAV4, front, action
Toyota RAV4 dashboard
Toyota RAV4 boot
Toyota RAV4 side moving
Toyota RAV4 rear moving
Toyota RAV4, rear
Toyota RAV4, rear, action

THEfirst Toyota RAV4 was a 4x4 that drove like a hot hatch, but the model built between 2006 and 2012 is a little softer and more comfortable.

The driver-focussed feel may have changed, but the RAV's appeal broadened at the same time, with much better looks and all round ability.

Engines are a 2.0-litre petrol with 147 or 155bhp and a 2.2-litre diesel with 134 or later 147bhp.

After 2009, all manuals had a six-speed gearbox, instead of a five, and these models had much improved economy and lower emissions.

Manual petrols came with two wheel drive (2WD) and 4WD was only available with a continuously variable automatic.

The smooth and responsive diesels have a great mix of performance and economy with enough urge for easy overtaking.

The later 147bhp unit, with lower emissions and improved economy, was also introduced in 2009. It averages 49mpg and most had an automatic six-speed gearbox. All have computer controlled 4WD.

Most available on the secondhand market are likely to have the diesel engine, with its better economy and little loss of performance.

Handling and road-holding are much better than any 4x4 should have, with good balance and excellent grip even when the corners are taken quickly.

The body is well controlled in bends and the steering is precise without being over-sensitive.

That computer controlled four-wheel-drive system works very well with the stability and traction control, making a car that is easier to control in slippery conditions or off-road.

As well as good on-road performance, four wheel drive versions can handle fairly tough off-road work, although there are no low ratio gears.

Wind and road noise are minimal even at higher speeds and although the sound of the diesel engine comes through as the revs rise, it's never excessive.

Behind the wheel, it feels very much like an ordinary hatchback. The controls are easy, the cabin is light and airy and the high driving position excellent.

The seats are very comfortable, there's plenty of adjustment, it will seat five and levels of equipment are good throughout the range.

All models get climate along with a six-speaker CD player and MP3 input. Many also have audio remote, cruise, electric heated seats, parking sensors and traction control.

On top of all this, all Toyota's cars have an excellent reliability record, even many years down the line.

Pay about £12,000 for a '12 12-reg SR, or £9,000 for an '11 11-reg XT-R.

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