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Toyota updates its RAV4

03.12.2015

THE current generation Toyota RAV4 has been the brand’s most successful generation of the iconic SUV ever. With an average sales figure of around 500 units a month it is a segment leader.

As is somewhat of a formality, after some time in the market, the vehicle must be updated according to consumer feedback and current design trends. I travelled to Mozambique to sample the updated model.

Exterior updates

The exterior of the vehicle has received a few tweaks; up front, for example, there are reshaped headlamps with LEDs as standard across the range, while the front bumper has also been remoulded for a nose which has adopted the latest Toyota design language.

In side profile, you’ll also note the black cladding that runs around the lower section of the vehicle while both the 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels have been redesigned. At the rear, the changes are less pronounced with a larger painted area over the rear bumper, along with restyled fog lamps and an underbody valance. The overall look of the vehicle should keep buyers happy; it is a proper reflection of a modern SUV and while I’m not smitten with the rather bland rear end, the rest of the car makes up for that.

Interior enhancements

The interior of the model wasn’t in need of a major overhaul however, subtle changes have been made. The materials used in certain areas of the cockpit have been revised to bring added quality. Keen observers will note changes to the layout of the cupholders and gear lever, while sunglasses have a holder in the overhead section, near the lighting cluster. There’s also a 4.2-inch colour info-display in the instrument panel and a new seven-inch touch-screen infotainment screen (VX models) with Bluetooth/AUX/USB compatibility. The one strange aspect of the new interior is the location for the traction control button, on the top left-hand side of the centre console. I’ll explain later why we were frantically searching for said button…

Powertrains

There have been no changes to the powertrain line-up; there is still the entry-level 2.0-litre 2WD manual model with 107kW/187Nm, which is also available as a CVT automatic. The other petrol model in the range is the 132kW/233Nm 2.5-litre that comes with an all-wheel-drive system and a conventional automatic transmission. The two diesel models are also all-wheel-drive only models with 110kW/340Nm and come with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

At launch I only had an opportunity to drive the automatic all-wheel-drive models in 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre turbodiesel guises. We took the vehicles through the Kosi Bay border post, through to a destination some 25 kilometres away. The off-road driving here is quite intense; you need a decent off-road vehicle. We took the model through with the centre differential lock on and struggled for a while as the traction control kept cutting the power. Once we found that elusive button, it became much easier. I was impressed with the vehicle’s capability; while it’s no rugged off-roader, it can handle areas that many of its competitors would just not be able to cope with.

Verdict

Toyota has listened to its customers. The RAV4 obviously wasn’t in need of a major refresh but the changes are enough to bring it up to scratch with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. The segment’s best-seller just got better.

Warranty and service

The new RAV4 comes with a three-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan.

Pricing

2.0 GX MT  R327 700
2.0 GX CVT  R338 800
2.2D GX MT R409 900
2.5 AWD VX 6AT R457 000
2.2D AWD VX 6AT R487 400

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Article written by Sean Nurse
03.12.2015
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