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Toyota Rav4 – the 2016 upgrade

Toyota Rav4 - the 2016 upgrade

You’re looking at the best selling SUV in Australia. The RAV4 has just become the first SUV here to hit 250,000 sales. The original RAV4, launched in 1994 as a funmobile for 20-somethings, can rightly claim to be the original compact SUV. It has since gone through four generations and developed into a family-sized all-rounder ideally suited to 30-somethings with a couple of young kids.

This model gets sharper sheet metal for 2016, plus new cabin decor, updated multimedia and worthwhile safety improvements. RAV’s new look includes a front end on steroids, LED lights all around, tauter profile and new wheels — the mid-spec GXL gains classy black 18 inch wheels. The GX basic pack still wears 17 inch steel wheels and looks all the more dumpy for it. Inside, the dash introduced in 2013 remains, still with a bold leading edge that creates a cavernous black void beneath, all with many buttons and switches.

The GXL and Cruiser gain a bright, informative instrument panel, with a 4 inch TFT display in the centre. RAV’s 6 inch multimedia touchscreen is simple enough to operate, it is also easy to pair a phone and the voice control speaks your language most of the time.

Cruiser’s power-adjustable driver’s seat gives excellent support, though some will find the firm cushion bolsters tight on the thighs. Rear legroom is the best in class and the long, firm bench, with an adjustable backrest, is well suited to child restraints.

Cruiser’s power-operated tailgate gives access to a low, easy-to-load floor with a space-saver underneath. There is no less than 577L of cargo volume with all seats occupied, which is at the more capacious end of the class.

Drop either side of the 60-40 split-fold rear seat forward and there is a flat 1.8m long floor, so you can almost move house with the RAV.

Toyota has programmed a responsive launch feel into the ECU response management, so this new RAV4 jumps away smartly at the lights due to its 2.5 litre 4 cylinder and 6 speed auto trans. It is also frugal returning as little as 9 lt/100kms which is good for a 1600kg AWD petrol wagon in traffic. Regular unleaded is recommended.

Price from: $49,490 plus on-roads.