Tried buying a RAV4 lately? Fairly difficult isn’t it. That’s because dollar for dollar, the new RAV4 is arguably the best value medium SUV available right now and is super popular.
It’s a big call I know, but take one for a drive and make up your own mind. And don’t forget to include more expensive Euros in your assessment.
I’ve been able to drive a few versions of RAV4 including this GLX hybrid 4×4 that sells for $41,490. It’s the mid-spec’ hybrid 4×4 and could possibly be the most popular.
Loaded with advanced driver assist technology, the test vehicle boasts a 4WD system with electric power alone to the rear axle. This system will flow through to other Toyota “fourbies” soon and is a game changer.
RAV4 hybrid 4×4 can be taken off road on fire trails with confidence limited only by a touch too much front overhang. Select Trail mode and this baby locks into 4WD that is surprisingly adept in the dirt, even with a CVT “auto” transmission.
I wouldn’t like to drive one up a shallow rocky creek or rock hopping but sensible off-roading is well within the RAV hybrid 4x4s capabilities. And it will to up to 1500kg.
That’s a positive development for hybrid vehicles, many of which forbid towing.
Looks good too, all angular and with a Toyota light commercial vehicle family face. That gives RAV4 a tougher appearance linking it to Hilux, Fortuner and Prado.
Roughly the same size as the previous model new RAV4 is roomier thanks to better design.
There’s no diesel any more but you don’t really need it given the level of performance from the hybrid, not forgetting fuel efficiency which can be as little as 5.0-litres/100km or better.
The test vehicle’s powertrain is a similar to Lexus NX300h. That means there are three electric motors on RAV4 hybrid 4×4 along with a 2.5-litre petrol four cylinder hooked up to the front axle. Drive is predominantly petrol powered to the front wheels.
RAV4 GLX Hybrid Exterior
It’s all angles and hangs tough. New RAV4 came as something of a shock when it was revealed last year but the sharp new look has proven super popular with buyers sick of smoothed off, cloned , sucked lozenge style SUVs. This one kicks butt and looks like no other vehicle to deliver strong cut through on the street.
Hopefully Toyota will run with a version of RAV4’s looks for other models in the range. They could do a lot worse.
The doors are a good size and the tailgate opens high.
The front has a pronounced chin that can be an issue in the dirt but I reckon few RAVs make it off road. It’s roughly the same dimensions as the previous model, slightly shorter perhaps but inside is roomier, capable of accommodating five in relative comfort.
I like the high mounted headlights, the commercial vehicle grille, square wheel arch flares… everything about the RAV4’s appearance nails it, even the generic 18-inch Japanese alloy wheels.
Good job Toyota.
RAV4 GLX Hybrid Interior
Fairly standard Toyota grey inside with a new gen’ wheel and switches. In the test GLX there’s a large central touch screen with a dash design reflecting RAV4’s angular exterior. It all gels into a stylish and easy to operate interior compromised a bit by the high mounted seats that can be an access issue for taller front passengers. In the critical rear seat legroom dimension new RAV4 comes up trumps offering plenty of space along with a decent size, two level load space down the back.
The rear seats fold flat and there’s a clinical, functional ambience to the whole RAV4 interior.
There’s good visibility all round.
The GLX scores cloth seats which are comfortable and serviceable. Plenty of kit for the money too including a decent audio system, QI phone charger and hard wired satnav.
RAV4 GLX Hybrid Features
RAV4 GLX is middle of the range but does pretty well in the features race with the likes of:
- Auto high beam
- LED headlights
- Hard wired satnav with road sign warnings
- Heated exterior mirrors
- Dual zone climate control
- Keyless start
- QI phone charger
- Window tint
RAV4 GLX Hybrid Drive and Engine
This is where new RAV4 hybrid really excels.
There are other powertrains available including naturally aspirated 2.0 and 2.5-litre petrol units with FWD and AWD but if you can run to the money, go the hybrid every time because you get the best of worlds, fuel efficiency and performance.
It’s pretty much the same powertrain as Lexus’ NX300h but you’ll pay $20 grand more for the Lexus privilege… not really worth it in my opinion.
Though there’s a CVT “auto” transferring power to the wheels it works well feeling a lot like a conventional auto most of the time.
Select Trail mode of off road and the brakes take care of descent while a dedicated launch gear mechanism gives you instant grunt if you get stuck.
They’ve obviously thought about the application of hybrid drive in an off road environment as well as on sealed roads where the RAV4 hybrid drives Lexus quiet. EV mode swings into action often off road. It’s a bit eerie…
Performance across the entire engine operating range is impressive for a medium size, 1750kg SUV. Then, when you (rarely) go to the servo, a quick check of the trip meter shows 4.9-litres/100km…. impressive.
I actually saw better than that on a steady highway cruise – 4.5… again, as good as a diesel but this puppy drinks the cheaper 91 RON unleaded and your hands don’t stink after you touch the bowser.
Power output is a stated 163kW with an indecipherable amount of torque that feels around the 350Nm mark with all engines running. In other words, plenty…
I was surprised to learn the RAV4 hybrid 4×4 will tow 1500kg because the front wheel drive version is down at 480kg. It’s not as good as a diesel in this department but not bad, allowing you to tow small trailers, boats and caravans with safety.
The ride is controlled and the dynamics are semi-sporty, verging on “European.” Toyota Australia engineers contributed to the calibration of this car. It’s a good thing to drive pretty much anywhere within reason.
RAV4 GLX Hybrid Safety
Five stars easy. As a new generation model, new RAV4 scores swag of advanced safety features right from the base model. The GXL driven goes further with camera driven goodies like active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.
You get other stuff too like a large format reverse camera with front and rear parking sensors, torque vectoring, road sign assist, lane departure warning and pre collision warning.
Some of it is too quick off the mark and/or intrusive but a few switches allow you the choice to use or not.
The new body/chassis is much stronger than its predecessor and touches like heated rear view mirrors and auto headlights assist overall safety.
This particular model possibly needs some sort of warning for pedestrians when in EV mode… makes absolutely no noise.
Yep, you wouldn’t get an argument from me if this exact vehicle miraculously appeared in my drive. It’s handsome, sensible, safe, affordable, has good performance and is super economical. And it’s a Toyota out of Japan…. happy days.
- Sexy styling
- Super economical
- Good off road capabilities
Not So Good Bits
- Lowish roofline an issue for taller peeps
- Front overhang off road
- Wait list to get one
Facts and Figures: 2020 Toyota RAV4 GXL hybrid 4×4
- Engine: 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid producing 163kW/350?Nm
- Transmission: multi-speed CVT
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $41,490 MLP*
*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options
Also look at;
2020 Toyota RAV4 GLX Hybrid AWD Review
Toyota RAV4 GXL Hybrid – Yep, you wouldn’t get an argument from me if this exact vehicle miraculously appeared in my drive. It’s handsome, sensible, safe, affordable, has good performance and is super economical. And it’s a Toyota out of Japan…. happy days.