The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, which is officially rated at 5.6 litres/100km in manual form (city and country combined), or 6.5 litres/100km with auto transmission.
However, the diesel is the most expensive of the three engines offered with the RAV4, and is available only in four-wheel-drive versions.
It performs well, and is easy to drive as an auto. Around town, it can be hard work with a manual ‘box, because it requires you to change gear more often than a petrol engine would.
Most buyers choose one of the petrol engines. The 2.0-litre petrol is fitted to all front-wheel drive versions and is available as a six-speed manual or excellent CVT auto. Fuel use is 7.4 litres/100km officially in auto form – slightly better than the manual version can do.
The 2.5-litre petrol is fitted to all four-wheel drive RAV4s, and is available only as a conventional auto. It offers about 25 per cent more power than the 2.0 in most driving conditions, although the 4WD system increases fuel use.
The CVT, or continuously variable transmission, offered in front-wheel drive models is not restricted to a fixed number of gear ratios, and therefore can match the gear to the driving conditions more effectively. The design fitted to the RAV4 works particularly well. However, the six-speed conventional automatic in four-wheel drive versions also shifts smoothly and intuitively.