2016 Toyota RAV4 Cruiser AWD Petrol Quick Review

By David Bonnici, 22 Aug 2016 Car Reviews

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Toyota RAV4

Good looks and extra space a bonus for original cross-over SUV.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the original cross-over SUVs and provides a good balance between fun and practicality. The RAV4 Cruiser AWD is at the top of the current range and is available with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol or 2.2-litre diesel.

STRENGTHS

  • It finally looks good. The RAV4 has been around since the mid-90s and started off with long wheelbase and dune-buggy lookalike short wheelbase versions, which looked good at the time, but didn’t really date well. Subsequent versions went down blandsville, but it received a much needed aesthetic boost with the fourth-generation XA40 model released in 2013. Its sharp looks and contemporary angles received a mid-life facelift for the 2016 model.
  • The baby of Toyota’s expansive SUV line-up is pretty roomy now. It’s nimbler than its bigger Toyota Kluger sibling but still roomy for a family of five and a fair bit of luggage.
  • The Cruiser comes with plenty of active safety equipment including active cruise control, automatic emergency braking, front parking sensors, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
  • The interior fitout is Lexus like, with leather accents and an entertainment system centred around a 6.1-inch multi-media screen and in-built satnav with traffic alerts. The power-adjusted, heated leather front seats are nice and firm with terrific back support. The back seats are also comfortable for two adults and offer plenty of leg and headroom. The middle seat would be tight for another adult but is fine for kids.
  • At 506 litres the cargo area is reasonably big, though a little smaller than other RAV4 variants because of the full-sized spare tyre under the floor. The rear seats fold completely flat in a 60/40 split to provide a cargo floor space of 1.8 metres – enough for most of us to sleep outstretched. The Cruiser comes with a powered tailgate.

WEAKNESSES

  • The RAV4 doesn’t tow as much as most other medium SUVs, though this 2.5-litre petrol version has the highest towing capacity of 1500kg.
  • One issue with the interior is some buttons being obscured by a lip that runs across the middle of the dashboard.
  • At around $50,000 it’s in esteemed company which might sway your choice of which dotted line to sign on.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

At the $50,000 price range it’s up against other top-spec SUVs with similar features and in some cases seven seats, while also nudging prestigious brand territory. Main rivals include the Nissan X-Trail TL 4WD, Mazda CX-5 Akera, Ford Kuga Titanium, Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander and Lexus NX 200t Luxury.