Stability control, seven airbags, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and rear seatbelt reminders are standard on all RAV4s. And on almost all, you can add auto braking and other crash-avoidance aids at extra cost with the Safety pack.
Two of the airbags are placed directly in front of the driver and front passenger, and a third protects the driver’s knees. An airbag outside each front seat protects front occupants from side impacts at chest level. And curtain airbags extending down each side of the car protect front and rear occupants at head level.
Auto emergency braking is available on any auto-gearbox RAV4 – that is, all but a manual GX – at extra cost as part of a Safety pack. On a Cruiser it is standard, with the pack’s other features.
The RAV4’s auto braking relies on a radar sensor, and operates at city and highway speeds (up to 180km/h, Toyota says). The radar scans for obstacles ahead of you – typically another car that has slowed suddenly – and if it concludes a collision is likely, operates in three stages. First, it sounds and flashes a warning. If you ignore that, it ensures that if you brake subsequently it will be at maximum pressure. If you continue to ignore the warning it will apply the brakes automatically, with the aim of avoiding impact or reducing impact speed.
A lane departure alert uses a camera to monitor lane markings, and warns if you drift towards an adjacent lane without indicating – a sign of fatigue. (The car will also seek to steer you gently back on track, if necessary.) A blind-spot monitor alerts you to the presence of another vehicle alongside you to the rear, which might not show in your external mirrors. And a rear cross-traffic alert warns you, when you are reversing, if another vehicle is about to cross your path.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has given the RAV4 its maximum five-star safety rating, most recently in October 2016.