Toyota_RAV4_frontNowhere in the Australian car sales battle are things hotter than in medium SUVs. Toyota’s RAV4 has been around for two decades now, with the fourth generation arriving downunder early in 2013.

Well aware that it has to keep the RAV4 moving to fight against the ever increasing number of competitors, Toyota Australia has updated the RAV4, with a particular emphasis on safety technology.

Keeping competitive has also resulted in additional equipment being added to a vehicle that’s only been on the market for a year.

Technology that once was the unique preserve of very expensive European cars – often originating in Mercedes-Benz S-Class models – is moving ever more rapidly down into affordable cars.

So the topline Toyota RAV4 Cruiser has Reverse Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB).

The RCTA is one of our all-time favourite safety systems as it lets you reverse the vehicle out of a parking spot even when you can’t see vehicles coming from the side due to the cars parked alongside yours blocking vision. (Oddly, the small print that comes with system says, “the area into which the vehicle is driven must be visually monitored by the driver”. Which is obviously impossible… Ah, well, that’s an overly complex legal system in action, isn’t it?)

The latter, Toyotas Lane Departure Alert is a handy standby if you’re not paying complete attention to your driving, as it warns the driver if the vehicle is about to deviate from a traffic lane. A camera inside the RAV4’s windscreen can recognise certain types of road markings (white/yellow lines). It sounds a warning beep and provides a visual alert via the Multi-Information Display screen if the vehicle is veering out of its lane.

The Lane Departure System doesn’t at this stage steer the RAV4 back onto the correct path as is the case with some of the aforementioned expensive European cars. We certainly anticipate Toyota taking that next step one day.

Toyota’s Automatic High Beam is particularly clever as it detects the amount of light from surrounding street lamps or from other vehicles at night. when the system deems driving on high beam is necessary it automatically switches the headlamps to high beam. It detects when there are street lights or on-coming or vehicles in front of your and switches back to low beam.

Still on the safety front, every RAV4 is now fitted with a reversing camera, previously the RAV4 GX variants didn’t have one.

All models in the 2014 Toyota RAV4 range now have multimedia audio units operated through a 6.1-inch full-colour display screen, as well as controls on the steering-wheel.

The topline RAV4 Cruiser has an 11-speaker JBL sound system with DAB+ digital radio.

The topline RAV4s have got up a step in wheel and tyre size to stay in touch with the fashion for big-diameter units. They now have 18-inch machined alloy wheels with black highlights. Wider and lower-profile 235/55 Dunlop tyres complete the package. Very few RAV4s venture off-road, which is a pity because they are surprisingly capable, however, this wheel/tyre combination won’t do the vehicle any favours away from sealed surfaces.

Toyota RAV4 has a 2.0-litre petrol engine for the two-wheel drive variants. All-wheel drive (AWD) RAV4s are heavier than the 2WD models so come with the choice of a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel or 2.5-litre petrol.

The 2WD RAV4 is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox or Toyota’s efficient CVT automatic, with seven preset ratios that can be selected by the driver.

Petrol powered AWD variants are fitted with a conventional six-speed automatic with sequential shifts. The turbo-diesel AWD RAV4 comes with the choice of the six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.

The RAV4 features Toyota’s all-wheel drive technology, Dynamic Torque Control AWD. Front-to-rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Dynamic Torque Control AWD, also works with Vehicle Stability Control and electric power steering systems to enhance handling and safety under all driving conditions – not just off road.

Toyota says the additional features in the RAV4 Cruiser more than account for the price increase of $1800. Price rises for other RAV4 variants, which get considerably fewer extras, are just $200.

The RAV4 is covered by the capped-price Toyota Service Advantage at a maximum of $170 per service for the first three years or 60,000 km, up to the first six services.

The complete 2014 Toyota RAV4 range is:
GX 2.0-litre petrol five-door wagon: $28,690 (manual), $31,190 (automatic)
GXL 2.0-litre petrol five-door wagon: $32,690 (manual), $35,190 (automatic)
GX 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $34,690 (automatic)
GXL 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $38,190 (automatic)
Cruiser 2.5-litre petrol five-door wagon: $47,290 (automatic)
GX 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $35,690 (manual), $38,190 (automatic)
GXL 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $39,190 (manual), $41,690 (automatic)
Cruiser 2.2-litre diesel five-door wagon: $50,790 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for driveaway prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *