By Mark Reynolds •
Published: 26 Feb 2021 • 10:59
Although to most of us €34k (£30k) seems a lot of money for a car, it’s no longer the preserve of prestige models, there are more than a few top-end ‘ordinary’ models that tip the financial scales at €34k (£30k).
A case in point is Toyota’s RAV4. Their longstanding SUV (or Recreational Activity Vehicle) has been a feature of the price lists since 1994. Its present incarnation is a world away from that first model, as you would expect given it’s over 25 years since the original was launched.
Five trim levels with the option of all-wheel-drive on four of them and a single petrol 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine. Prices start from €35,534 (£31,090) with a good level of standard equipment including auto lights, wipers and mirrors which are powered, heated and auto folding. There’s cruise control, reversing camera, reclining rear seats and Apple Car Play/Android Auto along with DAB and Bluetooth.
All the RAV4s are a mix of that 2.5 litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine with electric assistance, both plug-in and non-plug-in. In standard hybrid form i.e. non-plug-in you can choose between all electric or hybrid and the reassurance of knowing that there’s a petrol engine to take away any range anxiety. In non-plug-in hybrid form you won’t go very far on pure electric so it is probably better to leave the car to decide.
My test model was the mid-range Excel in 2-wheel-drive form, non-plug-in hybrid and priced at €40,431 (£35,375). It’s noticeable from the moment you slide behind the wheel there’s a quality feel with tactile materials and a refinement that could easily see the RAV4 carry a much more premium badge.
Standard fare includes all the aforementioned items as well as heated leather seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, satellite navigation and adaptive cruise control in a very decent equipment list.
On the road there’s a decent amount of power and the CVT works well with little of the racing engine revs you sometimes get with this kind of automatic box, unless you floor the throttle of course when it becomes all too obvious.
The ride quality over the worst surfaces is a little fidgety but the larger wheels on the Excel don’t help, but it’s something that certainly won’t concern most people. It’s a smooth and refined drive with a superb driving position, excellent fuel economy and plenty of space for passengers and luggage.
Facts at a Glance
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
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