Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2015 Toyota RAV4.
As history shows the Toyota RAV4 was a pioneer in the small SUV market and really forged the way for so many crossovers that have followed in its tracks.
Now, in the face of enormous competition, the RAV4 has a fresh new look and feel and all that Toyota quality and consistency that the brand has become famous for.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 range is priced from $28,730, and that gets you an entry-level offering with a 107kW/187Nm 2.0 litre petrol engine, a manual transmission and front-wheel drive.
A CVT auto version will cost you from $31,230.
If more grunt is needed, the RAV4 is also offered with a 132kW/233Nm 2.5 litre petrol engine, this engine is automatic transmission only (not CVT) and comes only with all-wheel drive.
A 2.2 litre diesel RAV4 is also on offer, again, auto and AWD only and offers 110kW/340Nm. The diesel variants start from $38,230.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 Cruiser is the flagship in the petrol line-up, boasting the 2.5 litre engine and a comprehensive list of standard features; it’s priced from $47,290.
On the road the latest-generation RAV4 provides a good ride, relatively sharp handling and steering that’s nicely weighted, though perhaps a touch heavier than you might expect.
The 2.5 litre engine gets it moving along pretty well too.
Acceleration from a stop is brisk enough and the larger engine makes for a relatively good highway cruiser, tackling hills without any issues.
The engine is certainly assisted by the smooth and responsive-enough auto transmission.
Fuel consumption comes in at a combined 8.5L/100kms here and thus the 2.5 litre engine is the thirstiest in the RAV4 range (2.0 litre petrol – 7.4L/100kms, 2.2 diesel – 6.5L/100kms).
The RAV4 looks to have a little bit of light off-road ability and this grade comes with some extra underbody protection too.
Inside the cabin, the Cruiser variant of the Toyota RAV4 has just about everything you could want.
Standard features in the RAV4 Cruiser include;
- Reversing camera
- Blind-spot monitor
- Digital radio
- Electric driver’s seat
- Heated front seats
- Bluetooth phone and audio streaming
You also get a reasonably well-sized sunroof, push-button ignition and a powered tailgate.
The leather seats are surprisingly comfortable, while legroom front and back is a little better than I might have expected in this size vehicle.
Boot space is surprisingly large, you can also fold the backseat down almost flat for more space, and the RAV4 comes with a rear cargo blind.
Like the RAV4’s Lexus sister the NX, the dashboard design tends to encroach a little into the cabin.
I also thought the climate control adjustments were just a little too busy and the centre switches located under the dash are well out of your line of sight – especially if you are a little bit on the taller side.
I was also constantly pushing the hill descent control button instead of the ignition button – both are located out of sight behind the steering wheel.
On a more positive note the steering wheel in the RAV4 is a nice size and has a nice feel and the gauges are nice and large and easy to read.
As you might expect, the 2015 Toyota RAV4 range comes with a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; there’s a plethora of options in the small SUV/crossover market and if charging premium prices like Toyota is here, well, you have to have a top product.
The Cruiser variant is generously equipped, nicely-sized and drives better than you might think.
From $47,290 however you would expect nothing less and personally I think you might find slightly better value in models such as the diesel-powered RAV4 GX – that’s if you can live without some of the ‘bells and whistles’.
The Toyota RAV4 is an impressive all-rounder that should be on your test drive list.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2015 Toyota RAV4 Cruiser
Engine: 2.5 litre petrol producing 132kW and 233Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: RAV4 range from $28,730, Cruiser from $47,290