Saturday 24 February 2018

The Rav4 is easy to live with

A revamp has made Toyota's crossover bigger, better and even more suited to the Irish roads, writes Campbell Spray

Campbell Spray

Campbell Spray

'I have never in my life come across such an arrogant attitude towards taxi drivers in my life in your article on the skoda Octavia , it is just as well that you only get to write once a week , so sad that paper does not refuse ink and as a so called motoring journalist your reporting stinks , you definitely seem to have it in for taxi drivers , if I were skoda management I would definitlyl make sure you never test a car again by the way you slagged their biggest customers , so sad you appear to be a badge snob like the rest if the fools who destroyed our economy , go test pushbikes , you would do a better job , yours paul' (sic)

SO wrote one of my fans last week in an email from his iPhone on Sunday afternoon. I think he missed the point of my praise for the great reliability and value for money of the Octavia and, as for being a badge snob, I think that's the last thing I am but, heigh-ho, Paul can have his say.

But in a small way I did take his advice when I returned the Toyota Rav4 last Tuesday. It was such a beautiful day, so I put the bike in the back and then cycled to work from Dublin's Park West.

It was a great ride too along the Grand Canal to the Liffey, across the Samuel Beckett bridge and then by the river to the Custom House.

A great start to the day.

However, it was made so simple by the incredibly easy rear-seat folding of the Rav4, which gave a large, totally flat floor in two seconds.

The Rav (Recreational Active Vehicle) is now noticeably longer and wider and the bike fitted in totally flat, with ample room to spare in one quick movement. It helped that the vehicle has become a bit lower and the rear boot door now opens vertically.

The Rav4, which is now in its fourth-generation evolution since being launched in 1995, was very pleasing to drive, with a great, commanding view, which gives you the feeling that you are driving something bigger. This is no doubt helped by the 18" alloys, which looked as impressive as they drove when we went for a picnic on the beach. It even took the dog two jumps to get on to the back seat.

In the last 18 years, and despite – or perhaps because of – 4.5 million sales, a lot of competition has been launched for the Rav4, as every manufacturer seems to want to get in on the crossover market.

Yet there is something very burly, solid and confident in the latest Rav, although there are far tastier-looking vehicles out there, including the Mazda CX-5, and one each from Kia and Hyundai.

The Rav is probably more of a rugby prop than athletic centre, with soft suspension at low speeds that copes well with our rutted roads but tightens up nicely when it gets going. It also seems well priced, with two-wheel-drive versions starting at €28,000 before p&p and 4WD models beginning at just more than an extra €4,000.

The specifications have also been revamped and the top Sol grade with full leathers, parking sensors, rear camera, power-driver seat and boot door all driven by the well-tried, but slightly noisy 2,2 D-4D 150bhp diesel engine at €37,495 (before p&p) is a very tasty package indeed.

It will deliver 0 to 100kmh in just over 10 seconds through a slick gearbox and although because of recent revelations I am reluctant to give official consumption figures, you should get around 45mpg and CO2 of 147g.

There's not much character or looks about the Rav4 but the new version does the business as a soft-roader and the passenger and luggage room and Toyota's reputation are its best attributes. It would be very easy to live with. It might help me test some more bikes.

Irish Independent

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