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Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD petrol 2016 review: Top 5 reasons to buy video

The Toyota RAV4 has come a long way since it was first arrived more than two decades ago. Back in 1994 when the RAV4 went on sale Toyota was ahead of the game – there weren’t many other brands selling little SUVs, unlike now.

And the RAV4 was tiny, but over the years it has grown in size and sophistication to what we see today – the fourth generation.

We have the upgraded 2016 version in the GXL all-wheel drive specification and here are the top five reasons to buy it.

#1 Premium looks

It’s amazing how a minor makeover can change a car’s appearance so much. The updated RAV4 has been given sleeker LED headlights and a larger lower grille. The rear bumper has also been restyled and LED taillights have now been fitted.

The overall effect of these tweaks is a more premium and modern look for the RAV4.

#2 Smooth ride

The changes are more than just cosmetic. Toyota’s engineers have improved the RAV4’s ride and stability. The shock absorbers and springs in the RAV4  have been revised to make the SUV more comfortable on the road.

To improve the stability the rear shell of the car has been made more rigid.

The RAV4 is now more composed and compliant over patchy road surfaces and though the bumps and dips.

#3 Comfortable and quiet cabin

The RAV4’s cabin is stylish, quiet and comfortable. Better insulation has been added to the cockpit of this upgraded version and greatly reduces the amount of noise from the engine and the road finding its way inside.

The cabin itself is outfitted with comfortable and supportive seating and a flowing dashboard which is cleanly designed.

There’s plenty of space for those on board and great storage pockets and bins, for keys, wallets, phones and drink bottles.

#4 Value for money

This is the middle-of-the-range GXL spec RAV4 and it comes with an impressive amount of standard equipment for the asking price.

There’s a 6.1-inch touch screen with reversing camera, rear parking sensors, proximity unlocking, rain sensing wipers and 18-inch black alloy wheels.

The amount of kit represents great value for money.

#5 All-wheel drive

Not all all-wheel drive systems are created equal. The RAV4 can handle dirt roads and some minor off-roading but where it’s all-wheel drive system really comes in handy is on the road in slippery conditions.

The RAV4 is equipped with what’s called Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel drive. It’s a lightweight system which starts to send drive to the rear wheels the moment the steering wheel is turned. This is particularly good when cornering and adds stability and control.

Most  of the time power is only sent to the front wheels – this saves fuel – but the system will re-distribute the drive as soon as it detects a loss of grip to ensure you have the best possible traction.


The RAV4 is a great package but there’s always room for improvement. The tailgate for instance on the GXL isn’t automatic and can be a little heavy for some people to lift. The media system – particularly the voice controls – were found to be awkward to use, it would be great if these were made to be more intuitive.

You'll find anything RAV4-related at our RAV4 hub.

Related: check out our buying guide for mid-size SUVs here.

Plus: find all SUV's under $40K here.

Click here to see more 2016 Toyota RAV4 pricing and spec info.

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