Mazda CX-5 2017 review
Mazda is currently enjoying a series of successes that's envied by almost every other car company in Australia, with a number of its models striking a real chord with Aussies.
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Toyota is used to taking hold of a market segment and giving it a good old throttle. For years, the Corolla was king, the Camry was not only made and bought here but sent overseas, and a funny looking, high-riding hatchy sort of four-wheel drive thing came along in 1994. It had a dumb name, attracted opprobrium for not being a proper off-roader, and was an instant hit.
That was the RAV4, and for years it was quite successful, building the niche small SUV segment with Suzuki, and with Honda tagging along for the ride. It was cosy. Then everyone woke up and realised what they'd been missing out on - the CX-5, the ix35, the X-Trail, the Forester: they all came to cut Toyota's lunch. And what happened? A funny thing, actually. The RAV4 kept on selling, despite not being the latest whizz-bang machine. How did this happen? Well, first, the market was expanding to take these new competitors, but secondly, the Toyota must have been, and must still be doing something right to keep selling the way it does.
|Toyota RAV4 2018: GX (2WD)|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The RAV4 range consists of nine variants, including three GXLs - a FWD petrol, AWD diesel and this $38,450 2.5-litre AWD petrol, the middle child. Standard are 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and tail-lights, auto headlights and wipers, cloth trim, leather gearknob and wheel, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, active cruise control, sat nav, and a six speaker stereo with DAB+ radio.
The touchscreen unit continues to be my least favourite on the market. It might be a 6.1-inch set-up, but it's a mess, with tiny targets, a confusing menu system and ugly graphics. Peugeot's used to be unusable but at least it looked good. This one you wouldn't steal.
This fourth-generation RAV4 is by far the most distinctive and the bravest since the not very brave first-generation with its jelly bean lights and whopping chunks of unpainted cladding glued to the side. We didn't know it at the time, but this RAV4 V4.0 presaged a new look for Toyota - bolder than before and linked to the delightfully chunky C-HR.
In GXL form it still looks ever-so-slightly underwheeled (18-inch rims, remember - hardly small) and from the front, it's a riot of lines the closer you get. It's not Honda crazy, but if it were calmer it would look and feel classier. But that's clearly a personal opinion. The sides are a bit slabby but that suits the segment perfectly and the rear echoes the front.
Inside is looking a bit dated but is perfectly functional. The standard Toyota steering wheel adds to the general blandness but that doesn't make it any less competent. The faux stitched leather actually looks good and lifts the space a little.
The RAV4 strikes a nice balance between sporty looking and genuinely useful. Five will fit reasonably comfortably, with good headroom and legroom for everyone. Front seat passengers get the same, and I fit very comfortably behind my driving position, as does my 184cm son.
There are four cupholders, although the front pair are a little haphazardly arranged around a triangular slot good for... um... triangles. There is also a shallow tray that is too slippery to hold anything not rubber or glued down, so there's nowhere really to put your phone. You also get four door-mounted bottle holders.
The boot space starts at a very reasonable 550 litres and with the seats down yields a huge 1760L.
The 2.5-litre four-cylinder under the bonnet produces 132kW/233Nm. All four wheels are driven through a six-speed automatic (thankfully not the 2.0's CVT) and the RAV4 includes hill descent control and a centre diff lock, unusual in the segment.
Toyota claims the RAV4 will get through standard unleaded at the rate of 8.5L/100km but in my hands it drank at a hefty 12.2L/100km, despite mostly gentle driving. The CX-5's 2.5 produces more power but in our hands returns around 10.0L/100km. Or about $450 less in fuel in a 15,000km year.
To be clear, it is not bad, just... disappointing. With a multi-link rear end, it should do well in this category - but for whatever reason, Toyota has opted for a soft car that rolls more than most of the competition (Honda's CR-V is a notable exception) and one that doesn't have particularly good steering.
Part of the steering's problem is the angle of the wheel to the driver that isn't really fixed by its adjustment. It's kind of hard to get right and needs a bit of a heave as it's heavy without having any feel.
The engine has reasonable pep but the performance is blunted by a slow-to-react transmission and isn't much to listen to.
What do all those complaints mean? Well, not much really. It just means that for those who want a good solid car, they're getting it, without the bells and whistles and talk of finely-judged steering. The RAV is probably one of the better off-road(ish) machines in the segment, which still counts for something.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Along for the ride for 2018 are seven airbags (including a driver's kneebag up front), ABS, stability and traction controls, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, auto high beam, a blind spot monitor system and three top-tether points for baby seats along with dual ISOFIX attachments.
ANCAP awarded the RAV4 a maximum five ANCAP safety stars in 2016.
Toyota offers a three-year/100,000km warranty and servicing happens every six months or 10,000km. Pricing for servicing is capped at $180 for the first three years or up to 60,000km, whichever comes first.
Roadside assist starts at $78 per year.
The RAV4 isn't outstanding in its class, not by a long stretch. It does things well and in this all-wheel drive GXL version is reasonably comfortable, well-equipped and loaded with safety gear. The drive is fairly ho-hum but you don't get into a Toyota (the 86 excepted) rubbing your hands together, do you?
That Toyota badge breeds confidence in its owners and the person who wants to buy it from them. Year in, year out, Toyota sells plenty of RAV4s to people who value that sort of thing.
|Cruiser (4x4)||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$35,880 – 42,977||2018 TOYOTA RAV4 2018 Cruiser (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|GX (2WD)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$25,544 – 30,990||2018 TOYOTA RAV4 2018 GX (2WD) Pricing and Specs|
|GX (4x4)||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$25,500 – 30,999||2018 TOYOTA RAV4 2018 GX (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|GXL (2WD)||2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO||$28,990 – 36,988||2018 TOYOTA RAV4 2018 GXL (2WD) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||7|