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Toyota RAV4 GXL diesel 2013 review: long term


Surprise, surprise. Toyota has been caught out by the success of its first diesel RAV. For years we've hounded local execs to introduce a diesel version of its best-selling soft roader. Instead of listening they introduced a V6. But that's all changed with the introduction of the latest RAV4 the V6 is gone and demand of the diesel has exceeded expectations. Doh…


The 2.2-litre common-rail turbo-diesel delivers 110kW of power and 340Nm of torque, the latter in rather narrow range between 2000 and 2800 revs. It's paired with a traditional six-speed auto but the driver can change gears manually if desired. 

It's not hi-tech, but it's smooth and powerful and doesn't suck much fuel and that's all that is required. With a 60-litre tank, fuel consumption is rated at 6.5 litres/100km for the auto (we've been getting a solid 7.3).


It's bigger and better looking than before and comes in two and four-wheel drive guise, with a choice of three engines, three transmissions and three trim levels: GX, GXL and top of the range Cruiser. Our test vehicle is the mid-range, all-wheel drive diesel GXL priced from $38,990 with the optional $2500 auto fitted that takes the price to $41,490 before on-roads.

Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, 6-speaker CD audio, roof rails, a rear spoiler, a cargo net and privacy screen, with a rear seat that reclines and is split 60/40. GXL adds 17-inch alloys, a reversing camera, computer screen, sporty seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, power-retractable exterior mirrors, keyless smart entry and push-button ignition.


It looks a lot like the Corolla and the look will obviously be carried over to other models too. It's a lot bigger than RAVs of old too, but because the spare wheel has been moved from the back door it's actually 55mm shorter.


RAV scores a full five stars for crash safety. Seven airbags, stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes, tilt-and-telescopic steering column and cruise control are all standard equipment, while automatic AWD models get downhill assist to help manage slippery descents.


We like it. It's easy to drive with comfortable seats and roomy interior. The diesel provides plenty of oomph, particularly in the low to mid-range where you want it. During normal driving the wagon remains predominantly front wheel drive to reduce fuel consumption. When things get slippery the all-wheel drive kicks in to provide sure-footed, four-paw grip.

There's also a new Sport mode to liven things up. It weights up the steering, sharpens throttle response and delivers more aggressive gearshifts. Rear legroom is generous. Thinner front seats create an extra 41mm of leg space for rear seat occupants. The tow capacity is now 1000kg or one tonne (from July 2013 production).


This one's a keeper. Looks good, goes good and doesn't use much fuel but GXL misses out on satellite navigation.

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Altitude (2WD) 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $10,700 – 15,730 2013 Toyota RAV4 2013 Altitude (2WD) Pricing and Specs
Altitude (4x4) 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $12,700 – 18,370 2013 Toyota RAV4 2013 Altitude (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Cruiser (2WD) 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $10,600 – 15,620 2013 Toyota RAV4 2013 Cruiser (2WD) Pricing and Specs
Cruiser (4x4) 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $12,300 – 17,820 2013 Toyota RAV4 2013 Cruiser (4x4) Pricing and Specs
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