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Toyota RAV4 2019 review: GX 2WD

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Toyota’s RAV4 has come a long way since I reviewed the last one a year ago. It’s had a complete overhaul and I don’t think Toyota has kept a thing the same.

It’s got a brand new design and this GX 2WD I drove is a hybrid, which keeps fuel costs down.

Toyota’s RAV4 has got a brand new design. Toyota’s RAV4 has got a brand new design.

The GX is the entry-point to the range and there’s a version with a regular 2.0-litre petrol engine that’s a few thousand dollars cheaper, but this 2.5-litre GX hybrid model costs $35,140, before on-road costs, making it the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market.

The GX 2WD is a hybrid, which keeps fuel costs down. The GX 2WD is a hybrid, which keeps fuel costs down.

This week was full of trips all over Sydney while I was wrapping up work to take a holiday, here’s how it did over a week of driving with my family.

You might also be interested in the Honda CR-V

image of Honda CR-V Compare to the Toyota RAV4 Book A Test Drive Locate A Dealer

How does it look?

The previous RAV4 was quite boxy and '80s looking. This one has been updated to a sleeker, more modern design with angled edges at the back and the front.

It’s still not the best looking SUV in this category, but at least it can now compete with other cars like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Suburu Forester, tested in our Best mid-size SUV comparison.

  • The new RAV4 has been updated to a sleeker, more modern design. The new RAV4 has been updated to a sleeker, more modern design.
  • It’s still not the best looking SUV. It’s still not the best looking SUV.
  • This GX model is a hybrid which means it runs on battery electric and petrol power. This GX model is a hybrid which means it runs on battery electric and petrol power.
  • The RAV4 has had a complete overhaul.
The RAV4 has had a complete overhaul.
  • The RAV4 is one of the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market. The RAV4 is one of the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market.
  • it looks decent enough on the road. it looks decent enough on the road.
  • The RAV4 comes with advanced safety as standard. The RAV4 comes with advanced safety as standard.
  • You can get a hybrid version at the lower price end of the market. You can get a hybrid version at the lower price end of the market.

The inside is well designed, and even though this GX is the bottom of the range, it doesn’t feel like Toyota's skimped on anything because I felt pretty good in the driver’s seat.

There are fabric seats which feel nice and are comfortable, a non-leather steering wheel that also feels good and an industrial finish on the accents which actually really works.

There are fabric seats and a non-leather steering wheel. There are fabric seats and a non-leather steering wheel.

A rugged, rubber trim on climate control knobs, volume knobs and inside the door handle looks great and is tactile so you enjoy touching it. There are similar trims inside the storage compartments which completes the look.

They’re at the premium end of affordable finishes and it feels good to drive.

How spacious is it?

There is plenty of room in the front seats for driver and front passenger, with lots of leg and head space for taller occupants.

There's plenty of room in the front seats. There's plenty of room in the front seats.

My two children also enjoyed the roomy back seat, and at 161cm I was easily able to fit back there, with so much space in between my knees and the front seats that taller adults and teenagers won’t have any trouble fitting in.

The back seat is also roomy. The back seat is also roomy.

You can also fit three children’s car seats across the back. It will be tight, as is normal in this size car, but they will fit and there is a smidge more room than in some others in this category.

  • The RAV4 has plenty of interior and boot space. The RAV4 has plenty of interior and boot space.
  • There is plenty of space for everything the kids need. There is plenty of space for everything the kids need.

The boot is large. At 580 litres, it’s one of the biggest in the category, easily beating the Mazda CX-5 and Suburu Forester, and while Honda’s CR-V comes close the RAV4 is still slightly bigger.

How does it drive?

This GX model is a hybrid which means it runs on battery electric and petrol power, and you can see when it’s running on what, and how the battery is charged, which is pretty cool.

Whilst on battery it’s silent, and I wasn’t sure it was even on when I first started the car.

It’s smooth to drive and handles well. There’s a 2.5L engine so it zooms up hills quickly and cruises along highways. This one is a 2WD but it also comes in an AWD option.

Fuel consumption is a low thanks to the hybrid engine. Fuel consumption is a low thanks to the hybrid engine.

There’s a decent reverse parking camera that isn’t super high res, but is clear enough and parking was easy because the steering is lovely to turn. I had absolutely no qualms driving it all over Sydney this week.  

How easy is it to use every day?

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone, a large centre storage bin, bottle holders in each door, and then extra bits of storage: a long shelf in front of the passenger and a mini one in front of the driver, which is handy.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest, their own air vents and a pocket on the back of one front seat.

The front seats are manually adjustable, but the park brake turns on and off automatically which is a huge feat for this spec, and everything else works really well.

How safe is it?

The RAV4 comes with advanced safety as standard like auto emergency braking, lane departure alerts and rear cross traffic alert, and scores a full five-star ANCAP rating.

There are seven airbags, and two ISOFIX points plus three top tether points to fix kids car seats in.

What’s the tech like?

So, as of right this second, it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but they will both be available in the last quarter of 2019, and anyone who purchases a RAV4 between now and then will be able to get it fitted for free.

There is built-in sat nav in the multimedia. There is built-in sat nav in the multimedia.

In the meanwhile, you can connect via Bluetooth for phone calls and music and there is built-in sat nav in the multimedia.

How much does it cost to own?

The Toyota RAV4 GX 2WD hybrid petrol, comes in at $35,140, before on-road costs.

The paint costs an extra $600 taking this car to $35,740. Fuel consumption is a very low at a claimed 4.7L/100km thanks to the hybrid engine.

The RAV4 is covered by Toyota’s five year/unlimited km warranty. The RAV4 is covered by Toyota’s five year/unlimited km warranty.

It’s covered by Toyota’s five year/unlimited km warranty which can be extended to seven provided your car has “logbook servicing” which doesn’t have to be performed at a Toyota service centre.


The Wrap

I was pleasantly surprised by this new RAV4 and particularly like that you can get a hybrid version at the lower price end of the market. It has plenty of interior and boot space, it drives really well and looks decent enough on the road.

I gave it a family rating of eight out of 10 and my kids also gave it an eight - one of them said they liked the hybrid engine so much that this was their favourite car “out of the cars that don’t do anything”. Which means, out of the cars that aren’t convertibles, or vans, or their doors don’t open upwards!

Comment call to action: Will the new hybrid RAV4 win you over? Tell us in the comments below.

Likes

Hybrid engine - low fuel consumption
Smooth drive
Interior and boot space

Dislikes

Polarising looks
Average res reversing camera
Metallic paint option exxy

Scores

Nedahl:

4

The Kids:

4

$31,640

Based on new car retail price

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