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Toyota RAV4


Mitsubishi Outlander

Summary

Toyota RAV4

An all-new Toyota RAV4 doesn't just happen. Over the life of the model, there have been four generations over 25 years, which suggests that Toyota invests a lot of time and effort in the development of its mid-sized SUVs.

Now there's a fifth-gen version. The Toyota RAV4 2019 model is more advanced, more high-tech, safer, smarter and more spacious than any version that has come before it.

So, what's it like? Presumably pretty good, right? Read on to find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating5 seats

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi must have a thing for old cars. The Lancer, Pajero and ASX are all now much older than most other car companies would tolerate without them being given at least a vigorous going-over, if not replacing them completely. 

The Outlander is, comparatively speaking, a spring chicken, at just six years since its launch. That said, the pace of improvements has picked up over the past 24 months as new or updated competitors pile into the market.

This car has a couple of important things going for it; it’s cheap, and it also has a bang up-to-date plug-in hybrid model, the PHEV.

And as the MY19 Outlander has now arrived, virtually straight after the MY18.5, we thought it time for a good old fashioned shakedown.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.4L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
Seating7 seats

Verdict

Toyota RAV48.3/10

This could well be the most complete Toyota model ever made. The brand has nailed the brief with this mid-sized SUV, and in a market where it has traditionally been one of the go-to players, customers now have even more reasons to look at the RAV4 than ever before.

We can't wait to see just how well it stacks up against its rivals in a comparison test. Stay tuned for that.


Mitsubishi Outlander6.5/10

The Outlander does trade a bit on being a lifestyle SUV. With a bling exterior and a big interior, it looks like it could pull it off. The only problem is, it's old and it's lagging behind its main competitors on various technologies. The lack of AEB in the lowest ES models is also a bit stingy, but Mitsubishi isn't alone here and it isn't as expensive as its rivals.

It's a very good suburban knockabout if you need the space. The LS with its standard ADAS package and better interior trim is the pick of the range, and I'd go for an all-wheel-drive version to improve the experience.

At its heart, the Outlander is cheap reliable transport. Being able to make choices around engine and seats means there's something here for everyone - if you're willing to look past its age, ride and handling and dull drive.

Can Mitsubishi's old-timer still get away with being cheap(er) and cheerful?

Design

Toyota RAV48/10

This is perhaps the most masculine RAV4 ever - it's like the brand is trying to appeal to dads this time around, as well as mums.

And while it might look like it has take a step up in size, a lot of that comes down to the exterior design and the platform the brand has built the new model off.

The dimensions are as follows: the new model is 4600mm long in GX, GXL and Cruiser guise - which is 5mm less than the previous model. The Edge version is a touch longer at 4615mm. In terms of width, the new model is 1855mm (GX, GXL, Cruiser) and 1865mm broader in Edge guise - so, 10mm and 20mm wider than the old model. As for height, the new model is 1685mm (GX, GXL, Cruiser) or 1690mm (Edge), which is 30mm/25mm lower than the existing model.

That translates well to interior dimensions, too - there's plenty more space, and the cabin has a lot more design flare than it used to.

But the exterior design is the real talking point - the comments on our Facebook walk around video were divided, but I reckon in person it looks really beefy. The standout is the Edge model, which brings a different look - it gets a model-specific front bumper design, grille, skid plate, wheel-arch mouldings, fog-lamp surrounds and rear bumper. It also rides on distinctive 19-inch alloys.

Lower grade models also look pretty slick, and even the low-grade GX with its 17-inch rims looks pretty smart, especially in the bright blue hue.

You'll have to use your imagination to figure out what it would look like with side steps, or a body kit with a more outlandish rear spoiler... though we have no doubt someone will do it. And hey, if you wish there was another soft top version of the RAV4 like we saw way back in the 1990s, you'll be sadly disappointed - it's a hardtop only affair.

Check out the interior photos to see what you make of the fake leather trim... More on the interior below.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Mitsubishi won few hearts with the Outlander’s exterior design in 2012, which looked rushed and unfinished. The years since have been kinder to the Outlander, with various styling improvements and a whole new front end arriving a few years ago. The chrome might be a bit much for me, but it's way better looking than it was and it now fits nicely with the rest of the Mitsubishi SUV range. This upgrade also added a new chin and a tweak to the Dynamic Shield (how Captain America is that name?) grille arrangement.

There is no body kit or side skirts, just a clean design save for some mouldings on the doors. The roof rails smarten things up a bit. You can spot the PHEV by the different design on the 18-inch alloys and requisite blue-accented badging.

Interior photos show a conventional interior. The materials are fairly basic - apart from the rather nice fake leather/micro suede seats in the LS - and the cabin is a mess of switchgear from different eras. Again, just like its ASX sibling, there is nothing avant-garde or exciting about the Outlander, which is perfectly fine. But you might want to know.

Practicality

Toyota RAV48/10

The cabin of the new RAV4 is a big step up in quality, but also in terms of space smarts.

There is good storage available throughout, with a cup holder count of four (two front, two rear in the fold-down armrest), bottle holders in all four doors, and reasonable loose item storage up front near the shifter, between the seats, and even a small Kluger-like shelf in front of the front passenger. Rear seat occupants get a map pocket, and it's not one of those nasty mesh ones.

Human room is really good, too.

Up front there's great seat comfort and pretty good levels of adjustment, though the front passenger seat is quite high in all models, and you can't get electric front passenger adjustment on any model.

The second-row space is exceptional - possibly class leading, in fact. I'm 182cm (six-feet in the old money) and with the driver's seat set to my position I had inches of legroom space, good toe wiggle room, good shoulder room and excellent headroom. If you're a parent with tall teens, this will definitely do the trick - and if you're kids are little, there's easily enough room for a pair of child seats (maybe even three, but we'll have to get CarsGuide Family reviewer Nedahl Stelio to conduct that test on the new RAV4!).

The luggage capacity is a big improvement, too - the boot size is now 580 litres, up 33L on the existing model, with the boot space dimensions extended by 65mm. The boot also features a reversible liner for the dual-level boot floor setup, and there's a cargo cover (or tonneau cover, if you prefer) for the storage space as well. Fleet buyers or dog owners will be able to get a cargo barrier at some point, too. My main complaint for the boot is the electric tailgate system is quite slow.

The GXL, Cruiser and Edge models are fitted with roof rails - helpful for adding a roof rack system.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

Whether a five or seven seater, the Outlander offers reasonable storage and load capacity. Front and second-row passengers score two cup holders for a total of four, which matches the number of bottle holders. Only the LS and Exceed models get seatback pockets on both sides, which is a bit grim.

The cabin is a very decent size given the car's modest footprint. Its interior dimensions mean you can get seven people in, although comfort is relative. I've had four adults and two teenagers ensconced without major problems, although the trip will want to be short. 

Third-row access is fraught and made more difficult by the overly complex middle-row folding mechanism, and legroom is tight to say the least. The middle row is not at all bad for leg and headroom, though.

Luggage capacity is dependent on the number of seats in use. With all three rows upright, the boot is a measly 128 litres. That number rises to 477 litres with the third row folded and is the same for a five-seat Outlander. Once both rear rows are stowed - and it's an annoyingly tricky process to fold the second row - you have a hefty 1608 litres. 

All loaded up, gross vehicle weight ranges from 1985kg for the 1410kg kerb weight ES manual through to 2370kg for the comparatively chunky PHEV (1860kg kerb weight).

Price and features

Toyota RAV49/10

How much is a Toyota RAV4? Well, that depends on which model in the range you choose. Here's a price list - model by model - that should act as a guide to the trim levels. These prices are before on-road cost (also known as RRP), but not drive away prices. You may have to wait a little while for deals.

The line-up kicks off with the GX, the standard features levels are generous.

Standard gear includes auto LED headlights (hoorah - no xenon, projector or HID bulbs!), taillights and daytime running lights as well as LED front fog lamps, heated and folding electric exterior mirrors, auto wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels with temporary spare (optional full-size wheel available), fabric seat trim, a urethane steering wheel, air conditioning with rear vents, an 8.0-inch multimedia touch screen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a sound system with six speakers stereo, AM/FM/DAB radio, one USB port, plus a GPS navigation system with SUNA live traffic is standard - yep, sat nav on every model.

There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto - yet. The brand has announced it will be fitting the iPhone iOs / Android mirroring tech to all models from the fourth quarter of this year, and every version sold before then can be retrofitted with the integration. No DVD player, though, and no CD player or CD changer. You'll just have to upgrade to the MP3 age, man.

Hybrid GX models add dual-zone climate control AC and smart key / keyless entry central locking with push button start. All GX models get an electric park brake and rear mudflaps.

The safety on offer is also solid, with all grades getting auto emergency braking with day/night pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, lane keeping assist (manual models with a slightly lower-grade system), adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go for auto models, high-speed only for manuals), auto high beam lights, road sign recognition and alerts, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver's knee).

Next up the model range is the GXL, which adds roof rails, window tint at the rear, 18-inch wheels with a 17-inch temporary spare, front and rear mudflaps, "premium embossed fabric seats", a leather steering wheel and shifter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, Qi wireless phone charging, keyless entry and push-button start.

The camera has active guidance lines on the display, plus you get three front USBs and two rear USBs.

Third up the ranks is the Cruiser grade, which is visually differentiated by a silver grille, chrome door handles, a "moon roof", 19-inch alloy wheels with a temporary 18-inch rims for the petrol versions (18-inch black alloys with a temporary 17-inch spare for hybrid versions).

The Cruiser's interior almost feels like it has been with the "premium package", with leather-accented seats, heated front seats, 10-way electric driver's seat adjustment with memory settings, leather-accent door trims, a 7.0-inch driver info display, ambient lighting, a reversing camera with a 360-degree monitor, a power tailgate and a nine-speaker JBL sound system with subwoofer.

Top of the range in the model comparison is the RAV4 Edge, which almost looks like a sport edition for outdoorsy people. It can be had in "Jungle Khaki" paint - none of the others can - and inside there is "Softex" fake leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, but the driver's seat weirdly loses the memory function. A panoramic sunroof is optional ($1300) in this grade.

No model comes with a heated steering wheel, nor is any equipped with a seat belt extender or Homelink smart garage door opening. But you will find a tool kit and a spare wheel under the boot floor in each instance - no tyre repair kit here.

On the topic of colours (or colors, if that's how you spell it where you're reading this), there is only one no-cost option colour in the range - Glacier White. The other options are Crystal Pearl (white - not available on GX or Edge), Silver Sky (not available on Edge), Graphite (grey), Eclipse Black, Atomic Rush Red, Eclectic Blue and Saturn Blue (dark blue - not available on Edge). There is no proper green hue, to speak of, but the Jungle Khaki paint for the Edge is close enough.

As for accessories, you should be able to get floor mats in every one of these straight off the showroom floor, and you should be able to get a bull bar, nudge bar or snorkel if you shop around.

How many seats in the RAV4? Five is the answer - there is no third row seat setup, so if you need seven seats, you'll have to shop up to a Kluger or Fortuner.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

The Outlander has always been reasonable value, and, with the departure of the Holden Captiva, is probably the best-value seven-seat SUV out there. Though I would argue it already held that title, because the Captiva wasn't much of a car.

Our Outlander model comparison covers the entire range. We'll cover how much each model will cost you using the price list (RRP) pricing. Prices have moved a little bit, and in the case of the PHEV, they've moved a lot - happily, in a southerly direction.

There are 13 distinct models in the MY19 Outlander range, which opens with the manual front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol ES. The ES manual distinguishes itself by being the only of the trim levels to sneak in under the $30k mark, weighing in at $29,290. It's also the only one of the cars with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. 

It's a bit complicated here in the ES arena - once you're past the bargain-basement manual transmission model, you've a choice of 4x2 and AWD versions, and the answer to the how many seats question is many, with five- and seven-seat versions available. The ES CVT 2WD seven seater is $31,290, the ADAS-equipped CVT five seater is $32,790 (more of ADAS in the Safety section), the CVT AWD seven seater is $33,790 and the CVT 4WD ADAS five seater is $35,290. That's slightly bewildering.

But wait, there's more. The plug-in hybrid PHEV jumps to a much cheaper-than-before $45,990, the one with the ADAS package is $47,990. It seems curious you can't have an ADAS AWD seven-seater, but there you go.

The ES specifications include 18-inch rims, a six-speaker sound system, reversing camera, central locking with automatic door lock, climate control air-conditioner, cruise control, leather gearshift and steering wheel, power mirrors, cloth trim and a full-size spare tyre. When you go for the PHEV, you also pick up reverse parking sensors to soften the extra cost.

Things are a bit less complicated in the LS range. The front-wheel-drive LS CVT starts at $33,790, and the AWD CVT at $36,290. The LS also introduces the 2.2-litre diesel with a proper automatic transmission at $39,790. Lastly, the PHEV version is $50,490.

To the ES spec you can add the ADAS package, auto headlights and wipers, partial leather interior with micro-suede inserts, keyless entry and start with smart key, electric front seats, heated and folding power mirrors and an electrochromatic rear vision mirror.

Next up is the premium-packaged Exceed, which comprises the 2.4-litre petrol ($42,290), the 2.2-litre diesel ($45,790), and the PHEV, which is $53,990 - a handy $1500 cheaper than the MY18.5. version.

You can expect 18-inch alloy wheels, and on top of the LS's spec is a sunroof, full-leather interior, front and side cameras, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, power tailgate (a very useful convenience feature), rear spoiler and rear cross-traffic alert. You do, however, lose the spare tyre.

The same multimedia system does duties across the whole range. The ho-hum infotainment software is supported by Apple CarPlay for iPhone and Android Auto. There is also DAB radio, six speakers and bluetooth. There is no radio CD player (but there is AM/FM and digital), and no inbuilt GPS navigation system. The 7.0-inch touchscreen, familiar from the ASX, is of the "it's alright, I guess" approach to touchscreen hardware. Looks good, though.

The accessories list has all the usual things: over-priced floor mats (a choice of carpet and rubber), nudge bar (but no bull bar), nudge bar with integrated light bar, cargo barrier, tow bar, roof rack and boot liner.

Absent from the list are a snorkel, DVD player, subwoofer, winch, tonneau cover, side steps, anything resembling a luxury pack, rear seat entertainment system, heated steering wheel, seat belt extender, lift kit or park assist. No doubt a good chunk of that list is available from aftermarket suppliers.

Mitsubishi hasn't gone mad with the colours -  black, red, silver, pearl white, ironbark (brown) and titanium (grey). Only Solid White is a freebie, the rest are $590 extra. If you want blue or orange, you're out of luck.

Where is the Mitsubishi Outlander built? It's built in Japan.

Engine & trans

Toyota RAV47/10

If you love nothing more than deciphering specifications and ratings, you're in for a treat.

The GX, GXL and Cruiser can be had with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which is only available in front-wheel drive layout, but can be had with either a six-speed manual transmissions (GX only) or CVT auto gearbox (GXL and Cruiser). The 2.0-litre motor is good for 127kW of power and 203Nm of torque.

Stepping up in engine size, the GX, GXL and Cruiser models are also available with a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid, which teams a four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine (with 131kW and 221Nm) to an 88kW/202Nm electric motor. The total combined power output is 160kW for the 2WD. The figure jumps to 163kW for the AWD, which gets an additional on-demand 40kW/121Nm electric motor at the rear axle. As is Toyota's way, there's no combined torque figure. All hybrid models run a CVT automatic transmission as standard, and you can run on EV mode under light loads.

The top-spec Edge variant is the only model not available with a hybrid powertrain. Instead, it cops a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine with 152kW of power and 243Nm of torque. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission, and comes with all-wheel drive - the AWD system can split torque between 100 per cent front bias down to a 50:50 ratio front/rear, and rear-axle dynamic torque vectoring. It's not a proper 4x4 system, but Edge models also get a terrain select system with mud & sand, rock & dirt, and snow modes.

Now if you're wondering about the diesel vs petrol argument, forget it - there's no turbodiesel available. Nor is there an LPG model, and there's no plug in hybrid either. No turbo petrol, either.

Towing capacity varies depending on the model - but it's safe to say that if you plan on fitting a tow bar and pulling a large load, you ought to get a version with AWD as the load capacity is bigger and better.

The GX/GXL/Cruiser 2WD (or 4x2) petrol models can deal with 800kg braked towing, while the 2.5L AWD Edge model has a maximum braked towing capacity of 1500kg.

The GX/GXL/Cruiser front wheel drive hybrid models offer a measly 480kg maximum towing, while the AWD hybrid models match the Edge, with 1500kg braked towing.

No gross vehicle weight is specified, but the RAV4 range spans from 1515kg (kerb weight) for the entry-level petrol up to 1745kg for the AWD hybrid.

If you're concerned about manual transmission issues, clutch and gearbox complaints, automatic transmission problems, or battery concerns, check out our Toyota RAV4 problems page.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Across the range there is a choice of four engine specs. 

The ES manual starts off with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor developing 110kW and 190Nm of torque. It's the same engine as the smaller ASX and is just as uninspiring. The only Outlander with a clutch, the five-speed manual feeds power to the front wheels only.

The 2.4-litre petrol produces 124kW and 220Nm. Power reaches the road by either the front wheels or all four tyres, and no matter what, you'll need to like a continuously variable transmission. Or not care.

The 2.2-litre turbo diesel grinds out 110kW and a more respectable 360Nm. The diesel only comes with all-wheel drive and, according to Mitsubishi, a six-speed “sport” automatic.

Finally, the PHEV uses both a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 87kW and 186Nm and two 30kW electric motors that bring the total combined power outputs to 120kW and 332Nm. A 12kWh/40Ah battery hides under the boot floor and takes around six hours to charge. Power goes out via all four wheels and a single speed automatic. 

As to whether the 4B11 petrol engine uses a timing belt or chain, it's the latter.

None of the Outlanders have startling 0-100 acceleration figures - despite being a relative lightweight in the class, the horsepower isn't there for strong performance. Amusingly, however, I have it on good authority that Wakefield Park race track occasionally sees a brave Outlander owner cutting laps.

For any reported automatic transmission problems, or general problems, complaints or feedback, keep an eye on our owner's page.

Fuel consumption

Toyota RAV49/10

The 2.0-litre petrol model claims official combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres for the manual, and 6.5L/100km for the auto. We've leave you to figure out the km/l numbers!

Fuel economy for the 2WD hybrid is 4.7L/100km, while the AWD uses a claimed 4.8L/100km -two new petrol benchmarks for the segment. It's like an eternal eco mode!

Fuel use for the Edge's AWD 2.5L engine is 7.3L/100km - this engine is only in the Edge model, yet it still undercuts most of its rivals with similarly-sized engines and AWD.

The fuel tank capacity is 55 litres in size across all models, but it's fair to say your mileage will vary based on the drivetrain.

On test, I was extremely impressed by the dash-displayed average in the AWD hybrid models I drove - 5.5L/100km in the car that we drove through the city and outskirts of Adelaide to the hills; and 5.8L/100km for the version that did a longer freeway stint.

The Edge model saw a return of 10.5L/100km displayed, while the GX 2.0L manual indicated 8.3L/100km, and the GX 2.0L CVT was showing 9.2L/100km.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

You might expect the smallest engine size to use the least fuel, and you'd be right - but only just. The sole 2.0-litre engine-equipped Outlander will use 7.0L/100km according to the official fuel ratings figures.

The 2.4-litre petrol consumption figure is 7.2L/100km in AWD and front-wheel drive guises. Either way, we didn't see less than 11.2L/100km from a 50/50 split of highway and suburban running in a two-wheel drive LS. 

The 2.2 diesel fuel consumption figure is listed at 6.2L/100km. Our time with an Exceed diesel saw us almost double that figure in a mix of highway and suburban running.

If fuel mileage is your overall goal, the PHEV is for you - the official figure of 1.7L/100km is scarcely believable, but that's partly to do with the way the figure is calculated. You can expect, in normal driving at least, a 4.0-5.0L/100km result, which isn't bad at all. Charging from a the plug consumes 9.8kWh (so about $3 per charge at 30c/kWh) and Mitsubishi says you'll cover 54km on a charge.

Fuel tank capacity is 63 litres for front-wheel-drive cars, 60 litres for most AWDs and 45 litres for the PHEV.

There is no LPG version or one with a supercharger.

Towing capacity varies. The PHEV can manage 750kg unbraked and 1500kg braked. The 2.0-litre petrol can "only" tow 740kg unbraked and shares the same 1600kg braked ratings as the other petrols. The diesel can haul 2000kg.

Driving

Toyota RAV48/10

The all-new RAV4 lives up to our expectations.

The brand has some form when it comes to vehicles that have been built off the "Toyota New Generation Architecture", or TNGA, which underpins the new Corolla, Camry, C-HR and Prius. So we expected the RAV4 to be good to drive, more fun than the last one and more confident and refined, too. And it is.

The drivetrains are perhaps the most impressive piece of the puzzle - and yes, the hybrid is the standout. The way the petrol engine, CVT transmission and electric motors work together to ensure the best propulsion in any given circumstance is, quite frankly, excellent.

There is easily enough performance for the vast majority of families, too - sure, you won't be bragging about a scorching "0 100 acceleration" time, but the hybrid RAV4 gathers speed with less effort than you might think, as the battery can give you a boost when you plant your right foot.

And it doesn't sound bad, either, aside from a little bit of whirring from the drivetrain at lower revs. There's a little bit of road noise to contend with - the bigger the wheels, the thinner the tyres, the more noise you'll notice - but it's never deafening, even in the back seat.

The braking confidence of the hybrid model is good too - there's very little of that 'wooden' feel that some hybrid brake pedals exhibit, and it pulls up strongly.

I thought the 2.0-litre base petrol engine might feel undercooked - but it isn't. It's really quite vibrant. I sampled it with the six-speed manual (which was an absolutely charmer - admittedly one that will only account for about two per cent of sales) and the CVT auto, which is going to be vastly more popular.

It isn't a 'regular' CVT - like the Corolla it has the brand's 'Launch Gear' system, a conventional mechanical first gear that then steps across to a variable ratio when it reaches 'second' gear. It worked an absolute treat, and I was impressed by the amount of power available, and likewise the refinement of the engine. It's better than you think it might be.

The 2.5-litre non-hybrid in the Edge model has a bit more of a raucous nature to it. The eight-speed automatic does a real good job, and some people will prefer that to a CVT auto for obvious reasons. It was gusty and eager, and on the rainy test loop we drove it, the mechanical all-wheel drive system did a great job at stopping it from spinning up the front tyres, pushing power to the rear axle with a pleasant (yet very minor) drivetrain thunk.

But with the drivetrain tech being so finessed in the hybrid, it's hard to see why you would choose the top-spec Edge over one of the more affordable petrol-electric versions... aside from the look, of course.

As for ride comfort, things are mostly pretty good. There's a bit of jitter at higher speeds over less-than-perfect surfaces, but it was comfortable enough on the highway, and even better around town - an important stipulation, given most people will spend a lot of time running around in their RAV4.

The electric power steering is very nice - predictable and accurate, with some feel to proceedings that other SUVs in the segment simply can't match. It's engaging to drive, and a huge improvement over its predecessor in that regard.

And if you're interested in how the tech performed, the blind spot monitor came in handy because there's quite a blind-spot over your shoulder when you driving, and while the lane departure warning is a little eager, the lane assist system that keeps you centred on highways is quite handy.

If you're wondering about off road specs, here are the details: approach angle - 17.5 degrees; departure angle - 20.0 degrees; break-over / ramp-over angle - not listed; ground clearance mm - 195mm for petrol models, 190mm for hybrids.

How does that translate to off road capability? Luckily, for this launch review, we had a chance to sample the RAV4 in the rough stuff at JAKEM farm outside Adelaide - and look, the tracks that were chosen were probably doable in a Corolla, for the most part, but there was a section of moguls where we managed to get a feel for the hybrid version's active torque split and torque vectoring system (for the rear axle) and it was pretty capable, even on big wheels. The off road drive modes help in that regard, allowing the VSC (stability control system) more leeway, and the Edge model has a centre diff lock, too.

That could be the biggest downfall of the RAV off-road - the rim sizes are big. You might want to fit some 17 inch alloy wheels or steelies with off road tyres, instead of the 18s and 19s that are on higher-grade versions. Sure, they mightn't look quite as tough under the Edge's wheel arch extensions, but the grip improvements could be worth it if you're serious about adventure.

We didn't get to test the wading depth of the RAV4 - and the brand doesn't state a figure, as such. But the 11.0-metre turning radius meant it was easy to pivot through tighter corners off road. The front suspension was a marginally more resolved than the rear over choppy surfaces, but honestly, I wouldn't be thinking of this as a successor to the FJ Cruiser - even if it does have funky design on its side.

One omission is a downhill brake assist system, or hill descent control. You can get that on some rivals in this segment.


Mitsubishi Outlander6/10

Like the ASX, driving the Outlander is not an outright pleasure. It's not bad - in fact, it's much better than its smaller sibling - but there's little true joy.

The front-wheel-drive LS is shod in what can only be described as deeply ordinary tyres, and even with such little power available, an immodest throttle application results in (admittedly mild) torque steer. For both of those reasons, I'd strongly recommend an all-wheel-drive Outlander. The Eco mode further dulls the driving experience without a useful effect on the fuel economy. 

The front suspension is by McPherson struts, while the rear suspension is a multi-link arrangement. Sadly, this doesn't translate to a particularly accomplished ride and handling setup. Add to that the Outlander's vague electric steering and you've really just got a transport device. Which is perfectly fine if that floats your boat.

Road noise is kept to a minimum - for its faults, the Outlander is quiet in the cruise, no matter which version you choose. 

This isn't an off-road review, but we can tell you a few facts about its capability.  Unladen ground clearance (mm) is just 190, which isn't super high. The wading depth isn't listed in the official spec sheet and there is no diff lock, so don't get too excited about its river-fording ability. You wouldn't call the rubber all-terrain tyres, either - this car is meant for the city, with some mild weekend excursions thrown in. 

Safety

Toyota RAV48/10

At the time of writing, the hasn't yet been an ANCAP safety rating awarded to the new RAV4 - but the company has stated it anticipates a five-star score under the strict 2019 criteria.

A lot of that comes down to the features available in the new model - and there's plenty of safety tech fitted across the entire range.

All grades are fitted with auto emergency braking (AEB) with day/night pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, lane keeping assist (manual models with a slightly lower-grade system), adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go for auto models, high-speed only for manuals), auto high beam lights, road sign recognition and alerts, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

That spec list is strong, but it doesn't have rear AEB which you get on every CX-5, and there's no head-up display, either. That, combined with an unknown safety score, mean the model range can't quite get a top score here.

All models have a reverse camera along with front and rear parking sensors, but there's no semi-autonomous park assist like you'll find in a Tiguan.

Every RAV4 has seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and driver's knee), and there are dual ISOFIX baby car seat attachments, and three top-tether hooks, too.

Where is the Toyota RAV4 built? Australian-delivered models are sourced from Japan.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

The Outlander range scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was last tested in 2014.

Standard across the range are seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls and a reversing camera. The ADAS package - optional on all ES models, standard on the rest - includes reverse parking sensors, forward AEB, lane departure warning, active cruise and auto high-beam. 

The Exceed also includes lane change warning, lane change assist, around-view camera, reverse cross-traffic alert and blind spot warning.

It seems you can only put a baby seat in the second row. On offer are two ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat anchor points.

Ownership

Toyota RAV49/10

Toyota recently introduced its new customer promise - a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, which can be extended to seven years extended warranty provided your car has "logbook servicing" - and that doesn't necessarily have to have been carried out by Toyota's own dealer workshops, either.

The brand also has a capped price servicing plan for the RAV4, and no matter the model, the service cost is the same - $210 per maintenance visit, and these are due every 12 months/15,000km, whichever occurs first. That's incredibly good value.

If you're concerned about potential problems or common faults - possibly around battery defects or or issues - Toyota will do a "battery health check" at the five-year point, and will monitor the battery health every year thereafter, with the warranty for that part of the hybrid model drivetrain spanning 10 years.

Our Toyota RAV4 problems page is the best destination if you want to understand reliability ratings find out common complaints, and it should even give you an idea about resale value, too. Oh, and while you might find the info online, it also pays to check the owners manual for info on oil type, capacity and consumption.


Mitsubishi Outlander7/10

Mitsubishi offers a five-year/100,000km warranty with four years roadside assist in the form of a motoring organisation membership. Also included is a capped-price servicing regime to limit each service cost. 

Maintenance pricing rises as you work through the petrol and diesel range and the the PHEV has its own pricing structure. Over the three years of the program, you'll pay $760 for the 4x2, $846 for the 4x4 petrol and $1150 for the 4x4 diesel. The PHEV's costs amount to $1095.

The warranty also includes a five-year guarantee against rust and similar body faults and covers any reliability issues or defects. 

A sweep of the internet forums suggest there are no obvious automatic gearbox problems, diesel problems or any other transmission issues, which figures, given the long history of each of the components.

The owner’s manual features useful information such as oil type, turning circle (10.6m) and top speed.

Resale value is pretty standard, retaining around 50 per cent after three years, although it’s a little lower vs some of its more accomplished - and more expensive - rivals.