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Toyota RAV4


Peugeot 5008

Summary

Toyota RAV4

It speaks to the wide-ranging, seemingly infinite appeal of the Toyota RAV4 that a manual version of it even exists.

But here we are, with one of the country’s most popular mid-size SUVs in 2019, with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Sure, only the base car can be fitted with it, and we’re confident it will impress those vocal few people in every single comment section who demand it, but is it actually any good? Or does a manual gearbox tarnish the rather excellent package that is CarsGuide's Car of the Year 2019 overall winner?

While we’re at it, we’ll also give you the low-down on what the cheapest RAV4 is like. Read on to see what we thought.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Peugeot 5008

I know it’s difficult, but try for a moment to imagine an Australia without Peugeot in it. Actually, it’s not that difficult at all, is it? It would look, well, a whole lot like the Australia of today. Hell, it wouldn't even help with traffic - less than 3400 new cars would have vanished last year, barely enough to make a dent.

Because the French brand is not making much of an impact Down Under. There are probably a few reasons for that; the fact it has been trapped between being not Japanese or Korean, and yet not-quite European, compounded by unpopular product which was also probably too expensive.

But that was the old Peugeot. Before the brand switched to a new importer in Australia (Inchcape, which also imports Subaru), and before the new-look senior management team arrived vowing to breathe new life into the brand here. Most importantly, though, it was before the arrival of the really rather good (and 2017 European Car of The Year) 3008 SUV, which marked the dawning of a new era for Peugeot. 

This is the second salvo in this new-product offensive, the 5008; a sexy seven-seat SUV Peugeot has high hopes for in Australia. And given it’s essentially a bigger version of the 3008, we have high hopes for it, too.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency4.8L/100km
Seating7 seats

Verdict

Toyota RAV47.9/10

When Toyota launched the new RAV4 it couldn’t afford to get it wrong.

It didn’t. Even this absolute base car is incredibly well equipped, superb when it comes to comfort, and offers the largest cabin in the mid-size segment.

I’m as surprised as you possibly are that Toyota even sells it as a manual, but honestly, it’s this car’s worst attribute. It only serves to tarnish the drive experience. Pay the extra and get the auto.


Peugeot 50087.8/10

The French comeback rolls on, with the 5008 continuing the good work of the 3008, just with more room for cargo or humans. A really very versatile interior, a solid choice of engines and - thank goodness - a conventional automatic combine to make the 5008 a genuine contender in the seven-seat class. Peugeot deserves kudos for its well-stacked standard features and safety lists, too. 

But the brand considers this a premium car, and so has priced it like one. Only time will tell whether buyers agree with them...

Is this French roll set to continue with the 5008? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Design

Toyota RAV48/10

The RAV4 has come far in its design and aesthetic since the previous generation. It’s much better at grabbing your eye as it cruises past, and although it borrows a lot from the Kluger which has been on the market for a while now, it still strikes the eye as modern and angular.

The double-barreled snout, air dams and chunky wheelarches add a sense of capability to its contemporary guise. Even this base car gets chunky alloys and is covered in contrast black plastic cladding, adding to its look over base-model competitors. The blue tinge of LED headlights rather than the dull tones of halogens seal the deal.

Around at the rear it modernizes the dated Kluger formula with squared-off light fittings and a roof spoiler. The wholly unnecessary dual-exhaust is nice, too.

The interior is where the most base model tells are. You’re greeted by a sea of grey plastics, although to Toyota’s credit, many of them are soft to the touch. It’s all too easy to notice the blanked-out buttons, covered over climate control dials and six-speed gearshifter that looks like it was dropped out of a last-generation Corolla.

While the big screen nestles in the dash, 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen and silver highlights help counteract the base-model blues, there’s no escaping a nasty plastic steering wheel.

The overall visual aesthetic of the RAV4 is still cool, though. On the inside there are great textures hidden everywhere. There’s a triangular pattern in all the storage areas designed to help stop objects from moving, stripped rubbery textures on the inside of the door handles and rubbery turbine patterns on the air-con and volume knobs. Nice touches.

The seats are in a plain pattern but nice to the touch and should be fairly easy to clean as they are comprised of a rugged synthetic material.

All that adds up for a cabin ambiance that easily outclasses most price-competitors, and even higher-spec cars from rival brands.


Peugeot 50088/10

We said at the time that the Peugeot 3008 might be the best-looking SUV in its segment, and the 5008 shares that same curb appeal - even if it doesn't look quite as handsome as its smaller siblings.

It falls into a weird size category; at 4641mm, it's 165mm longer than the five-seat 3008, but it's dwarfed by true seven-seaters, like the CX-9 (5075mm). But that's no bad thing for its looks.

Bigger is rarely better when it comes to car design, and the 5008 looks compact and dynamic, with only the area stretching from the C-pillar to the tail-lights hinting at the seven seats within. A bulging bonnet, blacked-out body kit and big shining alloys across the line-up give the 5008 a strong road presence.

Cleverly, it feels bigger inside than it seems from its exterior, with the interior feeling spacious and airy up front, and with positively spacious interior dimensions in the second row. 

The cabin design is going to be one of those love/hate things, though; a futuristic-feeling design that won’t appeal to everyone. The textured, layered dash design makes the driver and front passenger feel like they're sitting in their own cockpit, with piano key-style controls in the dash that take care of everything from the air-conditioning to the hazard lights. 

Practicality

Toyota RAV49/10

I parked this RAV4 next to a last-generation Toyota Kluger and really shouldn’t have been surprised how close they were in size. Still, bracket creep means the RAV4 is now truly gigantic compared to its forebears and that means family practicality all over.

It’s things as simple as the fact that both doors are massive and open very wide, allowing for super easy access to any seat for less mobile passengers, those lifting cargo up into the cabin, and those who might need to fit child seats.

Leg and headroom for the front two passengers is stellar, and the driver’s position is very adjustable, even with the base manual-adjust seats. Visibility is up with segment leaders like the Subaru Forester, as the RAV4 is essentially a glasshouse with massive windows and wing-mirrors.

Even the dial cluster is huge and legible, and there are big dials for operating the air conditioning and multimedia while you keep your eyes on the road.

You’ll find storage areas everywhere with that triangle pattern for holding objects in. All the bottleholders (two in the doors, two in the centre console) are massive, and there’s a huge trench in front of the shift-knob suitable for even the largest phones.

There’s even a long trench above the glove box for… aesthetic purposes? It has the no-slip surface, but objects would hurtle towards passengers under heavy acceleration, so I fail to see the point of it.

There's one USB port, one 'aux' jack, and one 12-volt socket for front passengers.

In terms of rear legroom, your second-row passengers will hardly be flying economy. I had a abundance of legroom behind my own driving position. Arm and headroom were also plentiful.

All doors have a soft strip across them for elbows. There’s a drop-down arm rest even in the base car, and the same chunky, grippy doorcards with a big bottle holder.

Rear passengers get a set of air vents on the back of the centre console, too.

The boot is ridiculous with a class-leading 580-litres (VDA) of space. It’s wide and unimpeded by styling bits, and you can even stow the roller cover under the floor paneling when not in use.

The GX ships with a space-saver spare, but you can upgrade to a full-size alloy spare for $300. If you do so you’ll remove the false-floor paneling.


Peugeot 50089/10

It’s insanely clever, the 5008. And you could probably own one for 12 months or more before you discovered all the practicality features hidden around the cabin. But allow us to give you a little head start. 

For one, the cup holder count sits at eight (more than one per passenger, for some reason), plus front-seat riders can access the usual collection of USB and power connections.

The infotainment/multimedia system across all trim levels is operated by a clean and simple-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your Android device (or iPhone, with a special case). Expect a sat-nav navigation system (or you can use your phone’s GPS maps), DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connection and a CD player, but there’s no DVD player on offer anywhere in the range.

While there’s no business pack model like you’d find overseas, all 5008s are commendably well equipped, with LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control with full stop and dual-zone air conditioning all appearing standard across the range.

The Allure does feel less plush vs the GT-Line and GT models, the former adding special floor matts and an auto-opening boot, while the latter scores bigger, 19-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats with a massage function for the driver. But more kit comes along with extra cost, of course, so the compromise is the fact the GT-Line and GT’s rrp reside higher up the price list by comparison.

Leather seats (the GT-Line and GT are fitted with man-made leather as standard), is a $3700 option, while a sunroof will set you back $2000, both of of which appear on an admirably short optional features/accessories list. 

A flat white (the colour, not the coffee) is only the hue you’ll get for free, but optional colours include 'Pearl White', three kinds of grey, black, green and blue. Those colours sound a little beige (we really need three greys?), and you can forget out-there tones like gold. 

Each of the three middle-row seats is individually mounted on a sliding rail, so every passenger can decide exactly how much legroom they want, too. And, especially with the seats set to their furthest-back position, there is plenty of room to sit in comfort. Each front seat-back is equipped with a storage net, but even more clever are the fold-down tables mounted above the nets that arrive as standard on every model. 

Space is predictably tighter in the third row, with the two rear spots feeling more like temporary jump seats than a full-time solution, but they are very handy for a big family nonetheless.

The real party trick here is the 5008’s boot space, though. First, you can fold down the third and second rows, and even the passenger seat, to unlock a staggering 2042 litres of storage space. 

Want more? You can remove both of the third row seats entirely (they weigh 11kg each), freeing up even more space in the back. It also means how many seats you use is up to you; if you’re a smaller family that occasionally needs seven seats, you can leave them in the garage until you need them.

Price and features

Toyota RAV48/10

That’s right. The GX manual is the cheapest way to get into a Toyota RAV4 today. Starting at $30,640 (MSRP – before on-road costs) we’d even consider it great value despite the manual 'box.

To understand why you just have to take one look at its specification sheet. Remember, this mid-sizer competes against the (also surprisingly still manual) Nissan X-Trail ST ($29,890), Honda CR-V Vi (auto - $28,290), and Mitsubishi Outlander ES ADAS (auto - $33,290).

If you’re happy milling your own gears, you get better kit than the auto entry-level CR-V, the manual X-Trail ST and even significantly undercut the entry-level Outlander (if you include the fact that the Mitsubishi requires the ADAS pack to even compete on safety).

Included spec on this absolute base car includes not-so-budget stuff like 17-inch alloys, an 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen (which will ship have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto imminently, but if you buy a current-stock car you will have to return to the dealer for a software upgrade), DAB+ digital radio, built-in sat-nav, manual air conditioning (this base grade strips the cool little screens out of the dials), auto LED headlights, a 4.2-inch display in the dash, front and rear parking sensors, and heated auto-folding wing mirrors.

Other regular sort of spec items include six speakers and a reversing camera.

That’s the best kit at this price in the mid-size SUV world by a solid margin. That’s not all though, even this manual RAV4 features the full 'Toyota Safety Sense' suite. More on that in the safety section of this review (spoiler: It’s good).

Among the few giveaways that the GX manual is the cheapest one is the turn-key ignition, cloth seat trim, and urethane steering wheel. Still… are you really going to complain against its unprecedented list of inclusions at this price?

The closest you can get to competing to the base RAV4 on value is possibly the base Forester ($34,690) but you’ll pay to have all-wheel drive and auto.

Options are limited to premium paint (every colour except for ‘Glacier White’ - $600).


Peugeot 50087/10

In France, Peugeot is a mass brand - the country's answer to our Holden or Ford. But the company's new bosses don't reckon that strategy will work here, and so they are instead moving the 5008 more upmarket, axing the Euro-only entry-level models so the range here begins with a better-equipped vehicle instead. 

All of which means the cheapest way into the Peugeot 5008 family is the $42,990 Allure, a front-wheel drive, petrol-powered model that arrives with 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, auto headlights and wipers, electric (and heated) door mirrors and keyless entry. 

Inside, you'll find those three rows of 'man-made leather' seats, dual-zone climate and automatic windows. Tech is covered by an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with navigation and DAB, along with wireless charging for your Android phone (iPhones require a special case).

Next is the GT-Line, which will set you back $46,990. It adds an auto-opening boot that can be activated by swiping your foot underneath it, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chrome exhaust tips and some GT-Line styling touches like special floor mats and a reshaped front bumper. 

Finally, you can spring for the GT, which lists at $52,990. That seems like quite a jump, sure, but you do get a diesel engine (which we'll come back to under Engines/Transmissions), as well as 19-inch alloys, Alcantara trim in the cabin, heated front seats (with a massage function for the driver) and more aggressive wheelarches. 

Engine & trans

Toyota RAV47/10

The six-speed manual version of the GX as tested here can only be had with a 127kW/203Nm 2.0-litre non-turbo petrol engine.

Those power figures are so-so and you’ll need to push up the rev-range (and compromise your fuel economy while doing so) to make the most out of them because there’s no turbo.

There are more sophisticated powertrains available in this segment with superior outputs, although not many at this price.

The manual transmission does let you wrangle the most out of this engine, although I was less impressed with the way it feels. More on that in the driving segment.


Peugeot 50087/10

There are two engine sizes on offer, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Allure and GT-Line, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel motor in the GT. Both pair with a six-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual) and drive the front wheels exclusively (a proper 4X4 isn't available - you'd think the diesel was crying out for a 4WD system - though a faux-AWD system can be optioned). 

There is no LPG option available, but much has been made of Peugeot’s race to embrace electric powertrains, so expect a plug-in hybrid model to be a part of future planning. Peugeot claims a maximum towing capacity of 1550kg in petrol-powered cars, and 1500kg in diesel vehicles. A towbar is an optional accessory, though. 

At 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm for the petrol engine, and 133kW at 3750rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm for the diesel, the horsepower specifications are near enough line-ball. But the low-end torque of the diesel ensures it feels the punchiest around the city.

The automatic transmission is a traditional gearbox, as opposed to a dual-clutch or CVT auto unit. As such, those all-too-common automatic gearbox problems usually associated with them (confusion at slow speeds and slurring or stuttering) are nowhere to be found.

Fuel-tank capacity is listed at 56 litres, and Peugeot claims a tare weight of between 1470kg and 1575kg. For information concerning your battery, oil type or diesel particulate filters, consult your owner’s manual.

Fuel consumption

Toyota RAV47/10

The manual version of the RAV4 wears a claimed/combined fuel consumption rating of 6.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. That’s pretty low, although nowhere near as low as the Hybrid auto’s amazing 4.7L/100km combined rating.

Over a week of driving in conditions I would consider true to combined freeway/urban driving, I scored 8.0L/100km which is not bad at all considering the RAV4’s size.

The RAV4 drinks base grade 91RON unleaded petrol and a 55L fuel tank. There’s no diesel version this time around.


Peugeot 50087/10

The petrol engine will return claimed fuel economy of 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres for the combined (urban, extra-urban) cycle, while diesel fuel consumption is listed at 4.8L/100km. Emissions are pegged at 156g/km (petrol) and 124g/km (diesel) of CO2.

Driving

Toyota RAV47/10

The idea of a six-speed manual with rev-matching technology (complete with three modes) sounds fantastic on paper. Comment section pundits will be overjoyed. The bad news is it’s simply not that great.

It seems to be geared quite tall, and there’s a long throw between each cog. There’s not much feel to it locking in, nor is there any feel through the extremely light clutch pedal, so I admittedly ground the gears on more than one occasion.

As much as I hate to admit it, I prefer the CVT auto in this SUV for the same reasons I believe all SUVs this size should have spongy suspension.

It’s not meant to be a driver’s car. This is a practicality appliance for families that just so happens to have wheels. It should be comfortable and easy to use.

Thankfully, the rest of the RAV4’s drive experience is exactly that. The suspension has a lovely soft comfort-focused tune, and the combination of soft springs and small wheels (shod with relatively high profile rubber) makes for a quiet and refined cabin.

Of course, the trade off is that the RAV4 is hardly a corner carving sport machine, but ask yourself – do you need that?

The steering is very light, making the big body easy to swing around city streets, but it does lose a little feeling at speed.

As already mentioned, the visibility is excellent out of this car, the amenities are easy to use without becoming distractions, and it’s reassuring that the safety stuff is all really rather good.

A riveting drive the RAV4 is perhaps not, but it nails the brief as an easy-to-use family machine.


Peugeot 50088/10

There are plenty of times when being predictable is a bad thing (professional sports, movie plots, bank robbing), but the 5008 is predictable in all the right ways. And that's because it drives, more or less, like a bigger version of the 3008 SUV that arrived in Australia last year. 

We spent the bulk of our time in the diesel-powered GT, in which we tackled just about every imaginable road type, from freeways to twisting stuff to off-road gravel runs. And we came away genuinely impressed by the 5008's overall dynamics. 

The ride sits on the firm side of sporty, and feels more so on the 19-inch alloy wheels of the GT cars, but the suspension rarely strays into uncomfortable, and always feels well connected to the road below. 

The extra power of the diesel translates to slightly better acceleration, with a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds, a touch quicker than the petrol car's 10.5 seconds. A performance car this ain't, but it doesn't feel underpowered, either. 

With 230mm ground clearance, you'll get more off-road ability than in a low-slung sedan, but there's no true four-wheel drive system available, instead you can option 'Grip Control' on the Allure and GT-Line cars for $200 (it's a no-cost option on the GT, but you have to swap the 19s for 18s), which acts as a faux-AWD system.

Should you attack a twisting road, you'll find the 5008 sits flat through the sharpest of bends with almost no roll in the body. There are sportier cars, of course (and the button marked 'Sport' in the cabin seems to do little but add dead weight to the steering), but the French SUV won't embarrass itself on the bendy stuff.

But it's home in the city, and keep the inputs smooth, and the 5008 coasts through the CBD with ease. The fact that it's on the small side for a seven-seat SUV is a huge bonus for city driving (remember, this is a car designed for Paris - a place that knows a thing or two about tight streets with limited parking), and the tech-laden cabin is comfortable and convenient.

It’s not the quietest diesel we’ve driven, though the cabin is well-insulated from the noise, and there’s no shortage of lag when you really put your foot down. One more word of caution, though; Peugeot uses an all-electric gear shift to select Park, Drive or Reverse, and it can be both fiddly and slow to respond. It’s best to take your time with it while you’re figuring out the quirks.

Safety

Toyota RAV49/10

Even though this is a rare manual, it doesn’t miss out on much of the RAV4’s impressive standard active safety suite.

Included is auto emergency braking (AEB – with pedestrian and cyclist detection day and night), active cruise control (yes, even on the manual), lane departure warning (with lane keep assist), but no ‘lane trace alert’ available on the auto, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

That’s among the best active safety in the entire mid-size SUV category, and it’s all on the manual base model. Toyota’s here to win.

The RAV4 also has an above-average seven airbags, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera (pretty good), and ISOFIX child seat mounting points on the outer two rear seats.

It also has the expected stability, traction, and brake controls.

Somewhat unsurprisingly once you’ve digested all that, the RAV4 wears a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating (with excellent scores across the four new categories) as of May 2019.


Peugeot 50088/10

The 5008’s safety story is a solid one, with every model arriving with six airbags (including curtain airbags that cover both the second and third rows), a (strangely low-resolution) 360-degree parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, AEB, lane-departure warning, speed-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and park assist, along with the usual suite of traction and braking aids and three ISOFIX attachment points

Step up to the GT-Line or GT and you’ll add active blind-spot monitoring and cornering headlights. 

The 5008 is yet to be ANCAP crash-tested, but it scored the maximum five-star safety rating when crashed by Euro NCAP.

Ownership

Toyota RAV48/10

The RAV4 is covered by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty that Toyota thankfully upgraded to earlier in 2019.

But that’s not quite the whole story. If you keep your service record genuine and up-to-date Toyota will cover the engine for an extra two years, and you’ll also be covered by seven years of roadside assist and a 60-day money-back guarantee (if your car should suffer an issue which renders it ‘undrivable’ inside that period).

The five-year base coverage also includes panel work and any genuine accessory you might have fitted.

The RAV4 requires servicing once a year or every 15,000km whichever occurs first, and is covered by a capped price of just $210 (incredibly cheap) for the first four years.

The RAV4 is built in Japan.


Peugeot 50088/10

The Peugeot 5008 is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty, with matching roadside assist, and will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 20,000km.

Peugeot’s 'Assured Price' servicing program lists the service cost for each of the first nine services on the brand’s website. Servicing is cheaper than before, too, now $1745 (petrol) and $1685 (diesel) for the first three years - more than $500 cheaper than the out-going model.

Every 5008 arrives with a clever take on the traditional owner’s manual (a new app in which you point your phone at the part of the car you want to know about and it will jump to that page on the digital manual) and a space-saver spare tyre in petrol models and a repair kit in diesel models. 

It’s far too soon to know of any problems, common faults or reliability issues, but keep an eye on our Peugeot owner’s page.