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Toyota RAV4


Toyota C-HR

Summary

Toyota RAV4

You can't stand still, even if you're often number one on a car buyer's list and your name is Toyota. Reputation is hard-won and easily lost, and the Japanese company hasn't dropped the ball on that score. Toyota's huge and often top-selling range of SUVs has cemented it's place in the Australian motoring landscape.

The evergreen RAV4 recently enjoyed an upgrade to its specification for the MY18 version. The vast bulk of the MY18 upgrade is to do with the inclusion of a comprehensive list of safety gear to keep it in the ring with the all-conquering CX-5. It hardly needed it - the RAV consistently outsells younger, cheaper rivals with the exception of the Mazda.

With prices up on most models and down on a couple, it's time for a thorough review of the RAV4 range.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Toyota C-HR

Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new Toyota C-HR with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in Victoria.

There's fashionably late to the party, and then there's Toyota's C-HR small SUV. While its competitors were making hay while the city-sized SUV sun was shining, the Japanese powerhouse remained eerily quiet. Sure, there was the occasional sketch and a concept car at the Paris Motor Show in 2014, but then... crickets.

But the brand's first ever city-sized SUV has finally arrived in Australia, and Toyota is promising it's been worth the wait. And it arrives to a market absolutely booming: the 440,000 SUVs sold in Australia last year was more than the double the number sold in 2009. And more than 110,000 of those sales were in the C-HR's hotly contested segment.

To say the C-HR is like no mainstream Toyota product that has gone before (at least in recent years) is a staggering understatement. Gone is the dull design philosophy. Same with the tired-but-safe interiors. Instead you'll find a hugely adventurous exterior, a premium-feel interior and a brand new turbocharged engine.

Perhaps most surprisingly, though, is the brand's focus on an engaging drive experience that even Toyota admits has been missing from its recent back catalogue.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Toyota RAV46.9/10

The RAV4 remains a dependable medium SUV with a spacious interior, excellent build quality and a good range of features and options. It's also an expensive option when compared like-for-like against its main rivals from Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai and even Volkswagen. None of them have the pedigree or reputation of the Toyota and that's clearly worth money. But some of them will throw in floor mats.

The best of the RAV4s has to be GXL 2.5 petrol AWD. It tows the most, has the best specification level and is the most competitively-priced.

The RAV4 is almost the default choice in the medium SUV market. Where does it come on your list?


Toyota C-HR7.3/10

Sharply styled, engaging to drive and stacked with safety kit, the C-HR will be a tempting proposition for small SUV buyers in Australia. Personally, though, we'd be holding on for a more powerful engine, but if your life is lived in the city, that's unlikely to bother you much.

Is the C-HR exciting enough to pull you away from a CX-3? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Design

Toyota RAV47/10

The segment in which the RAV4 plays is filled with stylish cars, so Toyota has brought a more interesting styling language for its mid-sizer's exterior design. While not aggressive-looking and there's nothing in the way of a body kit or sport edition, each model has a tiny rear spoiler. Racy it isn't, but there's a clear theme emerging on Toyota SUVs from the C-HR to the Kluger.

The different models are distinguished by wheel designs and a bit more chrome and metallic finishes on the exterior.

The RAV4 is a five-door SUV hardtop (no soft top - sorry folks), with a good wide rear tailgate for access to the cargo area.

You can add a bit of ruggedness with a roof rack or side steps from the dealer accessory list. Extras like a bull bar or nudge bar will require you to look further afield, the same for a snorkel, different rims, wheel arch extensions and more comprehensive tool kit.

Where is the Toyota RAV4 built? Our supply comes from Japan.


Toyota C-HR8/10

Exciting. Unique. Interesting. Not three words you might normally apply to mainstream Toyota product (it's like crushed Valerian has been mixed in with the exterior paint of the current-generation Camry, for example). But then, this is no ordinary Toyota.

The C-HR part actually stands for Coupe High Rider, and the newest Toyota does give off the same kind of vibes as the pioneers in this weird SUV/Coupe pseudo-style. Viewed front on, the C-HR looks simple enough, with the blocky and tall grille, an extreme example of Toyota's new 'under priority, keen look' design language, framed on either size by two massive and swept back headlights (they're 950mm in length, and Toyota had to have its supplier design new machinery to craft them).

But viewed side on, the coupe-ness emerges, the near-vertical windscreen meets a slightly sloping roofline that eventually meets a rear window which angles away from the roof. The wheel arches are bulging, the belt line is sky-high and even the body crease takes a crazy journey from the top of the wheel arch to the base of door before climbing again to the rear door.

So far so good, then. And from those two angles, the C-HR looks sharp on the road. But its the rear view that looks somehow cluttered and confused. From the mass of black cladding, to the boomerang-shaped brake lights, to the endless array of sharp angles and bulging panels, it looks more than a touch too busy for our tastes. Oh, it's supposed to look like a diamond. But you'd need to have sampled Lucy's sky diamonds to spot it.

There are eight body colours (four are new: red, bronze, teal and silver), while $450 will net you a white- or black-painted roof.

Toyota's made no secret it's targeting a more upmarket clientele or, in the words of Toyota: "our customers will have competitors from premium brands on their shopping lists", and the interior does feel a cut above.

There are still a few hard plastics lurking in places, but the other materials feel well crafted and the driver-angled dash has a kind of layering which works well, with different materials and colours stacked on top of each other.

Practicality

Toyota RAV47/10

The RAV's interior dimensions are nothing to sneeze at. While size isn't everything in this segment, it certainly helps. Our interior photos illustrate a roomy cabin with good storage space for passengers and luggage capacity, with particularly good rear legroom.

The question of how many seats is easily answered - the RAV4 is a five-seater, there is no third row seat option. Passengers are well-looked after with places to put their things, with four cup holders, bottle holders in each door and on the GXL and Cruiser a decent sized front centre console. The glovebox easily swallows the owners manual.

The boot size is 550 litres. Dropping the seats obviously brings an increase in boot space dimensions and an increase in volume to 1760L. It's a big space once you remove the standard retractable cargo cover. If you trawl through the accessories list you can also add a rubber boot liner and cargo barrier and the roof is ripe for bike racks with roof rails on the GXL and Cruiser. You can have the dealer fit roof rails to the entry-level GX for a price.


Toyota C-HR7/10

At 4360mm in length and 1795mm in width, the C-HR is actually slightly bigger than a Corolla, and while the interior can feel claustrophobic at times, space for front and rear passengers is actually pretty good. You can genuinely transport four adults in comfort, though squeezing three across the back seat will wipe smiles off faces pretty quickly.

The weirdest part, though, is a large curved panel in the rear door, which eats away the window space in the back. It means backseat passengers will have to lean forward to look out the window, or be left staring at a door panel.

Elsewhere, expect two cupholders in the front and another one in each of the rear doors, but there are no pockets for bottles in the back. There are two ISOFIX attachment points, one in each window seat in the back. 

Luggage space is pegged at 377 litres with the 60/40 split-fold rear seats in place, but that climbs to 1112 litres with them folded flat.

Price and features

Toyota RAV46/10

There are three trim levels in the RAV4 range - GX, GXL and Cruiser - to which you can then choose fuel type, engine size and number of driven wheels.

How much is a Toyota RAV4? How big is the range? Does Toyota offer drive away pricing? Read on for the answers to these questions, with a price list, specification guide and model comparison from the bottom to the top of the range. 

Common to all RAV4s is the 6.1-inch touchscreen which powers the multimedia and sound system, which includes DAB radio, CD player (but no CD changer or DVD player), six speakers (but no subwoofer) and basic smartphone integration via USB or Bluetooth, both iPhone and Android. It works, but the interface is very basic and only baby's fingers can accurately hit the tiny targets.

The media systems still doesn't feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but the GPS navigation system slightly cushions the blow of the sub-par infotainment.

The GX opens the range and is available with all three engines. Standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic LED headlights (no HID, projector or xenons here), fog lamps, auto wipers, Bluetooth, remote central locking, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, push button start and daytime running lights.

There are five GXs: the 2.0 manual FWD at $29,450 (up $900) and the GX auto FWD at $31,490 (up $900), which is actually a CVT. Stepping up to the 2.5 auto will cost $34,490 (up $840) and is a proper auto. Another step is the 2.2-litre diesel, starting at $39,060 for the manual and finally the GX auto sells for $41,100 (both up a hefty $2350). More than $41,000 for a car with steel wheels strikes me as a little stiff.

The GXL picks up 18-inch alloy wheels (16 and 17 inch alloys wheels are not available), dual zone climate control (as opposed to the standard ac), smart key with keyless entry and start and privacy glass (a darker window tint on the rear windows).

You have a choice of three GXLs, all automatic - the 2.0 FWD CVT for $35,490 (up a modest $100), the 2.5 AWD is $38,490 (up an even more modest $40) and the 2.2 diesel AWD is $41,100 (again, a whopping $2350 increase).

The premium interior pack is available on the 2.0 GXL FWD and adds heated and power adjustable leather seats with two memory positions while maintaining all the good stuff from the rest of the range, including sat nav.

Step up to the Cruiser and you get what is effectively a GXL with the premium package on any of the available engine options plus different wheels, power tailgate and an 11-speaker JBL-branded stereo with MP3 compatibility. Available in just 2.5 petrol automatic for $44,490 (down $910) and 2.2 diesel for $50,500, the Cruiser escapes the MY18 diesel model price rises.

Toyota's website offers drive away pricing, but you'd be mad not to negotiate on those prices.

Not available are a panoramic sunroof, homelink, seat belt extender, heated steering wheel, or tonneau cover.

Across the range, you can choose from eight colours - Glacier White, Liquid Bronze, Hazel, Silver Sky, Graphite (a charcoal grey), Ink (very dark blue), Blue Gem and Atomic Rush (red).

If you pick the GXL or Cruiser, you have two more to choose from: Crystal Pearl (fancy white) and Peacock Black. Sadly, green is off the menu.

As there is a space-saver spare, Toyota does not supply a tyre repair kit. A steel full-size spare is available for $300, but won't match your alloy wheels if you have them.


Toyota C-HR8/10

Now for the bad news: there's no price-led entry-level model here. Instead you'll be asked to part with $26,990 for the cheapest C-HR, which is about $6k more than an entry-level Corolla. Toyota explains away the price hike by saying most (about 80 per cent) of small SUV shoppers jump into the market at a medium trim level or higher, saying the C-HR's customers are "looking for the niceties of life."

Niceties or no, that money will earn you a front-wheel drive, manual-equipped vehicle with satellite navigation, active cruise control and cloth seats. You'll also get dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloys, an electric parking brake and LED fog lights and DRLs. Most commendably, you also get an impressive suite of standard safety kit, but we'll come back to that in a moment. As in the rest of the range, your touchscreen will be a fairly underwhelming 6.1-inches in size, and is missing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Toyota has simplified the costs from there, asking customers to shell out another $2k for a CVT (auto) and another $2k for AWD, lifting the combined price to $30,990.

If you're still wanting more, another $4,300 (for a total $35,290) will earn you the top-spec Koba treatment, adding heated leather seats, push-button start, LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch alloys, privacy glass and Toyota's new 'Nanoe E' air-con technology that not only blocks all kinds of nasties, but adds moisture to the air to stop you hair and skin drying out.

Engine & trans

Toyota RAV47/10

The range has three engine options and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains along with three gearbox types. Absent from the range are full EV, plug-in hybrid or LPG versions. Not all engines are available in all specification grades.

The two petrols are both four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engines and available with front wheel drive or AWD. There aren't that many turbo petrol options in this segment, so it's no surprise there isn't one in Toyota's line-up.

The 2.0-litre engine is available in manual or CVT and delivers 107kW and 187Nm. Its towing capacity is listed at 800kg for a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.

If you want a bit more horsepower or just like a bigger engine size, the 2.5-litre engine is available only in AWD with the six-speed auto. The specifications sheet says it produces 132kW and 233Nm. The 2.5-litre's towing load capacity jumps by quite a lot, with a trailer ratings of 1500kg braked and unbraked at 750kg.

Finally, the 2.2-litre diesel knocks out 110kW and 340Nm. The diesel models are all-wheel drive only but are available in manual if you like a clutch, or a six-speed automatic for those lazy left-leggers out there.

The turbo-diesel, curiously, has less towing capability than the 2.5 petrol, with a 1200kg braked and 750kg unbraked rating. Usually the diesel vs petrol argument is settled on what you can drop on the tow bar, but not here.

Timing belt or chain? The diesel and petrol engines all have timing chains. Each RAV4's battery can be found under the bonnet but is easily accessible. Oil types differ by model, each with varying capacity.


Toyota C-HR6/10

The C-HR is powered by a turbocharged 1.2-litre, four cylinder petrol engine, on debut in this model, that produces 85kW from 5200–5600rpm and 185Nm between 1500–4000rpm. Those numbers don't make for the most exhilarating acceleration: while no official sprint times have been quoted, we were producing 12.5-ish second runs, albeit recorded on a phone on undulating road surfaces.

That power can be sent to the front wheels or to all four tyres, depending on your budget, via a six-speed manual transmission with a tricky rev-matching system that blips the throttle on up and down shifts for smoother gear changes, or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic. The CVT has a manual mode - though there's no wheel-mounted shifters - which builds in seven artificial steps in the gearing to simulate a traditional auto.

Fuel consumption

Toyota RAV47/10

As there are so many drivetrains from which to choose, fuel consumption is a big question.

Claimed fuel economy on the 2.0-litre petrol is rated at 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle, 8.5L/100km for the 2.5 and the diesel is good for 6.7L/100km. If you want to flip that around, you'll get about 13km/L for the 2.0, 11.76km/L for the 2.5 and just under 15km/L on the diesel.

The fuel tank capacity is 60 litres in all variants.

In our testing, the eco mode doesn't do a great deal for the mileage.


Toyota C-HR7/10

While the front-wheel drive versions paired with the manual transmission will sip a claimed/combined 6.3 litres per hundred kilometres, some clever tech ensures the auto and all-wheel drive models aren't far off.

Opt for a FWD drive paired with a CVT, and your official fuel use climbs to 6.4L/100km, thanks in part to the fact that the CVT is tuned to sit in its highest possible ratio when coasting.

The AWD models claim 6.5L/100km, helped by the fact the engine actually defaults to FWD when it can, only incorporating the rear tyres if pushed, which will see up to 50 per cent of the power sent to the back.

Driving

Toyota RAV46/10

The RAV4 is a classic Toyota - well-built, solidly engineered but not particularly exciting to drive. Let's get the complaints out of the way first, because there aren't many.

Road noise is a little higher than on most of the competition, the former owner of the noise crown being the old Mazda CX-5. While it isn't hugely noisy, it isn't as quiet as most of its competitors. The diesel is a bit clattery around town and when you accelerate for, say, an overtake, it really lets you know what kind of fuel it is drinking.

It also took me a while to find a driving position I liked and the electric power steering is a bit inconsistent and hard to read. Lastly, it's not a lightweight, either, with kerb weights between 1465kg and 1635kg and gross vehicle weight between 2000kg (GX manual) 2280kg (Cruiser diesel auto).

There, that's the worst of it out of the way. In every other way, the RAV4 is an agreeable machine. While not fitted with off road tyres, its off road capabiliity is better than most of its rivals. Part of that is down to the centre diff lock (activated with a button) and a fairly traditional sort of all-wheel drive system.

Toyota does not quote a wading depth so proceed with care should attempt a water crossing.

The suspension can handle a fair bit of punishment and puts the car high in the air, with a ground clearance figure of 197mm. Front suspension is McPherson struts and the rear trailing arm double wishbones with coil springs, which is fairly advanced but mighty good for on-road manners and ride quality. Live rear axle fans will have to look at the Fortuner.

The turning radius is reasonably tight, resulting in a turning circle of 10.6m

None of the models are known for its 0 100 acceleration or top speed performance, but obviously it's not that kind of car. The 2.0-litre in either manual, CVT (FWD) or auto (AWD) form is never going to set the world alight and if you want to tow even a modest load, it's not for you.

Stepping up to the 2.5 petrol fixes the towing issue and, bizarrely, tows the most of any of them. It's a refined, unstressed unit and when matched with the unfussy six-speed automatic, is probably the most relaxed - if not cheapest to run - of the RAVs. 

The turbo-diesel is punchy and economical but, ultimately, it would probably come down to range requirements - you won't have to fill up as often in the diesel but it is also the most accomplished on the highway. As mentioned, it's a little noisy and its figures aren't earth-shattering when viewed in comparison with Hyundai, Mazda and Volkswagen.


Toyota C-HR7/10

A Toyota SUV honed at the Nurburgring? Clearly, then, this a new direction for the brand.

This is supposed to be Toyota's driver's car, and in a lot of ways it is. The steering is terrific, smooth and predictable in the city, and perfectly linear when you start tackling tighter, faster bends. The ride is great, too, while the suspension, which strikes a commendable balance between supple and sporty, helps ensure the C-HR sits nice and flat when cornering, only pushing to understeer when you really ask a lot from it.

However, there are some drawbacks. The first is the engine, which feels adequate in the CBD when you're jumping from traffic light to traffic light, but whimpers pretty quickly when you try to unlock some performance.

But the biggest issue for us is the CVT . It's far from the worst we've driven - quieter and smoother than most - but it's a terrible way to draw any meaningful performance from the engine. The foot-flat climb from 30 to 70km/h feels particularly slow, thought that's improved by selecting manual mode, which builds in seven artificial gear steps.

That said, it's not supposed to be an out-and-out performance car, it's simply supposed to be a better driving car than Toyotas that have gone before it, and we think it definitely is. Road noise, too, is kept to a minimum, and vision out of every window (except the rear windscreen - thank goodness for standard reversing cameras) is terrific.

In short, it's a great set-up let down by a lacklustre engine, but heavy rumours abound about Toyota fixing that problem in the not too distant future. Either way, it is a strong outing for Toyota's new TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architecture) platform that will underpin a whole heap of its new products in coming years.

Safety

Toyota RAV48/10

The recent MY18 update brought with it a stack of safety features in additional to the seven airbags, ABS, stability control (VSC), traction control and brake assist.

All RAVs now come with Toyota Safety Sense which includes a basic lane assist technology in the form of lane departure warning. Safety Sense also adds auto high beam, forward collision warning and auto emergency braking (AEB).

The RAV4 GXL and Cruiser variants pick up a blind spot monitor system.

As far as park assist technology goes, you have reverse cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors depending on the model.

Your baby car seat can be fitted using the three top-tether anchor points or two ISOFIX points.

The RAV carries a five star ANCAP safety rating, the highest available.


Toyota C-HR8/10

A hugely commendable safety package arrives as standard, with every trim level equipped with AEB, active cruise control, a lane departure system that will take over the steering if it senses you're drifting. That's a lot of handy safety technology, especially on an, albeit expensive, entry-level model. You also get blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and hill start assist.

The high-tech stuff joins seven airbags, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Ownership

Toyota RAV47/10

Toyota offers a standard three year/100,000km warranty, which will give you peace of mind should any problems or issues arise. Toyotas enjoy high reliability ratings and the RAV4 is no different, but should any defects or problems arise, the dealer network is extensive. An extended warranty is also available from dealers.

As for servicing, service cost is dependent on the model and capped price servicing is available, including labour, oil, fluids and some parts. Service intervals come in at six months or 10,000km. Servicing for the petrol-engined cars is capped at $180 per service and for the diesel at $240 per service.

Toyota offers a service called Express Maintenance at some dealers, which puts your car at the front of the queue to get it done while you wait.

Resale value is strong, with few common faults reported in the usual places. Occasional transmission issues or automatic transmission problems have been reported, but generally in older models before 2010. The same goes for power steering issues, but again, these appear on earlier versions of the car. A second hand RAV4 is rarely a bad buy when properly looked after and serviced.


Toyota C-HR7/10

The Toyota C-HR is covered by a three year/100,000km warranty and requires a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 15,000kms.

An impressive capped-price service scheme sees maintenance costs pegged at just $195 per year for the first five years.