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Toyota RAV4 2.2 D-4D automatic in the test

Harald Dawo
The Toyota RAV4 2.2 D-4D in the test
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D this was a somewhat longer decision-making phase : 15 years after the first RAV4 and eight years after the first diesel engine in Toyota's compact SUV, there was a package specially tailored to European customers. With the facelift of the 2009 model year, the revised diesel engine could be ordered with an automatic transmission for the first time. For 2010 Toyota has revised the body of the RAV4 again - you can find the pictures of the new version in our photo show. In contrast, nothing more was changed in the technology for 2010, but the combinable packages were expanded. The diesel is now also available in the Life version with automatic.

Extensive renovation work on the Toyota RAV4

The renovation work on the new vintage is a little more extensive than the 2009 facelift. Narrower headlights, a spoiler lip for the front apron, modified K├╝hrler grille. As early as 2009 there were new clear glass taillights, indicators in the exterior mirrors, some chrome trim strips and a modified front apron. New colors inside and outside (the interior can now be optionally ordered in sand beige) as well as the revised multifunction steering wheel with a flattened bottom are further details of the current generation. And now for the first time the combination of diesel and automatic. For the revised two-liter gasoline engine, there is also a self-shifting gearbox (Life equipment, 27,950 euros), but this is a continuously variable CVT gearbox and therefore not everyone's taste. The engineers granted the diesel a current six-speed automatic transmission, but the choice is also limited here. The machine is only available with the newly tuned 150 PS version of the diesel engine, but with the new model year also for the medium life equipment. In the tested executive version for 34,950 euros, the automatic RAV4 is priced identically to the top model with the D-CAT engine and 177 hp, which is only available with a manual transmission.

The Toyota RAV4 will remain in 2010 a compact SUV

Nothing has changed in the basic concept of the RAV4 with the revision. With an exterior length of 4.33 meters, the Toyota is the most compact offer in the competitive field. This earns points when parking in the city, but costs the passengers noticeably space. Tall drivers reach their limits when it comes to the adjustment range of the pilot's seat. Especially in the back it's more likely for adultstoo cramped, which is due to both the legroom and the low back seat. The cargo space is also cut rather compact in length. However, the available storage space is still quite passable due to the extremely low loading sill.

The top discipline of the Toyota RAV4: the crisp driving behavior

A top discipline of the Toyota RAV4 has always been the crisp driving behavior. This is also the case with the current vintage, although it has put on some fat compared to the first model from 1994. What has remained is the agile handling, the smooth but direct and precise steering and the largely foolproof driving behavior. Hard cornering is the favorite food for the compact Japanese. There you can also use the paddles on the steering wheel reasonably well. Because the idiosyncratic control of the automatic transmission is not convincing in all situations. In particular, the late use of the torque converter lock-up and the associated high speeds as well as the doughy-looking propulsion do not really fit in with a modern six-speed automatic. Some fine-tuning of the control electronics would be desirable.

The current automatic control does not seem very tempting, especially for the preferred use of the combi diesel automatic, operating as a towing vehicle. Especially since the automatic diesel with a trailer load of 1.8 tons is allowed to hook 200 kilos less than the manual transmission version. The gearbox tuning is also at the expense of fuel consumption. The data sheet already reports 1.2 liters more consumption compared to the manual transmission, in test operation we achieved an average of 8.5 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers. You can live with the performance (0-100 11.2 seconds, top 183 km /h). If you want to drive much faster, you should use the 177 hp D-CAT model with manual gearbox.

The Toyota RAV4 is a little too sporty on long journeys

Long distances can be bridged without any problems , whereby both the noise level and the overall firm suspension, which reacts rudely to transverse joints and short bumps, is surprising - it doesn't have to be that much sportiness. The unconventional distribution of the controls and the cumbersome control of the air conditioning and navigation also require some getting used to.

Off-road excursions should not be a reason for choosing the Toyota RAV4. Although the automatic transmission could, at least on deep ground and on steeper driveways, score plus points compared to the manual version, the ground clearance of 170 millimeters limits the urge to explore beyond paved roads.

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