Toyota refreshes the RAV4, not in depth, but where it is needed. After all, the "Recreational Active Vehicle 4-Wheel-Drive", RAV4 for short, should remain one of the best-selling cars in the world a year before its 30th birthday.
It's a close duel for the crown of the world. One that Toyota looks at calmly, after all it is being fought between two protagonists from their own company. Year after year, the duel of the worldwide car charts is RAV4 against Corolla. For the most part, the RAV4 carries hybrid drive, but not in all markets. The USA gets the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, for example, without electrical accessories and with an eight-speed automatic instead of the usual CVT transmission. In this country, it will remain “hybrid only” even after the facelift. Either as a parallel hybrid with front or all-wheel drive (218 and 222 hp system output) or as an externally chargeable plug-in hybrid, exclusively with all-wheel drive (306 hp system output).
, The drives are adopted unchanged and primarily impress with their efficiency. At full load, the driven plug-in hybrid goes to work spontaneously and willingly thanks to its two electric motors, the combustion engine holds back for a long time. Only when the battery, which has a net capacity of around 14.5 kilowatt hours, is empty does the combustion engine have to work harder and make itself felt acoustically. In Sport mode, the two electric motors on the front and rear axles work together with the combustion engine and push the 1.9-ton SUV to 100 km/h in a smooth six seconds. According to the WLTP, up to 75 kilometers should be possible purely electrically. Otherwise: clean transitions between the drives, selectable hybrid modes from electric to maintenance of the charge level and the brake pedal, which responds somewhat nervously due to recuperation.
In rally glory
New against; the GR Sport equipment line, which not only has numerous GR logos and shiny black accents scattered in and over the car, fills the wheel arches with 19-inch wheels, wraps the center panels in artificial suede, but also tightens the dampers and springs a little. The result? Slight loss of comfort and at least on the icy roads of northern Sweden no really noticeable dynamic revelation. The RAV4 drives safely, as a GR Sport that is only available with all-wheel drive, has high traction and communicates subtly through the chassis and the unexcited steering.
Much more important: the outdated infotainment was thrown out and replaced by a new system. This not only offers faster computing times and better resolution, but also intuitive voice control, which can be activated with "Hey Toyota" or a freely configurable command. The system controls media, telephone, climate control and even the operation of the window lifters – even in free language ("I'm cold").Only with the most important function, the voice input of navigation destinations, did the test car cross and did not want to understand a single city name - a bug in the test car, says Toyota. A good opportunity to give the car an over-the-air update, which the RAV4 is now capable of too.
Alternatively, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto can of course also be used. A high-resolution, configurable instrument display now awaits behind the steering wheel. Four basic views can each be further configured in three different information zones - a clear improvement on the somewhat overloaded, boring pre-facelift view. The assistance equipment, which has been expanded to include an avoidance and crossing assistant, is adjusted using steering wheel buttons on the speedometer display. Here the system becomes somewhat fragmented and misleading, since almost every assistance system is provided with an abbreviation and a tiny logo. Whether you now deactivate DRCC, RCTA or PKSB should be clarified beforehand with the operating instructions.
In terms of quality, it remains with the functional, sufficiently high-quality material mix, which puts robustness before hand and eye flattering. After all, the fields of application of the RAV4 are as diverse as the hundreds of thousands of customers who buy it year after year. Nevertheless, you have to dig deep into your pocket for this solidity. The front-wheel drive parallel hybrid starts at 43,790 euros, the plug-in hybrid at 59,790 euros and the almost fully equipped GR Sport as a PHEV even costs 67,990 euros.
Toyota starts in the right places and digitally upgrades the RAV4. Efficiency and practicability remain at a high level, the prices move a bit far from cosmopolitanism.