It seems you can’t navigate through the concrete jungle (or an organic one for that matter!) these days without coming across a compact SUV of some sorts. This shouldn’t come as a surprise - in 1994 Toyota kick-started the cross-over revolution with the very first RAV4.

Launched as a compact three-door model measuring just 3.69 metres in length, the original RAV was a radically different animal to what was then on offer in the form of traditional 4x4s. In South Africa we have more than 15 vehicles that can lay claim to the title ‘compact SUV’, but it’s worth remembering that it was Toyota that pioneered this segment.

The powertrain line-up now comprises a 107kW 2.0 litre Valvematic petrol engine in two-wheel drive format mated to a choice of 6-speed manual or Multidrive S (Toyota’s highly-advanced Continuously Variable Transmission system) transmissions; a 110kW 2.2 litre D-4D diesel engine teamed up with a six-speed manual and the all-wheel drive capabilities of Toyota’s AWD System; and a 132kW 2.5 litre VVT-i petrol unit married to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission and AWD.

The new RAV4’s trim levels (GX and VX) offer a generous sliding scale of kit. GX models are anything but spartan thanks to exterior features such as standard roof rails, 17” alloys, and Daytime Running Lights (DRL). The only external differentiator between the 2.0-litre models and the 2.2 D-4D is the addition of integrated foglamps for the latter. Step up to the flagship VX and you gain a chrome insert in the front bumper, front and rear mud flaps, power retractable side mirrors, a moon roof with tilt and slide function, and High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with cleaning system.


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