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Toyota RAV4 (2016 - 2018)

The independent definitive Toyota RAV4 (2016-2018) video review
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    RAV-RIGHT (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Introductionword count: 68

    Toyota's RAV4 compact SUV soft roader has been around so long it's easy to forget quite how far it's come. In 2016, an improved version of the fourth generation model went on sale and was smarter and better finished, plus it featured more competitive diesel power and crucially, the option of a hybrid engine for the first time. Does it make sense as a used buy? Let's see.

    Modelsword count: 11

    5 door mid-sized SUV (2.0 VVT-i petrol, 2.0 D-4D, 2.5 Hybrid)

    Historyword count: 166

    Think of a small, sporty and relatively affordable soft roading SUV and you're probably thinking of this one, Toyota's RAV4. Since the company's 'Recreational Activity Vehicle' was first launched in 1994, it's redefined its market sector, spawning a whole host of imitators. By 2016 though, the RAV4 itself has needed redefining, hence the far-reaching changes made to the much improved fourth generation version we're going to look at here. The 4th generation RAV4 first went on sale in 2013 but by 2016, the imminent arrival of Toyota's slightly smaller CH-R SUV allowed it to be moved a little more up-market with a smarter look, a re-designed interior, extra safety, more up-to-date infotainment and, most importantly, the introduction of hybrid power to the model line-up for the very first time. This, we were told, is 'The SUV - Redefined'. It was certainly a Toyota SUV much better positioned to meet the needs of a very different world. It sold until the MK5 RAV4 arrived in early 2019.

    What You Getword count: 336

    A RAV4 must never be big and bulky. Buyers have always looked at one and thought 'yes I could drive that', 'yes, I could park it' and 'yes, that would look rather nice in the driveway'. All these observations, of course, apply to this restyled MK4 model, but with this design, there's a sense of individuality that arguably, the RAV4 hadn't had since the Nineties. The most notable changes took place up-front, where a smarter slender upper grille is flanked by re-styled headlights featuring LED technology on plusher versions. Inside, the instrument binnacle, the centre console and the gear lever surround were all revised with higher quality materials, all in an effort to try push this car up-market. The driver-centric section is framed by a silver-finished hoop that rises from the transmission tunnel and cuts through the dashboard beams to frame instrumentation delivered by two separate circular dials. The left hand one will be either a rev counter or - in the case of the petrol/electric version - a Hybrid system indicator: it all depends on the engine you've chosen up-front. Between these gauges, Toyota added in a 4.2-inch multi-information display to this improved model, this showing safety information, trip computer data, a compass and audio settings. Anything this screen can't tell you will probably be covered by the 7-inch centre dash infotainment monitor the fascia was re-designed to better accommodate. And in the rear? Well if your experience of RAV4 motoring is limited to older MK1, MK2 or MK3 versions of this car, make sure you take a seat here to experience the differences because they really are significant. The redesign that created the original version of this MK4 model in 2012 added an extra 100mm to the wheelbase of this car and pretty much all of it was used to benefit back seat occupants who get plenty of knee room and class-leading standards of space. Out back, you get 547-litres in a conventionally-engined petrol or diesel RAV4 - or 501-litres with the Hybrid variant.

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    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

    Performance
    70%
    Handling
    80%
    Comfort
    70%
    Space
    80%
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