What is it?
Bigger and more refined than its predecessor, the latest RAV4 is no longer for the young at heart.
One improvement over the old model is the ride. It soaks up bumps with ease and there's little body roll, meaning a twisty stretch of road can be attacked with as much vigour as a small SUV will let you. The active 4WD system keeps things in check on a slippery road.
The Toyota RAV4 offers a choice of two engines - a two-litre VVT-i petrol with 156bhp and a 2.2-litre D-4D diesel with 148. The petrol simply isn't good enough and makes the car feel lack-lustre. So it's the diesel which is the best choice. It has a 0-62mph time of 10.2secs and a top speed of 118mph. This equates to loads of usable torque (229lb ft from 2000rpm to 2800rpm) so there's enough poke to overtake comfortably and it cruises easily at high motorway speeds.
On the inside
The interior has lots of soft-touch materials that won't rattle and squeak over time thanks to tight and consistent panel gaps. Toyota's engines are known for their reliability.
Another area that's better than the previous model is that the RAV4 is now extremely roomy. Head, leg and elbow room is generous for all passengers, especially in the rear. The back seats can slide fore and aft to increase or decrease the boot space, although this does reduce the rear legroom. With the seats in place the boot is 586 litres but folding the seats over increases this to a huge 1,469 litres.
The diesel returns just under 50mpg while recent improvements to its carbon dioxide emissions means it's in a reasonably low road-tax band (Band G - £155). Choosing the automatic though, pushes this figure to £215. The two-litre petrol is now only available with two-wheel drive which does much to lower its running costs - it'll now return 38mpg and thanks to 174g/km of CO2 is in VED Band H (£180). Finally, thanks to the dependable Toyota badge, it holds onto its values well.