Toyota RAV4 Review

SUV toyota RAV4 review

The family snow holiday adventure in Victoria. For our holiday we decided to hire a mid sized SUV, we also got a very good deal on the Toyota RAV4 SUV. This was the first time we had driven in a RAV.

We hired the RAV 4 from Hertz car hire at the Melbourne Airport. The RAV 4 provided ample room for our needs 2 adults and one child with wheel chair.

The 3.5 litre V6 RAV 4 has been increased in size with larger proportions than those of the first-generation model, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 is a compact functional city SUV.

Those buyers that don’t need a seven-seat option, it’s a good alternative to bigger SUV's and it has a generous cabin that’s ideally suited to families with younger children.

Model we reviewed

We hired the 2011 Toyota RAV4 SX6, The vehicle we hired had driven approximately 40,000km.

What's new?

Not a lot has been updated from previous models. The entire model line-up was updated in October 2008 with a new cosmetic package and upgraded safety equipment.

Front and rear bumpers, headlight and tail-light clusters and the front grille were refreshed in the model update, and new alloy wheel designs were introduced. Stability control, traction control, hill start assist and anti-whiplash headrests were made standard across the range.

What we liked

Interior space, Toyota build-quality, reliability and a grunty 201kW V6 engine for the mountain roads.

The AWD 4 wheel system and good ground-clearance also gives it the ability to seek harder terrain in the wild snow country, it also has safety benefits for the family in wet weather and surfaces, such as snow.

We pushed the little RAV quite hard with a car full of holiday gear and some very steep mountain roads. At no time did the RAV lose traction or feel unsafe.

RAV 4 Features?

It has cruise control, power windows, auto-on headlamps and dual-zone climate control as standard on the SX6. The sound system is a six-speaker AM/FM tuner with integrated 6-disc CD stacker. A 3.5mm auxillary input and USB jack allow external music players to be plugged into the car stereo too.

Bluetooth is also standard, integrated sat-nav is available on the range-topping RAV4 ZR6.

Under the Hood?

A 3.5 litre petrol V6 also used by the Toyota Kluger, Tarago and Lexus RX 350.

The RAV4 produces 201kW at 6200rpm and 333Nm of torque at 4700rpm. These are some of the highest performance figures in a compact mid sized SUV. The SX6 is only available with a five-speed automatic transmission.

The all-wheel-drive system is standard on V6 models, under standard driving conditions this only sends power to the front wheels. Under acceleration or when the system detects front wheel slip such as snow and ice, power is sent to the rear wheels this provides traction.

The driver can also lock the AWD system to a 50-50 front/rear torque split by pressing a button on the dashboard, however the system reverts to a front-wheel bias once the car is driven over 40km/h.


The 201kW delivers plenty of power to the wheels around town and in the bush.The SX6 has plenty of power and even with a full load of passengers and cargo the performance is still very good, you will find overtaking at highway speeds can be done swiftly, safely and with ease.

The automatic is smooth and makes the best use of the SX6’s torque output, this keep engine RPM low during regular driving.

The steering is electrically assisted system, it is quite direct and comfortable and safe.

On road manners, the suspension is adequate and smooth for city driving. As with most compact SUV's, Overall the RAV4 has a good ride.

This is a sound drive on gravel and slippery surfaces such as snow, the stability control system also provides good control in difficult conditions

Rear leg room?

The RAV4 is suited to a younger demographic, inner-suburban couples or 2 childen families, and its compact interior reflects this. The front seats are roomy and accommodating for larger personnel.

The rear seats are supportive and provide adequate legroom and there is a generous amount of headroom. The seats are best suited to smaller adults or children.

How many Seats?

Australians only have the five-seater option, the seven seater in only available overseas. Child restraint are fitted to the outboard rear seats, while standard anchorages are provided on the other side of the seat back.

Interior Quality and Feel?

Build quality is very good (its a Toyota), with most cabin fittings feeling solid and sturdy, although driving on dirt roads did provide loads more cabin noise. The cloth upholstery looks durable and is easy to clean with kids, the interior appear well made simple and functional.

Luggage space

Lets face it travelling with a wheel chair and normal holiday loads we find some small SUV's can be a challenge. The RAV4 proved that it had enough room for our needs, just.

With the rear seats up, there’s 540 litres of space. The under the false floor you will find a deep compartment adequate for a small weekend bag or about 90 litres of cargo room.

The convenient boot-mounted handle folds the 60/40 split rear seats flush with the rear floor, this provides a flat space that can accommodate plenty of luggage or camping gear. The modern essentials, four cup holders in total.

Toyota RAV4 review

Safety features

We felt that the RAV4 being a mid sized SUV is a very safe and solid SUV and provide the following safety features.

There are plenty of safety features, stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brake distribution and brake assist are all standard features of the RAV4 range of vehicles, front and side airbags to the front occupants and the extra safety of full-length curtain airbags standard on the SX6. A 4 STAR ANCAP rating in the crash testing programme, the 2.4 litre RAV4 CV achieved a four-star rating.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption for the RAV4 SX6 is 10.5 litres per 100km. My holiday returned an average figure of 12.5 l/100km over a mix of highway, city and offroad driving. The V6 is a little thirsty, and most drivers will use the engine and accelerator more than planed. You can get better fuel economy if you just relax and enjoy the scenery.


Toyota provides a three year/100,000km vehicle warranty standard, with a three year paint warranty and five year anti-corrosion warranty.

How much?

The RAV4 SX6 retails for $44,990, plus on-road costs.


To Sum it up

The RAV4 SX6 is quality built and safe family or city SUV suited to the occasional off road adventure or ski trip. The engine is suited for towing heavy loads however it may be overpower for normal city commuting unless you like plenty of power to get off the lights fast.

Fuel consumption is a little heavy for an SUV of this size, couple this to the high purchase price and you may find a better SUV for your needs.

If you desire the V6 and power, consider the Toyota Klugger it also comes as a seven-seat option also. The other option If you like the RAV4’s compact packaging and Toyota reliability, you may consider the more fuel efficient 2.4 litre four cylinder RAV4. This car still has a grunty little engine when pushed but should be kinder to your wallet at the fuel bowser.

My advice take both for a drive.

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