The all-new Toyota RAV4 has hit South African shores and not only does it take a bold step forward in the design department, but it's also more realistically priced, largely due to the introduction of a front-wheel drive model.
The entry-level 2-litre RAV4 now starts at R279 900, which puts it head-to-head with the Kia Sportage 2.0 Ignite (R276 995) and Hyundai ix35 2.0 Premium (R279 900).
The design brief for the new Toyota softroader was to endow it with dramatic lines, a more mature interior and an engaging driving experience.
BIGGER BUT LOWER
Even its proportions support the latter ideal, the new RAV4 being 205mm longer and 30mm wider than its predecessor, with the roofline lowered by 25mm. Those measurements increase cabin space too and Toyota has also been at work making the interior more pleasant to look at.
As before, the RAV4 is offered in GX and VX trim levels, the former acting as the entry point and offering 17-inch alloys, seven airbags, rear park distance control and an audio system linked to Toyota's touch-screen Multi Information Display and steering wheel controls.
Opt for VX and you get leather seats (heated up front and electrically operated for the driver), dual-zone climate control, reverse camera, cruise control, keyless start and a powered tailgate.
THREE ENGINE CHOICES
There are three engines to choose from. Bottom of the price pile is a 2-litre normally aspirated petrol engine with 107kW and 187Nm, which drives the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or CVT gearbox.
The next two engines are available only with all-wheel drive. The petrol option is a new 2.5-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder unit with 132kW and 233Nm on command.
Buyers can also opt for a 2.2-litre D-4D turbodiesel that's good for 110kW at 3600rpm and 340Nm between 2000 and 2800rpm. The oil burner comes with six-speed manual transmission, while the 2.5 petrol has a six-speed autobox.
IOL Motoring will be trying them out later this week, so look out for our full story with driving impressions this Friday.
2.0 petrol 2WD GX manual - R279 900
2.0 petrol 2WD GX CVT - R289 900
2.2 D-4D AWD GX - R359 900
2.5 petrol AWD VX AT - R399 900
Included is the usual three-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.