As you would expect from Toyota, the RAV4's cabin feels utterly solid – although it is evident that materials have been carefully chosen to boost the quality feel for the least cost. It scores highly for cabin storage too, and the major controls are well placed except for the dials, which are set low and deep in the dash. The steering wheel could also do with some more height adjustment, and though the front seats are supportive and adjustable, taller drivers may find they cannot push them as far back as they’d like. Compared to the fine driving positions in the Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan, the RAV4’s accommodation really isn’t up to scratch.
Still the gearlever falls readily to hand. With an average-height driver at the wheel, there is ample room in the rear for adults, even with the adjustable rear seat set a few notches forward. There’s some ingenuity in the rear too, the bench seat splitting 60/40, and sliding, reclining and folding flat in one operation incredibly easily thanks to a weighted system making light work of it all.
The boot itself is conveniently shaped and, with a 586-litre capacity, larger than the Honda CR-V’s, the RAV4’s trailing arm rear suspension positioning the dampers diagonally under the floor to minimise intrusion. Why Toyota persevered with the frustrating side-hinged rear door is a mystery. It’s heavy, useless in tight spaces and does not open to a full 90 degrees.