This is the third-generation Rav4, a car which helped popularise the compact SUV sector when it was first launched in 1994. This generation is available only as a five-door, and is a bit more expensive than previous versions – topping out at an ouchsome £27,000 for the 175bhp diesel powered T180, which is the car we’ve spent most time in. But there are also 2.0-litre petrol and 138bhp turbodiesel versions, starting from under £20,000.
Pretty good. The T180’s engine can be a little grumbly under load at low revs, but is mostly as refined as other modern turbodiesels. The T180 rides on run-flat tyres and so doesn’t get a spare wheel, which makes it look a little less muscular than other models - to its detriment, we feel.
Although interior fit and finish is excellent and the plastics are fine for a £20,000 off-roader, trying to see this car matching premium competitors (75 percent of buyers will come from cars other than 4x4s) is a big ask - the interior materials aren’t quite up to it.
In general though, this car has more space inside than previous Rav4s, including a decent boot and very easily foldable rear seats. Its on-road ride is comfortable, the seats are fine and noise levels are low. It also copes adequately with the sort of light off-road that buyers are likely to throw at it.
Should I buy one?
At the top of the range it’s hard to see the argument, even though the T180 is a very highly specified car. At the cheaper end, it makes a reasonable amount of sense.