Outwardly, to these eyes, the car looks very ‘modern Toyota’, but not very ‘modern RAV4’. You can blame some of that on the stretched proportions. The rear end in particular looks ungainly and odd, and a couple of trademark RAV4 cues are missing here: the door-mounted spare wheel, not to mention the side-hinged rear door it mounted to in years gone by.
Toyota says a roof-hinged hatchback makes more practical sense, and it’s probably right. But there goes another identifying point of difference.
Specifying your Toyota RAV4
Inside, the RAV4’s upright classic SUV driving position was next in line for the chop. You can now sit up to 30mm lower than you could. That puts you closer to the centre of roll, which ought to be a good thing, but somehow it makes the RAV4 experience that bit more humdrum: less Range Rover, more StreetRover.
The cabin is pleasant, roomy and apparently solidly constructed, although it lacks much in the way of flair. The plastics look and feel impressive. We could live without the fake leather on the steering wheel boss and the mock carbonfibre on the centre console, but such things are subjective.
Toyota’s approach to ergonomic switchgear design is doubtless more troubling, though. The RAV4’s drive mode buttons, which you use regularly to switch between Sport and Eco modes, are hidden away almost out of sight by your right knee. It's not an easy place to spot them without taking your eyes off the road for very long.
Other curiosities include a lane departure warning toggle button that's the stretch of your arm away on the far side of the centre stack, while the digital clock next to it brings your granny’s microwave oven to mind – a simple, plain analogue clock would be infinitely classier. Strange that a company with such attention to detail in other respects can make basic errors such as these, but it continues to.
As for trims there are five to choose from - Active, Business Edition, Business Edition Plus, Icon and Excel. Entry-level models come with 17in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, heated wing mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, a reversing camera, DAB radio and a 7.0in infotainment system as standard.
The Business Edition models come with front foglights, automatic wipers and lights, parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, sat nav and Toyota's Safety Sense suite - which includes adaptive cruise control and headlights, lane departure warning and a pre-collision system. The Business Edition Plus trim adds 17in alloy wheels, and keyless entry and go to the fleet-friendly package.
Opt for the mid-range Icon RAV4 and you'll find it adorned with 18in alloy wheels, LED headlights, a leather and Alcantara upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat and heated front seats, while the range-topping Excel models include silver roof rails, leather seats, voice recognition and 3D maps.
Powering the Toyota RAV4 forward
There are 2.0-litre four-wheel drive petrol, 2.0-litre front-drive turbodiesel and a 2.5-litre hybrid available driving either the front or all four-wheels, the diesel only available with a six-speed manual.
The petrol is of niche appeal in the UK, the front-drive diesel model being the more popular entry-level choice. This 2.0-litre oil-burner is refined, but lacks grunt, and it’s left to the range-topping 194bhp 2.5-litre hybrid model to be the best all-rounder.