What is it?
This is the latest version of the Toyota RAV4, a car that helped to start the whole compact crossover genre. It was originally launched back in 1994 when the Japanese brand realised that many people fancied the idea of a rugged looking 4x4 but didn’t want the agricultural handling and high running costs they then came with.
The RAV4 cleverly offered the style and high driving position of an off-roader but with handling and economy that wasn’t too far off that which you’d expect from a family hatchback. It was a formula that worked, ensuring that the name is still around more than 20 years later.
Although the basic recipe has remained the same, certain ingredients have been altered over the years. Toyota realised that many people were more interested in economy than mud-plugging ability, and as such, four-wheel drive is not an option with the 2.0-litre diesel engine we’re testing here.
It should come as no surprise to hear that the reduction of running costs is a focus of the 2016 facelift. A hybrid version is soon to be available, while the new oil-burner we're driving here replaces both the old diesel of the same size and the bigger 2.2-litre lump.
Emissions of CO2 are now rated at 123g/km (on 17in wheels) and official economy is 60.1mpg; both figures are better than those of the older, less powerful 2.0-litre diesel. Furthermore, the interior and exterior have been refreshed.