Written byShaun McGowan
The RAV4 is a popular midsize SUV and a direct competitor of the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage.
The range is quite complex, with the vehicle being available in five different spec levels, together with conventional internal combustion engines, or hybrid, both with 2WD (front drive) and all-wheel-drive powertrains available.
The popular hybrid variants offer up to 163 kilowatts of combined power from the 2.5-litre internal combustion engine and battery/electric motor system.
2.5L AWD Hybrid delivering 163kW
1,500kg braked towing capacity
Cruiser and Edge models add a 360 degree view monitor
4 x dynamic drivetrains available in Hybrid or petrol.
The entry-level internal combustion engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder offering 127 kilowatts and 203 Newton-metres, while the higher-grade internal combustion RAV4s employ a 2.5-litre four with 152 kilowatts and 243 Newton-metres. The 2.0-litre engine is packaged as a front-driver, while the 2.5 is AWD.
Hybrid RAV4 with front drive loses only 3kW of peak power (maximum of 160kW), but the AWD hybrid employs a second electric motor system to drive the rear axle, and this has significant implications if you plan on doing any significant towing.
The 2WD Hybrid RAV4 offers a maximum tow capacity of just 480kg, which is very low for a vehicle in this class. Hybrid AWD models (and 2.5-litre internal combustion-only RAV4s) will tow up to 1500 kilograms, however. The 2.0-litre internal combustion-only RAV4 with front drive is somewhere in the middle of these extremes, with a maximum tow capacity of 800 kilos.
The upshot of this is that, if adventuring involving a camper-trailer, a boat or a caravan is something you are considering, it will probably be prudent for you to choose one of the AWD models - either hybrid or conventional.
Built with Toyota's latest tech and safety features, the GX is a practical all-round SUV.
Look cool and stay cool with the GXL. Enjoy 18" alloys, privacy glass and dual zone climate control.
Our brand new addition to the range. Luxurious features like ambient lighting as well as unique styling afford the XSE a more premium feel.
Enjoy total luxury with a stylish leather-accented interior, 18" alloy wheels (19" available on petrol variants) and even more driver tech.
We've combined a confident new design with our full suite of premium features, to deliver the total RAV4 package.
It’s also worth knowing that the Hybrid RAV4 available in Australia is the kind designed just to capture some kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking - it stores that in the battery and uses it for propulsion later. If you are reading overseas RAV4 reviews, you need to be aware that the RAV4 Prime Hybrid, which has a much bigger battery, better performance and which can be recharged by plugging in at home, overnight, is not available in Australia.
Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.