Rev it up in a Toyota RAV4 GX
I took delivery of the very pretty red Toyota RAV4 GX 2.2-litre D-4D Diesel in Fish Hoek with the sole purpose of driving it back from Cape Town to Tshwane over a period of at least seven days. Being financially minded and set in my ways, it was only natural that I should, or would, have a route worked out to perfection. Well, no. Lately, my wife, Annelize, says that I prefer to ‘fly by the seat of my pants’, and, although I knew we had to go north, it did not mean that the route started off that way.
With the RAV packed and Bella, our English Springer Spaniel, on board, and with the large 1 025mm, class-leading 547 litres of luggage space, we set off on our trip, the first stop being the Mount Nelson Hotel for a meeting. I phoned my cousin at Strassbergers Shoes in Clanwilliam to ask about his web page. Upset that we had not seen each other during the holidays, I decided that would be our first stop on our way back home. The red RAV4 thus headed to Clanwilliam and we got to know the SUV well, all the
time enjoying the excellent radio reception and sound. Although the information on fuel consumption is given using old-fashioned bars, the information provided still comes in handy, such as our fuel consumption being 7.2l per 100km. ‘Road manners’ are very good on account of the new Integrated Dynamic Drive (IDD) system for AWD models, like the 2.2-litre D-4D RAV we were driving, which handled mountain passes and sharp turns well and effortlessly.
Talking about our experience with the RAV4 around a braai and about the possibility of going over the Cederberg Mountains towards Laingsburg, my cousin Hennie said that it was not recommended owing to the recent floods and the damage to the roads. The advice was taken, with Annelize saying, in that case, she wanted to go to Knysna to visit a friend ‘if it is not too far’. We set off the next morning to Knysna, after having had a lovely breakfast at Kardoesie near Citrusdal. The 588kms were travelled in a leisurely eight hours, with us taking in the lovely scenery through Robertson, Swellendam and then along the lovely Garden Route. And, yes, fuel consumption was still 7.2l per 100km. What really impressed me were the ease of driving and the power of this little SUV. It has amazing torque, delivering 110kW from its 2.2-litre D-4D diesel engine. This, the all-wheel drive capabilities of Toyota’s AWD system, and its six-speed gearbox put many a bigger vehicle to shame, especially when accelerating from standstill or when overtaking.
After a wonderfully relaxing and extended visit in Knysna, we filled the RAV with diesel and then decided to continue along the east coast and see where we ended up that evening. I believed that it would be somewhere in the vicinity of East London. We cruised at the regulation speed, stopping at some of the more scenic gorges. And then, as luck would have it, I took a wrong turn after Port Elizabeth and found myself en route to Cradock. On being asked if we were going to turn around, I opted for the Cradock route. I have never seen that part of the country as beautifully green as it was then, and, although the roads are not nearly as good as those of the coastal areas or the Western Cape, they were still in good condition. Road works were the only problem that we experienced. Moving more inland, the RAV’s fuel consumption increased to 8.2l per 100km and there was a little power loss, but nothing to worry about. Strong crosswinds impacted on the fuel consumption, but did nothing to affect roadholding, ride comfort or ease of driving, thanks to the RAV’s Electric Power Steering (EPS).
We did not do a lot of off-road driving, but did engage the AWD lock button. This allows the driver to lock torque distribution at a fixed ratio of 50:50 at speeds up to 40km/h. Again, I was more than happy with the capability of the RAV and with its comfort levels when doing this. Believe it or not, but we ended up at the de Stijl Hotel at Gariep Dam, where we overnighted. Dogs are welcome, and they have a lovely restaurant in the hotel. Views over the Dam are second to none and it is one of the most relaxing environments that I have ever experienced. The next day saw us taking the N1 north, and, again, the RAV performed spectacularly. Our fuel consumption after filling up in Bloemfontein came down to 6.2l per 100km by the time we reached Pretoria, and, at one stage, it dropped to 5.5l per 100km at speeds averaging 120kph.
The new RAV4’s trim levels (GX and VX) offer a generous sliding scale of kit. GX models feature, as standard, roof rails, 17-inch alloys, Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated fog lamps. Step up to the flagship VX and you gain a chrome insert in the front bumper, front and rear mud flaps, power retractable side mirrors, a moon roof with tilt-and-slide function, and High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with cleaning system. Interior features that come as standard fare on offer on the GX models include power windows, remote central locking, manual climate control, a touch-screen Multi Information Display incorporating a stereo system, steering controls, a retractable tonneau cover with net barrier, and rear Park Distance Control (PDC), to name but a few. The VX has full leather upholstery, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, front-seat heaters, automatic dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera display, a powered tailgate with memory function, cruise control, and a keyless entry system (Smart Entry).
RAV4 2.0 2WD GX 6-speed manual: R279 900 (incl. VAT)
RAV4 2.0 2WD GX CVT: R289 900 (incl. VAT)
RAV4 2.2 D-4D AWD GX 6-speed manual: R359 900 (incl. VAT)
RAV4 2.5 AWD VX 6-speed auto: R399 900 (incl. VAT)
The new RAV4 benefits from a three-year/100 000km warranty and comes with a standard five-year/90 000km service plan. The new models are also supported by the ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme, which entitles customers to 24-hour roadside assistance, thereby ensuring ultimate peace-of-mind motoring. Our trip in the Red RAV4 was most enjoyable and without incident over the 2 500kms and it really grew on me – as long as I did not look at the hind quarters. Toyota can be proud of its fourth-generation RAV, as it is a great little SUV with really good manners and fuel consumption.
OUT OF OFFICE | CAR REVIEW
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing