The cave-like cabin is clad with a rich mix of materials. Consistent patterns, textures, colors and ambient lighting are applied, with symmetrical shapes and the use of the polygon motif seen in the Toyota FT-AC (Future Toyota – Adventure Concept, premiered at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show) concept model. The switchgear has built-in buttons and clunky, no-frills dials. The latest generation model is underpinned by the first-time use of the automotive manufacturer’s GA-K platform in an SUV.
The low-set dashboard is defined by horizontal lines that merge into the door panels, emphasizing the width of the cab and giving the driver a clearer view of the road.
In terms of size, the GA-K platform offers a lot of space in the cabin. With all seats, the load space has a capacity of 580 liters, 79 liters more than the previous generation RAV4. The reduction of the front and rear overhangs by a combined 35 mm (-5 mm front, -30 mm rear) means that the vehicle is a total of 5 mm (4,600 mm) shorter, but the wheelbase has been increased by 30 mm (2,690 mm) which ensures a more spacious cabin. The overall width has increased by 10 mm (1,855 mm) and the front and rear chains have been enlarged. At the same time, the overall height was reduced by 10 mm.
The new platform also allows a little more driver comfort and a feeling of control. The GA-K chassis allows for a more engaging driving position without compromising the dominant view of the road that is a hallmark quality of SUVs. The driver’s hip point has been lowered by 15 mm and the adjustment range of the steering wheel has been increased by 50 percent.
The comfort for the rear passengers has been improved by a 40 mm larger left / right pair spacing, more spacious footwells in the rear and the provision of two air outlets. By increasing the opening angle of the rear doors and reducing the distance from the hip point to the sill, getting in and out and access to the child seats is made easier.
Other comfort features include the electrically powered tailgate, which is operated using a button on the dashboard, in the trunk lid or on the key fob. The cargo space behind the rear seats has been increased thanks to a completely flat floor and a length that has been extended by 60 mm, 79 liters more than the previous generation. There is a height-adjustable, two-tier deck board that can be turned over if dirty items need to be transported. The rear seats can be folded down in a 60:40 ratio and there are storage nets on both sides of the trunk.
In terms of audio technology, the Dynamic has a JBL Premium Sound System. The system consists of an 8-channel stereo amplifier with 800 W and nine loudspeakers. The loudspeakers have been specially tailored to the acoustics of the RAV4 cabin. The system uses Clari-Fi technology developed by Harman, which adds real-time frequencies that are lost in compressed audio files such as MP3 and streaming audio files. This will match the sound quality and stereo mix as closely as possible to the original recording.
RAV4 Hybrid is available in the four equipment variants Icon, Design, Dynamic and Excel. Our Dynamic had sports seats, a black headliner and blue trim, a panoramic roof and a JBL audio system.
The other comfort functions of the Dynamic include heated and electrically adjustable front seats, two-zone air conditioning, automatically dimming rearview mirrors, electrically adjustable heated exterior mirrors with automatic folding function, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wiper de-icer, eCall and a reversing camera.
Driver assistance system
The second generation Toyota Safety Sense debuted on the latest generation RAV4. The upgraded system features a single lens camera and millimeter wave radar, both with improved performance to expand the scope of hazard detection and functionality. In addition, the unit has been made smaller so that the driver has an even wider field of vision. The package contains updated versions of the pre-collision system with pedestrians
Detection, intelligent adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assistant, traffic sign assistant and automatic high beam. It also introduces Lane Tracking Assistant, which offers more advanced driving assistance.
While not a sporty SUV, the RAV4 is pretty nimble thanks to the 2.5-liter gasoline hybrid engine that manages to deliver the power smoothly. Officially, it will hit 47.9 mpg, while our runabout hit a perfectly comfortable 44 mpg. All in all, the unpretentious family favorite offers a great mix of standard equipment, clever safety technology and an intuitive infotainment system. Thanks to NVH refinements, suspension and a cabin filled with dense, soft materials, it offers a comfortable ride. Oh yes, and it also has some practical details like a handle on the tailgate that can serve as a hanger and rubberized handles on the inside of the door handles. Competing crossover models include the Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga, and Volvo XC60, to name a few.