23: Toyota RAV4 – Now with real off-road muscle

Top cars for 2020: Suddenly you can see some Land Cruiser DNA in the family-sized Toyota SUV

 

With a relatively simple styling change, Toyota utterly altered the way we see the RAV4. Previous efforts had been starting to look a bit blobby, a touch amorphous, a little like an MPV. Well, with this generation, it’s most definitely an SUV. With that huge, flat, bonnet and those upright lines, it could hardly be anything else.

Toyota says that the RAV4 has been designed to bridge the gap between the hatch-like C-HR and the ‘true’ off-roader that is the Land Cruiser. Get an all-wheel drive RAV and that’s a surprisingly good description of where it sits - it’s far more rugged in the rough stuff than you might imagine.

It’s not especially brilliant to drive; there’s lots of body lean and even with a 218hp hybrid 2.5-litre engine it’s not the quickest, but it is oddly satisfying to drive, with an enticing combination of refinement, comfort, and pretty decent economy. Added to which it’s very spacious inside, has the expected Toyota levels of quality, and the radio knob has a cool rubberised feel to it. Nice.

Best model: RAV4 Hybrid AWD-i Sport for €46,590

Price range: €35,900 to €47,450. Finance from €283 per month.

Co2 emissions: 124 to 137g/km

Sum up: From RAV4 to RAV4x4.