FIRST DRIVE: 2020 Toyota RAV4 2.5L

News Review SUV/crossover Toyota

UMW Toyota Motor has just unveiled their latest model for the Malaysian market, the 2020 Toyota RAV4. The fifth-generation model has seen a lot of excitement built up in the past few weeks prior to the launch and now, the Toyota RAV4 is bigger and better than ever before.

We were given the opportunity to test out the 2.5-litre variant yesterday during a very well-organised media drive (with social distancing and hygiene being their number one priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and we had a few hours of fun driving around in the SUV.

The RAV4 is the latest model to be built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that focuses on three key aspects of car design – agility, stability, and visibility. In our previous encounter with the Corolla Altis which is built on the same platform, we were amazed at how it’s able to heighten the overall driving experience and the RAV4 should be no different.

Starting with the looks, you can see a lot of different aspects of the exterior design that combines modern lines, sharp edges, and even ruggedness in some areas. To some, it’s a look you either love or just okay with but we feel that it’s a façade that will most likely grow on you once you feel its driving capabilities. Choosing the right exterior colour also plays a part in showcasing its true premium exterior, like this Dark Blue Mica.

The inside tells a similar story, with the exception of superb polygon-inspired interior space provided thanks to the TNGA platform. The new Toyota RAV4 definitely scores high in the spacious department, no matter where you sit. The huge windows and low body panels allow for greater visibility and sense of space, which is perfect for drivers of different height and size.

Looking at the mid console, the new RAV4 is fitted with all the latest luxuries like dual-zone auto air-conditioning, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless charger, USB charging ports, and ample cup holders. The knobs, in particular, are big enough to control easily without affecting your drive but the rubberised ‘rifling’ grip material might feel odd for some.

Boot space is also huge at 580 litres before the second-row seats are folded down. We haven’t had the opportunity to test it out but UMWT assured us that you can easily fit a bicycle with one tyre removed (without having to fold the rear seats down). For you avid cyclists out there, you know that this is definitely a convenience.

Moving on the driving experience, it’s a very, VERY easy car to drive. The 2.5-litre Dynamic Force Engine with VVT-iE produces around 207ps/243Nm allows for great drivability around cities and highways. This is further elevated with the brand’s latest Direct Shift 8-Speed automatic transmission which offers great acceleration and optimum cruising performance whilst maintaining impressively low fuel consumption.

Overall, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is definitely a worthy car to give its competitors a run for their money. With that being said, some might feel that its RM215,664.50 price tag (excluding insurance) is a bit on the expensive side, but that investment will probably make sense once you get behind the wheel. That feeling will only get better the more you drive.

The new RAV4 is not really a driver’s car but we can assure you that everyone in the SUV (like your family members) will be able to appreciate the high levels of comfort and space, no matter the distance. It might take some time to convince some folks, but the new RAV4 is definitely up to the task to convince.

Before signing off, we also would like to point out that the only differences between the 2.5L and the 2.0L are the engines and transmission packages. The 2.5L comes with the new 8-speed whereas the 2.0L is fitted with the also respectable CVT transmission (priced at RM196,436 without insurance). The rest of the car? Completely similar. And that’s cool in our books.

All-new 5th generation Toyota RAV4 now in Malaysian showrooms

PISTON.MY

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