Toyota RAV4 V. In-depth review


© Toyota-Club.Net
Dec 2019 - Oct 2020

The article is being supplemented as practical experience is gained and new common faults and features of the model are identified. It prioritizes the local market vehicles, which have a number of configuration and option differences.


5th generation Toyota RAV4, model #XA5#, production launched since 11.2018 - for the European and American markets, since 04.2019 - for the Japanese market, since 09.2019 - for Russian market.

Versions for local market (as of the start of sales):
MXAA52L-RNFXBX2.0i 2WD 6MT Standartk$ 29.0
MXAA52L-RNXMBX2.0i 2WD CVT Comfortk$ 32.3
MXAA54L-RNXMBX2.0i 4WD CVT DTCComfort k$ 33.9
MXAA54L-RNXGBX2.0i 4WD CVT DTVPrestige k$ 37.2
AXAA54L-RNZMBX2.5i 4WD 8AT DTCComfort k$ 37.2
AXAA54L-RNZGBX2.5i 4WD 8AT DTVPrestige Safetyk$ 43.6

Our mandatory requirements for a crossover / SUV - automatic transmission, air conditioning, all-wheel drive - have been unchanged for decades, so the "basic version" hereinafter does not mean the first line of the price list.

TECHNOLOGY: platform · engine · CVT · 8AT · 4WD DTC · 4WD DTV · suspension · brakes · steering
TECHNOLOGY: body · luggage · meter · climate · SRS · ADAS · multimedia · options
STATIC VIEW: exterior · interior · seat, ergonomics, visibility · passenger · rear seat
TEST-DRIVE: acceleration · braking · steering · ride comfort · off-road · noise



Four out of five journalists use the phrase "built on the TNGA platform", but it's good if one out of five distinguishes between "platform" and "architecture", and one out of ten can remember at least one of previous Toyota platform names. These words even less meaning for a reader who is far from the history of automotive industry. Moreover, everything could be simply stated in one paragraph:
·In Toyota practice, the concept of "platform" means a common set of power units and the same layout on models of a comparable size and class;
·TNGA - toyota new global architecture - means the entire set of new platforms;
·Where "New" emphasizes the difference between this architecture (presented in 2015) from previous platforms that smoothly evolved from the early-2000s;
·The RAV4 XA50 is built on the TNGA-K platform and a noteworthy point here is that all previous generations were built on the basis of the D-class (Corona, MC, New MC), while the current one shares the platform with Camry, Highlander etc.


Engine Displacement, cm3 Bore x Stroke, mm Compression ratio Power, hp Torque, Nm System
M20A-FKS198780.5 x 97.613.0149 (171) / 6600206 / 4400-4900D-4S
A25A-FKS248787.5 x 103.413.0199 (205) / 6600243 / 4000-5000D-4S

The most detailed description - in our large review "Toyota engines - Dynamic Force (R4)"

Operating experience of 2.5 is counted since the end of 2017, 2.0 appeared a year later - so have to refrain from any estimates in advance. So far, we can confidently say that (1) the engines do not crumble immediately after leaving the dealership and (2) critical mass defects for two years of operation in the US market have not been identified.

It is noticeable that many people are confused by the combination of the compression ratio and the recommended fuel octane number, so we recall once again:
· For modern engines with a Miller cycle, the nominal geometric compression ratio is not related to the real one (the figure from the specs is more correctly called the "expansion ratio");
· Direct injection also radically changes the mixture formation and ignition process in cylinders (reducing the knocking possibility);
· At branded gas stations, the real octane rating has not been a problem for a long time.
Therefore, it is time to sprinkle the ancient rule "compression ratio up to 10 - RON 92, more than 10 - 95, more than 11 - 98" with mothballs and put away into the far corner of the garage.

Upd. Overseas users were warned that the A25A could leak coolant from the electric pump and/or the associated DTC fault codes P26CB71, P26CA14, P26CA31 could appear. Problem status - under investigation.


K120F - a novelty in the family of Toyota CVTs. By the way, from the entire local press community, literally one magazine correctly calls the gear as "launch" but not "first" - not only does the second and subsequent ones not exist here, but because the launch gear also works at reverse.

It would be wrong to project the neutral experience of the predecessors as a whole (the scandal with CVT K313 - a separate story) - after all, for the first time in twenty years, the changes are so fundamental. An increase in the number of actuators and control elements can manifest itself differently, but the steel belt and pulleys of the variator part will be much less loaded: the gear ratio range is 2.236~0.447 instead of 2.517~0.390 - means less belt bending in extreme positions, the heavy load and slipping modes will be processed by gears, C2 clutch now dampens reactions from wheels...

K120F. 1 - input shaft, 2 - planetary gear, 3 - B1 brake, 4 - C1 clutch, 5 - primary pulley, 6 - secondary pulley, 7 - C2 clutch, 8 - drive gear 1, 9 - driven gear 1, 10 - synchronizer, 11 - drive gear 2, 12 - driven gear 2, 13 - reduction drive gear, 14 - reduction driven gear, 15 - pinion gear, 16 - differential gear


UB80F made its debut on the RAV4 only formally - the family of Aisin 8-speed has been produced since the mid-2010s and has been installed on Toyota for several years (not mentioning other brands). On the mechanical and hydraulic side, everything looks even better than expected, but as for the control software... Toyota has traditional problems.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, each new generation of automatic transmissions receives raw firmware of control units, which gradually improve and become adequate at best by the time of the first restyling. If during this time the bad algorithms destructed the hardware, then under warranty the AT is changed (at least in the American market). The fact that history is repeating once again could be predicted by the behavior of the UA80#'s (see T-SB-0160-18), and soon the American owners of RAV4 began to massively criticize the work of the new 8AT at low speeds. The reprogram campaign began only in the fall of 2019 (see T-SB-0107-19) and, judging by the feedback from the owners, it is too early to talk about full healing.

Upd. NHTSA was notified that there were leaks at the joint of the "side" (actually the front) cover of the 8AT. Problem status - under investigation.


Detailed description - "Toyota all-wheel drive. ATC/DTC"

Twenty years of using this 4WD type on Toyota allowed to thoroughly study its capabilities and reliability. One standard defect is wear of the coupling bearings (mainly the front), and if replacement process is wrong, damage to the wiring of the electromagnet is sometimes added here.


Detailed description - "Toyota all-wheel drive. DTV AWD"

Almost all reviewers mention two rear wheel drive couplings, but few pay attention to the real innovation - disconnecting clutches in the rear reductor and transfer case.

But exactly this clutch have become a source of problems: abnormal sound of the clutch in transfer ("mooing") brings the owners to distraction (for leisurely driving in city traffic the "moo" groan could be heard almost every minute). The replacement of the cam clutch electromagnet practiced by the Toyota seems a palliative treatment.

Upd. Again, something is wrong with AWD - to eliminate the "triple knock during deceleration" or "stick slip noise", it is prescribed to replace the rear differential assembly (41110-42052 → 41110-42080 / 41110-42053, TSB CP-00381T-TME for cars built pre-May'20).


Fundamentally and visually, the design remains the same - McPherson at front and multi-link at rear. Nevertheless, non-obvious changes (a complicated subframe, a repositioned arms mounting points, a vertical rear shock absorber with a new set of valves, silentblocks instead of ball-joints...) gave a definite positive effect.

Toyota believes that 225/60R18 wheels are more attractive for aboriginals than regular 225/65R17 (and even R19 for top grades), although only tyre manufacturers and tyre workshops benefit from this. Meanwhile, the Americans, on the contrary, use high-profile R16 with an all-terrain tread.

Upd. Toyota has to report about safety recall of RAV4 vehicles produced in autumn of 2019 due to a defect of the front suspension lower arms: cracks may appear and propagate which may cause destruction of the arm and separation from the wheel (mainly if frequently operated with intense accelerations and decelerations). Prescription - replacement of the lower arms. Japanese internal recall #4748, active since 21 may 2020.

Corresponding instructions passed across all regions where Japanese-made RAV4 sold. USA - NHTSA campaign 20V286000 (Toyota # 20TA08 / 20TB08), Europe - campaign 20SMD-006.


Compliance with the requirements of the time is normal: ABS + EBD + BA + TRC + VSC + HSA + DAC + EPB.

Initially, for the ru-manufactured RAV4 a simple brake supports for emergency market were planned to be installed instead of the European 2-piston - worth to check out as it happened in real. As for possible problems, a bad rumors about Toyota VSC have not been heard since the mid-2000s.


One of the advantages of the TNGA-K platform - the electric power steering motor was moved from the column to the steering rack. This is good not only for steer feeling, but also for the reliability of the entire steering gear (which was not a strong point since the first introduction of Toyota EPS).

1 - steering rack, 2 - torque sensor, 3 - control unit and electric motor

Upd. A minor defect of EPS was awarded with TSB - the appearance of a DTC C05D604 is possible, it is solved by reprogramming of the EPS ECU.

Upd. The second noted feature is that the EPS zero point calibration fails not only after disconnecting or discharging the battery, but sometimes just after a cold soak, as a result of which the car "pulls" while driving.


In the theme of body rigidity Toyota reported a "57% increase over the previous generation". The public heard them, checked, and poured out a doubly deserved bucket of slops.

Plastic shields designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce noise can be found on different Toyota cars since the beginning of the 2010s, but in ru-conditions thanks to them a little less salty mud gets to the metall covered only with a light layer of the primer. Well, for once, Toyota made the underbody without protruding exhaust elements.

Aluminum body parts are used on the US-market for a few years, what the aluminum hood, tailgate, front fenders and bumper beam will give to ru-customers - only time will tell. The hood is traditionally supported by a stick, this time particularly uncomfortable.

The doorsills are covered with door linings, but the number of their seals has not turned into quality. The transformation of the end of the door into a part of the wheel arch is already customary, but it was obviously invented not in a country that half a year bathed in road reagents. The opening angle of both the front and rear doors leaves much to be desired.

Now the quality is without comments, but US-owners have already passed advices to check the spot welding of door frames, the plastic fenders free-play, the roof railing mounts tightness.

According to diy-reports, everyone can assess the quality of what factory noise insulation should be named... it works the same as it looks.

And one more recommendation: check the windshield for distortions, mainly along the lower boundary of the central part.

What about the paintwork quality, everything is sad - "the car is two months old, but it looks like I drove intercity for years", "I do not know what kind of varnish it is, but bird droppings remain matte spots immediately"... The only suggested option is to use a protective film (at least for metal parts of the frontal projection).

Upd. "Side mirrors dangle at speed like spaniel ears" - as the owners themselves note. But so far they only state it here, in USA already achieved a warranty repair of this problem - with new enforcer, elongated studs and a dose of sealant.


Large volume and primitive organization: the standard test by set of 4 wheels is passed, the unpainted rear bumper does not need protection, lack of hooks, do not try to look for buttons of remote folding of the rear seatback.

The flooring is durable, double-sided (plastic/pile), with two possible installation levels - however, in any case the rubber trough always lies on top.

A narrow spare wheel is stored in the underfloor, but a full-sized wheel can be placed here (225 width - ideal, 235 - almost) - of course, at the cost of losing the two-level floor and the ability to remove the curtain under it.

The electric tailgate even in the basic version is not a gift from the Japanese, but about $ 1265 in the price of each car. Do not argue about the usefulness and justification - everyone decides for himself ... although not - Toyota has already decided for the local buyer.

Upd. A lot of complaints about the luggage floor failure even with a relatively light load had an effect: Toyota released TSB BO-00440T-TME "Deck board broken and deck side trim deformed by loading in luggage area", where they prescribe a warranty replacement of the side panel in case of its deformation (with the modified one, and it is allowed to replace at only one side). In the meantime, the owners themselves are fighting the problem, either placing wooden blocks, or even wooden gratings so that the floor deck rests directly on the spare wheel.


The top versions have a semi-analog combination meter with a 7" display (the speedometer readability seems to have been missed in the terms of reference).

The basic version is analog, with a 4" display. Initially, the meter turned out normal (except the lower gauges):

... but the order to redesign the speedometer "for Europe" took the designer by surprise and he draw mismatched graduation (correlate the figures and dashes at 120-180):

Some pros - the mode of the digital speedometer on the display, a diagram of the wheel torque and front wheels position.


It's hard to find a fault - dual-zone climate control, central deflectors could be closed, a deflector for the rear seat.

Already basic version has heated side segments of the steering wheel, windshield, washer nozzles, not to mention the front seats and mirrors (in total, such Cold package cost about $ 900, but seems worth it). Ventilation and more intelligent seat microclimate controls for local version considered overkill even in top versions.

The practical side can be assessed only after a real cold winter and checking the calorific value of new particularly efficient engines.


Standard modern equipment - two front airbags, two side airbags, two curtains plus a driver knee airbag. EuroNCAP score - 5 stars and good points in different disciplines. But it should be noted that all prizes and stars are given for world market versions and take into account the presence of a complete set of driver assistance systems, while...


To explain the essence of... difficult to say... inadmissible behavior of local Toyota department we need a separate article - "RAV4. Safety not for all"

Briefly - at all civilized markets TSS 2.0 is part of standard equipment for any grade but local Toyota left it for the top versions only.


The most accurate and comprehensive description is in the screenshot from the Polish review:

Moreover, for local version such navigation offered only in full top, support for AA / CP (by no means a panacea) is promised "next year" when antiques are used up.

The Japanese entered their domestic market more elegantly, offering by default a plastic plug and freedom of choice of the main device - from a radio for $300 to a 10" TV for $2500.

In US, the basic version also has a terrible-looking 6" device, but its functionality is the same as of local version and the price is about $ 1000 cheaper.


Some items of standard equipment that are worth to be mentioned (for a Japanese car on the verge of the third decade of the 21st century): LED headlights and rear lights, all power windows with auto mode, TPMS (but without pressure indication), factory alarm system with movement sensor, rain sensor, rear parking sensors, folding mirrors, dynamic lines of the rear view camera, keyless access and start.

The Japanese logic somewhere is strange: the illumination is most needed for the buttons of the central lock and folding mirrors? - so they installed a single diode in the driver's power window button; it is convenient to turn on the map lamp by pressing the lamp lens? - they made a separate not-illuminated small button...

Rem. People themselves replace it with illuminated button modules for windows (Camry, C-HR, Corolla etc. 84040-33170/06070/10020) and mirrors (Crown 84872-30070). Duplicates from ali are cheaper, but raise quality issues.

Reserved place for frequently asked fun questions:
"Why is the interior light not diode?" - Toyota offers an option for $370 (Rem. People, with the help of some sleight of hand, fit into $ 10, just changing bulbs to LEDs in the same cases)

"Why is the armrest unmovable?" - Toyota offers an option for $120

"Why the RAV4 costs 32 and the YY in a similar configuration costs 34?" - in contrast to local-made RAV4, the price of imported YY includes at least k$6 of custom fees. "Why then is RAV4 not cost 26?" - How do you think "Toyota made a record profit for the first half of year 2019"?

"Why didn't they do moonroof or sunroof?" - they did, but didn't bring it: it's already impossible to add $1300 more to the price, and the technical process is easier

"Why are the fog lights simple halogen?" - Toyota offers an option for $450, with switchable two-color LED fog lights. (Rem. The people solve the issue for $100-150, installing either LEDs modules, or the original diode fog lights entirely)

"Will there be no hybrid?" - judging by the Toyota documentation, the ru-assembly for hybrid was planned from the very beginning, but so far it has not even come to vehicle type approval papers yet.

Static view


The XA50 literally destroyed its predecessor at the New York premiere on the morning of March 28, 2018. In the autumn of 2019 local Toyota dealers finished it off by itself - established advertising campaign on the strong opposition of the new generation and "the old rav". What especially "pleased" those customers, who had got a few tens of thousands of XA40 over the previous year, that were obviously outdated in form and content.

In general, the exterior is relevant, adequate, moderately brutal, somewhat echoes the previous Highlander and the real Toyota SUVs of the American market. It looks best on renderings, for photos and videos it needs the right angles, in life it seems easier, more compact and rougher. The default "sad" version of the front end adds dejection (as opposed to the more positive Adventure-style).

We support the opinion that the model looks better in light and medium colors, and dark colors spoil the designer's game of contrasts and complex shapes. The most controversial color is cheap-look blue 8W9 (however, in the capital there are also those who want to buy a car in this branded municipal transport color). Rather, out of politeness it is called "hmm, interesting", but let's be honest: nice blue is bmw C1M, vw LB5K... but Toyota is simply using the boundless loyalty of its fans.


The first impression of the interior familiar from photographs is that Toyota's specialists have mastered image processing technologies well.

Probably, the Japanese tried to play on the lack of visual contrast between the main array of hard plastic and new materials of the top, giving similar texture to the upholstery and soft plastic of the upper part of the panel. They really managed to avoid contrast - on a real car, the entire interior looks equally poor.

To a large extent, because "you can have any color you want, so long as it's black" (H.Ford) - local Toyota does not offer the choice of interior colors even in top trim levels.

The "improved" finish, for all its "softness", seems no better or more pleasant to touch than $6 working boots, which have exactly the same texture of materials.

With regard to the plastic of the lower part of the saloon and luggage compartment, "hard" does not mean "durable" - even on demo cars, it instantly becomes covered with an abundance of scratches and abrasions.

The steering wheel is covered with some tactile-strange material, and each touch during driving is a little audible. It is not worth to repeat banal phrases about rubberized switches and door handrails - if only they would not turn in a few years into a sticky substance, following the example of many similar plastics.

Over the years, the memory of what the upholstery was in real Japanese cars is gradually erased - and today the primitive fabric of Toyota seats does not seem so scary, but still thin on the sidewalls and with a frankly ugly texture (even dealer's optional covers seemed more pleasant in appearance, and to the touch).

As for the workmanship and the overall feeling... We have to remember that in the global reality, the RAV4 is a mass crossover with a starting price of $24100, from which you should not expect miracles. And Toyota need to forcibly separate it from the updated Highlander and prospective NX and RX on the same platform.

Compared to, say, Renault, Toyota still looks good, but thanks to VW and Škoda everyone knows what a truly thoughtful, modern and non-premium salon should be - against this background, Toyota has just left the stone age.


We can have a different attitude to the modern VW, but special appreciation is given to the fact that throughout all the years of its existence, the compact Tiguan demonstrates the failure of Japanese "specialists" in the layout and ergonomics of salons. Some of them could to compensate the inability to organize the internal space by this space sufficient reserve... but Toyota has 永田秀明, takumi and aggravated mania to lower the center of gravity.

Even if do not immerse in anthropology and socio-cultural characteristics, but take a more comfortable Japanese classmate for comparison, the difference of RAV4 is visible:

The height of the roof and the angle of inclination of the front pillar together give a cumulative effect: the absolute difference in height from 40 mm turns to 60 in the front part, the pillar at eye level is 120 mm closer to the driver. At the same time: RAV4 floor height above the ground is a few mm higher, the steering wheel installed 25 mm lower, the maximum leg space for the driver is 55 mm less. The result is a little predictable.

RAV4 is one of the rare cases when a comfortable high fit position is hindered not by a small seat lift upwards or a low steering wheel, but by a low roof. At the entrance and exit, each time have to either bow or bang head on the doorway. It is impossible to take a "command position" in principle - otherwise, the forward view becomes similar to a picture from a head-on GoPro-cam:

Objectively, in a vertical projection, the field of view under the mirror is 30 mm less, and in front of the driver all 50 mm less than in a classmate.

In order for the eye level to be where the Japanese planned it, we have to fall down, lift knees and sit with a minimum area of support on the seat cushion. And even so, the angular size of the famous "thin" front pillar because of its strong tilt and proximity to the driver does not seem so small.

However, this case is individual: fans of a low or lying position may not even notice such an inconvenience that is so critical for us. Driver with height below average fits without special claims, and driver below 1.70 dwells delighted and asks to be scribed in "toyota ergonomics schoolbook".

A couple of positive points - a surprisingly good chair (moderately soft, moderately anatomical on the backrest, but with a traditionally short and flat cushion) and the side glass line finally extended downwards.

The visibility of the rear hemisphere is worse than would expect from the outside, the usefulness of the interior mirror is relative, but the "rearview digital mirror" is not offered for local market.

Usually, designer desires are now compensated by standard electronic active safety and improved visibility systems, but in non-top version the owner can only rely on his own analog feelings.

The next surprise from the Japan is the center console raised by 100 mm compared to the previous generation and the ugly swollen in width. Sometimes such a layout can be explained by the desire to set the constantly used joystick or touchpad of multimedia under the driver's fingers, but here the practical meaning is completely absent.

According to the Toyota press-release, the plastic "cockpit" itself should create a feeling of comfort and premiumness... but in fact, even the owners of the XA40 note a decrease in space. "Sporty style"? - This is a utilitarian everyday family crossover (there are many more synonyms), where the only "sport" is the mode button near the selector lever. Not to mention the fact that in urban conditions the architecture of the old CR-V or minivans is much more appropriate and practical.

By the way, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Kia etc. in their classmates with less hypertrophied consoles they set a soft pieces in the area of contact with the legs of the driver and passenger. But in the case of the RAV4 Toyota is above such trifles.


Most of all in this car, the person next to the driver is lucky: without a steering wheel and pedals, he can comfortably sit in such a chair with a minimum of adjustments, visibility is enough, the front of saloon is quieter and has less vertical accelerations, there is an own climate zone...


Reviewers usually show how much space is left in front of the knees and above the head, the slightly inclined seatback... but miss important detail - the rear seat cushion is set 40-50 mm lower than that of other classmates: as a result headroom is excessive, but sitting is as uncomfortable as in large frame-based SUVs with a high floor level.

In fairness, we note that much smaller passengers should sit at the back seat of this car - so with growth below 1.70, the length and height of the cushion is already enough. But passengers of even more compact sizes, in turn, note a high window line at the rear and would also like to sit upper.



Local version

"The superbly tuned CVT provides instant response and excellent accelerator reactions, allowing you to drive fast and confidently, the two-liter engine is quieter and don't loose to its older bro in feel of dynamics" - the standard description of Toyota 2.0 CVT nature in local press (if you do not want to be blacklisted by the PR department of local Toyota).

In fact, journalists / bloggers simply do not say the necessary condition: you need to drive as they do - along empty winding roads among the hills of the car-training camp or along the Transylvanian foothills, without lowering the tachometer needle below the middle of the scale.

But what is good for a mountain road with alternating sharp short accelerations and decelerations without a complete stop (and with a complete absence of traffic) - in real conditions is only annoying. The main problem is the sound: the engine is quiet until 2, at 2-3 it already noticeable rumbling, at 3-4 - noisy, at 4-5 - shouts in a full-loud voice.

In the conditional "new city" location, with fairly straight and wide roads, long running sections and a maximum speed of over 80 - it is difficult to accelerate smoothly at low rpms, at the first opportunity the engine speed rise up, after the termination of the acceleration drops only to 3-4 and then go down slowly to the norm (in readiness to provide the next "sure" acceleration... although you need only accelerate smoothly and gently roll at a speed of traffic flow to the next intersection).

In the "old city", with an abundance of traffic lights and 90-degree turns, narrow streets, artificial irregularities and pedestrian-passings, maximum speeds of 50-60 - things are really bad. Literally every pressing of the gas pedal is accompanied by annoying rattling of the engine (which does not even try to stay in zone below 2k rpms), acceleration by a measly 10 km/h throws rpms into zone 3-4, a couple of too sharp starts from a standstill to 60 - and the electronics begins to imitate a skidding transmission with 5-6k rpm, almost always the roar of the engine lasts several times longer than the actual vehicle speed raise takes...

In other modes, 2.0 does not seems excellent: acceleration from a stand and rolling start from low rpms are sad, long overtaking is frighteningly sad. The most positive moment is the cruising rpms (about 2 at 120-130).

It's hard to say whether Toyota only declared a tax-reasonable 149 hp or really cut the torque at high rpms, but objectively local 2.0 CVT make 0-100 in more than 12 sec - as it should be for a 150hp class slowpoke.

EU version

The global version 2.0 CVT has seemingly small differences, which eventually made its own character.

When full-accelerating from the stand, the "euro" only shifts the imaginary gear once and then keeps rpms at maximum up to the driver's moral limit, while ru- regularly changes the pseudo-gears. If it is caused by hp difference or the CVT settings are enough, but eu-2.0 in any case make 0-100 at least two seconds faster (better then 11 from specs). There are approximately the same differences in the operation of the CVT while full-throttle rolling start.

With smooth accelerations, on the contrary, the "euro" makes attempts to stay on the low rpms as often as possible and drop tacho needle faster after acceleration (in the urban rhythm you can move normally without rpms rise above 3-4).

Suspiciously modest fuel consumption can be explained by the same rpm feature, as well as more thorough settings (Euro-6d and eco-alarmism oblige).


Such nice power figures give rise to the most optimistic expectations, but... There is a hint of torque at low rpm, cruising rpm also are normal (a little less than 2), overtakes are obviously easier. However, dropped speeds offhand occurs, unnecessary rpm raise to 4-5+, some hesitations, delays and jerks in the first gears and low speed.

Trying to drive more "actively" gives a very unpleasant result - the behavior of 8AT becomes almost like an actual CVT, and a bacchanalia of constantly high rpms is accompanied by unbearable sound effects.

We are accustomed to the other side of the classic ATs - smooth shifts, an rpm range of 1-2-3 in the usual drive rhythm, timely upshifts, good roll-over... However, if do not press the accelerator too much, this AT can behave in a proper way. So let 2.0 "accelerate without delays" - 2.5, if necessary, has time to think, shift, roar, catch up and overtake. And for our understanding of comfort, the automatic "dynamics on demand" fits much better than the annoying "constant readiness" of the CVT.

Although as for comfort... With an increase in revolutions, high tones appear in the engine voice, turning into a screech, and a certain vibrating note (as it is precisely noticed - a "puncher drill"). So over time, the subconscious mind somehow resists the sharp or deep pressing of the accelerator pedal. But according to objective measurements (in the kangaroo country), 2.5 is not louder than 2.0 - rather, they have some different timbre and tone, and during normal driving the rpms and corresponding background noise of 2.5 are lower, therefore, the roar on acceleration seems especially contrast.

Objectively, the RAV4 goes exactly like all Japanese classmates: with a 8.5 in specs, it very tightly leaves 10; overtaking 60-110 - in a little less than 7. True, many of these analogs have two dozen hp less... but Toyota "plays as she can".

A conventional hybrid runs better by about a second, and PHV shows 6 sec to 100.


Upd. If true Toyota fans believe that things are not as bad with noise as everyone thinks, then it is worth clearly identifying several reference points (as applied to urban locations).

Toyota 1.2T CVT. Funny, but driving gives feeling of even more thoroughbred car. The dynamics are unexpectedly comparable to 2.0 RAV4 (while there is much less power and torque per weight unit), the turbine gives acceptable thrust at the low rpms. The engine is definitely quieter in all modes. Fewer suspension sounds.

VW and Skoda 1.5TSI DSG. A huge contrast: if RAV4 fights the world every second and informs the driver about it, then the German and the Czech simply move through the space. The engine has enough low-rpm thrust for urban maneuvers; with a sharp acceleration a short, non-irritating growl is hearing - and the speedometer already shows the limit of penalized speeds; at the first opportunity, it shifts to overdrive and revs drops. Acceleration times are better than the RAV4 2.5, not to mention the 2.0. Bonus: soundless suspension and an amazing sense of solidity.

Skoda 1.4TSI DSG. It would seem, what a difference can be from 1.5, especially the model is half-class higher? - but no, almost everything is a little worse: the engine voice is louder, the shifting is not so perfect, there is more road noise in the saloon.

Nissan 2.0 CVT. The dynamic is not so bad here, how much less noise from the engine. Firstly, at 2-3k rpm zone it is quieter than all other Japanese naturally aspirated engines. Secondly, relatively noisy 3-4+ rpms are reached only at really sharp accelerations. True, all other sounds are heard better than even in RAV4.

Mitsubishi 1.5T CVT. Strange, but there was neither the expected silence, nor the confident thrust promised by journalists... only the rattling of the engine and the twitching of the CVT. One of the few cases where the RAV4's powertrain seems clearly more adequate.

Mitsubishi 2.0 CVT. Some duality: at the low revs it behaves even a little better and quieter than RAV4, at the high - the power is frankly lacking, the CVT sticks and gets confused.

Subaru 2.0 and 2.5 CVT. The engines are also loud, they also make noise already from 2-3 zone, but at least their voice timbre is smoother and the squeal appears at the very top, in 5-6 zone. In the limit, the dynamics of RAV4 may be slightly better, but in easier modes, Subaru produces more thrust per conventional "unit of noise". And you can even move around the city (although it looks very dull), without raising the rpms to a noisy zone, which Toyota does not allow in principle.

Renault 1.3T CVT. On the one hand, it is quieter than the Toyota 2.0, and thrusts well. On the other hand, it does not leave a feeling of working with a great effort - even if the engine is "by Mercedes", but there is no German confidence and precision. And there are also enough unnecessary sounds - both from the suspension and from the interior itself.

Mazda 2.5 6AT. Here it is! - unattainable for Toyota, the ideal coordination between naturally aspirated engine and automatic transmission. The engine reminds of itself only during intense acceleration, and its voice is not nasty, but even a pleasant. Low-rpm thrust, gear shifts, operating rpms - everything is exactly as it should be. Bonus: fewer sounds from wheels and suspension - the feeling of a more solid and high-quality car.


It is possible that the absence of any impressions is the best characteristic of the brakes, since any noticeable trait usually turns out to be more or less negative.
Objective data are at a decent level, even with a modest size and traditionally simple design of brake mechanisms.


The subjective grade is maximum - there are no questions either about effort, or about "cleanliness", or about turn radius, or about torque steer... in general, the XA50 steer is even nicer than SK.

Well, only time, mass exploitation and, of course, collections of video from the recorders will tell the truth - if appears there "dancing RAV4" or the usual road lane change at high speed will not be enough to fall into an uncontrolled drift.


It was supposed in advance that Toyota will shift its focus and the XA50 will not so stiff like previous. And it really exceeded not only expectations, but also the average level of the class.

Of the tested types of road surface, we did not like the behavior on large smooth irregularities like sagging asphalt and hatches. The extra inches of wheel diameter and the acoustic effects of the suspension are cons. And pros - sales start during the change of seasons - so the test-drive cars at the first opportunity obtained a good winter tyres, which always gives a large bonus to a smoothness. And of course, the basis for assessment is important - after all, the mass of ru-people is not accustomed to good suspension.


It took fifteen years for Toyota to get the secret of the proper differential lock emulation by brakes (clamping a skid wheel quickly, strongly and for a long time). Transformed RAV4 immediately drives as the many other crossover, since the other abilities are normal (normal clearance, not too low front bumper, ...). It is enough for the driver press the pedal and remember about the MTS.

By irony, new opportunities are most interested for reporters and half-percent of ORD-enthusiasts. Most of real owners press the mode selection buttons first and last time on the day of purchase.

It is worth emphasizing that in terms of cross-country ability, not only the new DTV looks normal, but also, in comparison with previous generations, the classic DTC behaves much more worthy.


We hope that no one has any special illusions that cars are sent to the ru-press parks and ru-dealer test drives in the same state in which they came off the assembly line?

In an ordinary client car, the suspension makes noise at low speeds (largely due to the heavy wheels) and tyres create a main background (summer tyres - uncritical, winter studded tyres - very noticeable). Echoes of aerodynamic noise appear even in the city, then it only gain strength, and on the verge of reasonable speeds argue with the engine. Which, given its heartbreaking roar on acceleration, is not easy.

For some reason, the dealer's test-drive car behaves otherwise - from the knock of external door handles and slammed doors. Without unnecessary sound from the wheels and the suspension, the car's ride seems much smoother. The engine is heard in a slightly different tone and discomfort rpms are higher - so that the illusion of a more confident acceleration is created. From the "wind concert" remains that component that penetrates through the glass.

All this gives reason to think about additional noise insulation, but another $600-1000 +, several tens of kilograms of weight, warranty issues, and most importantly - interference of local masters in the Japanese car without any urgent need... Does the rule "do not disturb" works for ru-made cars too?


· 2.0i CVT DTC or 2.0i CVT DTV for +10%? Even if the DTV comes with power seat, eco-leather, front parking sensors and, most importantly, a luminous multi-terrain select controller, the ongoing technical problems of a too crude 4WD are not worth it.

· 2.0i CVT DTC or 2.5i 8AT DTC for +10%? This question must be solved after a guaranteed elimination of AT control unit software, but 2.5 is more interesting.

· Is TSS worth +7%? The question here is rather ethical - is it worth following the lead of the local Toyota and paying for what should be yours by right.

Is it expensive on a global scale? In Europe, the RAV4 costs about 15-20% more (where non-hybrid is still offered), in Japan and China about 10-15% cheaper, in the USA - 10-15% cheaper in low grades (however by default with 2.5 8AT) and about the same in top. And once again, we will clarify that in these markets no one has amputated TSS components from RAV4. A hybrid costs 10% more than a similar package with pure gasoline 2.5 and 20% more than 2.0.

On paper the basic 2.0i CVT DTC version seems to be sufficient (by the way, without the previously mentioned extra options, it would cost below psychologically comfortable k$30). Plus $300-400 for painting, since the "free" 040 color is suitable only as a base for vinyl film.

But according to the test results, the advantages of 2.5 8AT become obvious. Maybe the euro-2.0 has a right to exist, but the local basic version leaves the aftertaste of noisy bustling helplessness... Equivalent of about eight years medium salary or a full-size apartment in province should provide at least a little bit of positive emotions and confidence.
On the other hand, the motives of the observers who put 2.0 on the same level with 2.5 are understandable: presenting the capabilities of the absolute majority of the audience, it is advisable to say what people want to hear.

Rem. In any case, it is worth remembering that Toyota originally built the new RAV4 primarily as a hybrid, therefore, purely gasoline versions are only a sublimation. This became especially noticeable after release of PHV / Prime, which, both on paper and in life, turned out to be the best in the family.


What if, by setting a new price bar, Toyota has set a new level of exceptional qualities and RAV4 is now the "most"... Drive, safe, heavy-offroad, affordable, comfortable? - not. Reliable? - time will tell. Profitable on resale? - as always. Toyota at all times could have a good average result, but absolute victories it is a traditional problem.

And we must not forget how much real RAV4 will differ from advertising reviews and test drives.

Together with the top versions, the not necessary "eco-leather" and electric seat, opening the tailgate by a kick under the bumper, interior spotlighting, auto-folding mirrors, front parking sensors, wireless charging, off-road mode controller and even rear seat heater go away. The offended navigation and panoramic cameras, a combination meter with a large display go away...

In most cases, the "torque vectoring" all-wheel drive, "two-hundred-horses" engine, "eight-speed" automatic transmission go away... - all "status" elements that give to the model some kind of premium.

Gone driver assistance systems: winking auto high beam, road signs icons, overly careful lane monitoring, blind spot monitor, radar cruise control, collision avoidance. Moreover, it is one thing to refuse from safety functions voluntarily, and quite another to feel as if it were stolen from you... and were offered to return it for a ransom.

Deprived of useful options and modern electronic toys, the standard RAV4 looks like a naked Christmas tree sticking out of a snowdrift in March. The holiday that has passed.


Since the moment of the presentation, it was clear that the new RAV4 turned out to be at least interesting and judging by the press almost the best popular crossover... But by the summer of 2019 owner reviews began to appear, in autumn local Toyota published prices and specifications, the dealerships got real cars - and the initial illusions were dispelled by themselves.

In our rankings, RAV4 has made progress, but not a revolution - Forester remains in the first place, especially with a comparable price of top-end versions. Another reasonable alternative is class higher large Korean SUVs, with a different feeling of internal quality. Well, if the words "driving pleasure" mean something, then there is nothing to look for among Asians - there is a direct road to the VAG group.

Within Toyota's own model range, this particular RAV4 is really the best thing that has been created over the past two decades (but this is more a minus to Toyota, not a plus to RAV4). And it will be strange if he does not attract a lot of potential Camry buyers, does not get rid of the C-HR completely, does not squeeze the archaic pseudo-premium NX out of the market...

However, RAV4 in any case will live long in the top of the local sales of mid-size crossovers. Someone ironically says "millions of lemmings can't be wrong" - but it is rather an echo of resentment - in itself a design for most is adequate, and what about the cost... Beati possidentes.

We continue to observe!

Related articles:
Toyota engines. Dynamic Force - A25A, M20A
Toyota all-wheel drive. DTV
RAV4. Safety not for all