Thursday, September 26, 2013

Used Car Review - Toyota RAV4 (2006-2012)

The pioneer was treated to a new body, and Myk Belmonte reminisces the previous generation model through this review.

2006-2012 Toyota RAV4

What does the Toyota RAV4 and a debutant have in common? Well, the two mature. The RAV goes from baby girl image to something more ladylike and mature. What is cute before is something laos or worse, baduy in today's situation.

It was in 2005 when the RAV4 entered had its debut by revealing a wide range of body configurations and engines. The body was extended to accommodate a third row bench (which has more room than the Philippine market Honda CR-V) for North American markets. Worldwide, there is a choice of short and long wheelbase and engines from 4 cylinder to V6 and gasoline, diesel, and electric propulsion.

January 2006 saw the entrance of the third generation RAV4 in the Philippine market. It grew more larger in all aspects including price, which was one reason why this generation wasn't a hit. The 4x2 model is pegged at P1.4-1.5M while the 4x4 costs you P1.7-P1.850M, with prices during that time, is too much for a compact SUV (especially it was a CBU from Japan). That money can get you a Fortuner that seats more and has road presence (until it multiplied like rabbits). Just last January 2013, the fourth generation RAV4 was unveiled with a more competitive pricing scheme.

Value and Costs
What used to be prohibitively priced back then is now a bargain. With a price range of P600,000-P800,000, the third generation RAV4 is a great used car bargain especially if you want something higher for the city rendezvous.

Like all Toyotas (this is a cliche, BTW), the RAV is one reliable SUV with the vehicle gaining excellent reliability marks from JD Power and Consumer Reports. One thing to check for when considering an early model unit is the steering-rack, but otherwise this is one fuss free Compact.

Exterior and Interior
Sure it became a grown up lady, but at the expense of losing some character. The RAV4 had extended its back to accommodate the aforementioned third row and to gain more interior space. You may say its awkward looking at some sides but it will grow on you. The rear door which opens sidewards remains, a liability in tight parking spaces.

The occupants is the king in the extended cabin. They get more space for themselves all around plus some for their cargo. But there are two quirks: cheap plastic trims abound despite the leather clad interior and climate controls can take time to master. But you can't deny the total package this car has, especially when it comes to benefiting the passenger. Oh, before leaving this paragraph a dual glovebox comes standard.

Unlike the model it preceded, PHDM RAV4s come with a 2AZ-FE 2,362cc which is good for 170hp at 6,000rpm and 224Nm at 4,000rpm paired with an ordianary 4-speed automatic. With the engine propelling a 1,585kg SUV, initial response can be slow but at a steady pace it is well composed and behaved. It does not want to be rushed, it wants to be driven in a zen manner.

Driving Impressions
The RAV is still a hoot to drive, despite the size. While steering is light, it may be dull for some and it can zip around town with ease. Comfort is definitely tops, a top strength of the RAV4. Unlike the AWD system of competitors, the SUV utilizes a basic 4WD which can be activated with a push of a button. This can split power to both wheels equally at the maximum of 40km/h.

It may have some apparent flaws, but the original trendsetter is hard to beat. Whether cruising around the city or exploring the beaten path, the RAV4 is one excellent pick.

The Good:
  • Drives like a car
  • Oodles of space
  • Refined
The Bad:
  • Poor choice of plastics
  • Side opening rear door
  • No diesel
The Pick: 2WD

Engine: 2,362cc 2AZ-FE I4 gasoline
Power: 170hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 224Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent double wishbone

Price (New): P1,400,000-P1,850,000
Price (Now): P600,000-P800,000
Rivals: Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda Tribute, Mazda CX-7, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape
On Sale: 2006-2012

Toyota Pasong Tamo - (02) 893-8084
Toyota Makati - (02) 897-3333
Toyota Manila Bay - (02) 581-6168

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