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Should the Toyota Rav4 go rugged?

Toyota Japan has revealed a toughened-up Rav4 Hybrid, but is it worth upgrading on Australia’s favourite SUV?

What does it take to make the Rav4 an adventurous off-roader? Apparently 10mm higher suspension, some black alloys and all-terrain tyres.

That’s the essence of the new Rav4 Adventure Off-Road model unveiled by the Japanese maker for its home market, with the model confirmed to stay, for now, in only Japan. Toyota Australia has no plans to bring it here though as always, it hardly ever rules anything out… But is this a baby LandCruiser?

The all-wheel drive uses Toyota’s 131kW and 221Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors to produce a peak output of 161kW. As we’ve found in testing, this is a rather competent and frugal drivetrain. The new alloys measure 18-inches, finished in black, and are fitted with a more capable Falken Wildpeak all-terrain rubber. 

Riding on revised suspension, the model sits 10mm higher to tout a 205mm ground clearance. This remains 15mm less than the new Subaru Forester’s 220mm standard. Completing the look are roof rails, plastic underbody protection pieces, and a red and black themed interior.

And that sum up more of what this model is all about: an appearance pack, though the suspension and AT tyres will no doubt help it negotiate boggy carparks and lightly beaten campgrounds.

Locally, there are no plans for an upgrade to the current Ran4 lineup, which is currently lighting up the sales charts as is, claiming the top spot as Australia’s favourite SUV – particularly with the new hybrid drivetrain.

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3 years ago

It’s good for it was build for.Making it a real off road worrier.. No. That will need to be a total re design with real off road in mind.

3 years ago

I have driven my 2012 RAV4 with AWD locking on a property at Dirranband and with care it is surprising what the car will do, even after a night of rain. Toyota could offer more ground clearance but it would be an adventure car with limitations.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae