The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 is more expensive than the model it replaces but comes loaded with more gear, more powerful engines and the option of a hybrid system.

While the price of the entry-level GX with a manual gearbox jumps $1190 to $30,640, like all models it comes loaded with the latest active safety equipment that incorporates autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind spot warning and steering assistance.

Practical Motoring drove the all-new RAV4 at its international drive…our local drive will be online next week.

There’s also digital radio tuning and satellite-navigation displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, part of a significant step up in gear for a car that underperforms from a sales perspective by the standards of market leader Toyota.

The base GX is powered by a 127kW/203Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, well up on the 107kW of its predecessor.

The RAV4 will also be the first Toyota to (belatedly) come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity – albeit with a catch. Early cars imported into Australia will have to be retrofitted late in 2019, something that won’t cost owners anything.

Elsewhere across the range prices have in some cases dropped by thousands of dollars. However, the most affordable four-wheel drive RAV4 now costs $38,140 (the GX Hybrid AWD), a full $3650 leap over the outgoing model. That’s in part because it gets a petrol-electric hybrid system to save fuel, part of a bold push into an increasingly electrified motoring world.

Hybrid RAVs team a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder with an 88kW electric motor for a combined 160kW of power. All-wheel drive Hybrid models also get a 40kW electric motor to power the rear wheels, increasing that total system output to 163kW.

Toyota believes the hybrid RAV4 versions – which use older nickel-metal hydride batteries also employed in the Prius – will account for “more than 40 percent” of sales.

“There is a distinct shift happening in this market,” says Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley in describing regular hybrids as a “credible option” for Australians.

This is the movement, it’s happening … hybrid is the most practical way to educe emissions, it’s available now and it uses existing infrastructure.”

Hanley said Toyota expected the 40 percent hybrid target to be conservative “and possibly higher next year”.

The new top-of-the-range Edge model gets the 2.5-litre engine used on its own, something that makes 152kW and 243Nm. It is also the only new RAV4 to get a regular automatic transmission (instead of a CVT), now with eight ratios.

Key to the RAV’s funkier appeal is more aggressive styling, which incorporates elements of the American Tacoma pick-up truck (ute) and the 4Runner SUV.

At 4600mm long and 1855mm wide the body is 5mm shorter but 10mm wider than the model it replaces, and it also sits lower. The new RAV4 utilises Toyota’s latest TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform that also underpins the Prius, Corolla and Camry.

While rivals such as the Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V are switching to automatic-only lineups, the base GX RAV4 gets a six-speed manual.

It’s a $2000 jump to the GX automatic ($32,640), which gets a CVT that uses the same technology that debuted in the new Corolla, using a traditional first gear and torque converter for take-offs before handing over the CVT with its infinite ratios.

The GX can also be had as a Hybrid ($35,140), which also adds dual-zone ventilation and smart key entry. Like all RAV4 hybrids it gets a traditional CVT auto.

An all-wheel drive system for the Hybrid adds another electric motor to drive the rear wheels for $3000 ($38,140).

From there it’s a step up to the GXL ($35,640 as a front-drive petrol, $38,140 as a front-drive Hybrid or $41,140 as a Hybrid AWD), which adds 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 17-inch), Qi wireless phone charging, more USB charging ports (for five in total), leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as dual-zone ventilation and smart key entry available on some GX models.

There are also various styling tweaks, including dual exhausts and roof rails.

Next step up is the Cruiser, also offered as a front-drive petrol, front-drive Hybrid or AWD Hybrid ($39,140/$41,640/$44,640). It gets partial leather seats (there’s also fake leather), sunroof, heated and electrically operated front seats, ambient lighting, power tailgate, nine-speaker JBL audio system, 19-inch alloy wheels and a unique 7.0-inch instrument cluster with more detailed trip computer information and displays.

The Cruiser also gets a silver grille and chrome door handles.

There’s only one non-hybrid all-wheel drive model in the RAV4 lineup and it’s the most expensive model, known as Edge ($47,140). It drops leather for Softex fake “leather-look” seats and gets some unique styling elements for a more rugged look. They include a front skid plate and unique bumpers, grille and wheel arches. It also has unique 19-inch alloys and some additional off-road features, including a terrain select system that can tailor electronics to mud and sand, rock and dirt, or snow.

That said, while Toyota dominates the hard core off-road scene with its Prado and LandCruiser, the RAV4 is very much a city slicker, focused on safely traversing the suburbs and a trip to the ski fields.

Only the base GX can be fitted with a full-sized spare tyre, something that is optional. All others have a space saver that reduces the recommended top speed to 80km/h.


RAV4 GX Petrol 2WD manual      $30,640+ORCs

RAV4 GX Petrol 2WD CVT            $32,640+ORCs

RAV4 GXL Petrol 2WD CVT          $35,640+ORCs

RAV4 Cruiser Petrol 2WD CVT    $39,140+ORCs

RAV4 GX Hybrid 2WD CVT           $35,140+ORCs

RAV4 GXL Hybrid 2WD CVT         $38,140+ORCs

RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid 2WD CVT   $41,640+ORCs

RAV4 GX Hybrid AWD CVT          $38,140+ORCs

RAV4 GXL Hybrid AWD CVT         $41,140+ORCs

RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD CVT   $44,640+ORCs

RAV4 Edge Petrol AWD Auto      $47,140+ORCs


2.0-litre four-cylinder (petrol 2WD models)

Power: 127kW at 6600rpm

Torque: 203Nm at 4800rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual (GX 2WD only) or CVT auto with separate 1st gear

Fuel use: 6.8L/100km (manual), 6.5L/100km (auto)

2.5-litre hybrid system (Hybrid 2WD models)

Power: 160kW (131kW from petrol engine, 88kW from electric motor)

Torque: 221Nm from petrol engine, 202Nm from electric motor

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel use: 4.7L/100km

2.5-litre hybrid system (Hybrid AWD models)

Power: 163kW (131kW from petrol engine, 88kW from front motor, 40kW from rear motor)

Torque: 221Nm from petrol engine, 202Nm/121Nm from electric motors

Transmission: CVT auto

Fuel use: 4.8L/100km

2.5-litre four-cylinder (Edge model only)

Power: 152kW at 6600rpm

Torque: 243Nm at 4000-5000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic, AWD

Fuel use: 7.3L/100km


Pricing announced for 2019 BMW X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition


Jensen Button sets lap record at Mount Panorama with Honda Civic Type R

About Author

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also