Toyota has found a way to offer all that space (with seating for up to five) while still providing decent fuel efficiency on their 2011 Toyota RAV4. Although the RAV4 was one of the older designs in the compact crossover segment, it still convinced this writer right away that the vehicle still appeals to the taste of today’s generation.
Our test unit came with a 4×4 VVT-i clad in silver metallic and sat on four 7JJx17-inch alloy rims and Bridgestone Dueler H/T 687 225/65R17 tires. The shape and the details were unmistakably Toyota’s, but the bumpers, faux mesh grille, headlamps and hood all sported a new look. The rear had more LEDs for better visibility at night.
The interior boasts of a clean design with large, simple controls and lots of storage space. The cabin was just like the previous generation’s but more refined and sophisticated. The cockpit featured three-tiered Optitron meters, integrated steering wheel control, 10-way power driver seats, six-CD in-dash audio system, boomerang-shaped door trims with power controls, air-conditioning system and ceiling-illuminated vanity mirror.
The sophisticated leather trimmings add a relaxed atmosphere. The front seats are typical Toyota—fairly wide and comfortable with adequate lumbar adjustment. The rear backrests can be folded flat. All you need to do is flip a lever on the second-row seats. There is no need to remove the headrests or fold up the seat cushions to get a flat load floor.
Seats can be reclined for more comfort and occupants can’t complain about the head and the leg rooms. The instrument panel earned my approval both for its function and sharp look. There’s an extra storage bin above the glove box plus storage spaces around the cabin for small items.
The RAV4 is fun to drive. The new model is slightly bigger compared to the older versions but it could still run alongside those with big blocks, thanks to its 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Toyota engineers equipped the RAV4 powerplant with its renowned Variable Valve-Timing Intelligent or VVT-i technology, which ensured better fuel mileage.
During our test, we logged 8.9 km per liter on a week of mixed driving. The best part was that the engine can spew 170 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque—not bad for a compact SUV.
On the road, the RAV4 acceleration is quite peppy, though the four-speed automatic feels reluctant to downshift at times. Perhaps, Toyota should seriously consider coming up with a diesel version of the RAV4—one that could clash with its Korean and other Japanese rivals.
The ride was comfy courtesy of its rigid chassis and fully independent suspension. The RAV4’s safety feature included SRS (dual front, curtain-shield, and side) airbags, Antilock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and head impact protection.
It could go off-road with its on-demand system that incorporates an electromagnetic coupling to apportion torque among the four wheels. The RAV4 can add a dash of sport and style to any daily commute. It is, after all, an all-around SUV.
- Responsive handling
- Excellent power
- Ride Quality
- Spacious interior
- Rugged built-in
- Side opening rear hatch
- Vehicle 2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD
- Type Compact SUV
- Engine 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i
- Maximum power 171 hp at 6,000 rpm
- Maximum torque 224 Nm at 4,400 rpm
- Transmission Four-speed A/T Super ECT with Overdrive
- Length 4,625 mm
- Width 1,855 mm
- Height 1,720 mm
- Wheelbase 2,660 mm
- Wheel size and type 17-inch alloy
- Tire size 225/65 R17
- Price as tested P1.875 million