Toyota RAV4 T180

Toyota’s RAV4 has moved upmarket in recent years, but is the flagship T180 a real rival for a prestige estate?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Well equipped, fast and hugely practical – there’s no doubt the RAV4 T180 is an impressive SUV. But it’s too expensive. And without a prestige badge on the bonnet, it can’t hope to compete with similarly priced rivals such as BMW’s X3 or alternatives like Volvo’s V7. Lesser models in the range offer better value, so if you’re after a RAV4, save your money and go for the £20,345 2.2-litre 134bhp XT3 version. It makes more sense.

Space, pace and supreme comfort – there’s much to like about an upmarket estate car. But for some buyers, when it comes to practical family motoring, there’s no substitute for an SUV.

At £27,045, the flagship T180 version of Toyota’s RAV4 carries a premium price tag.This buys a 175bhp turbodiesel engine and kit including sat-nav, Bluetooth telephone connectivity, a six-speaker CD stereo with MP3 compatibility and dual-zone climate control, plus cruise control and electric leather seats. But apart from 18-inch alloys, a restyled grille and tinted rear glass, it doesn’t look much like a range-topper.

Practicality is very impressive – there’s loads of room, the seats fold down easily and the boot is vast. If Toyota replaced the awkward side-opening tailgate – which is a nightmare in a cramped car park – with a split affair, the RAV4 would be impossible to fault.

Build quality is excellent too, with solid construction and decent materials worthy of BMW and Mercedes models. On the move, there’s plenty of punch, provided you give the 175bhp 2.2-litre diesel some revs. Once the turbo is spinning, there’s 400Nm of torque on tap, keeping acceleration strong well into motorway speeds. It’s also economical at 40.4mpg.

Thanks to a host of stability systems and 4WD, the T180 has plenty of grip and precise steering, although despite a firm ride, there’s a lot of body roll in corners.

Rival: Land Rover Freelander Capable both on and off-road, with a great cabin and a gutsy 2.2-litre diesel, the Land Rover is the SUV to beat. It gets the public vote, too, scoring a top 20 place in this year’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

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