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Car group tests

Toyota RAV4 vs Renault Kadjar vs Hyundai Tucson

New Toyota RAV4 meets class of crossover field from Renault and Hyundai

The compact crossover class is fit to burst, with nearly every manufacturer offering one of these fashionable family cars. Yet that hasn't stopped the flow of new arrivals, like Toyota's new RAV4.

It's essentially a mid-life refresh, but has moved away from its rugged SUV roots with more kit, stronger fuel efficiency and sleeker looks. Yet the RAV4's core appeal remains undimmed. Spacious, practical and well-built, the high-riding Toyota still has substance to match its new-found style.

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It faces some very stiff competition in the shape of the Renault Kadjar and Hyundai Tucson. The Renault is our remaining class champ, with its blend of slick design, top-notch quality, a spacious interior and impeccable refinement. It also represents great value for money and costs no more to run than a compact family hatchback.

Equally desirable is the Hyundai Tucson, which replaces the ungainly ix35. Featuring shrunken Santa Fe looks, a roomy interior and a class-leading aftersales package, it's very desirable. But which crossover is king of the hill?

Head-to-head

Rear space

There's not much between our contenders for outright space, but the Toyota has some neat touches to boost rear comfort. For starters, the seatbacks have a reclining function that's operated by well placed levers on the sides of the bases. Plus, as the floor is almost flat in the rear, middle seat occupants have more than enough foot room.

Design

All three of these cars fall into the compact crossover class, but each takes a different approach to styling. While the Renault has flowing curves, the Hyundai gets sharply defined creases. The Toyota looks utilitarian in this company, but gets a lift from its new LED light signatures.

Four-wheel drive

The RAV4 AWD is available only with 2.0-litre petrol or 2.5 hybrid power; prices start at £28,295. You'll need at least £26,175 for a Tucson 4WD, with the 2.0 CRDi diesel. The cheapest 4WD option is the Kadjar; a 1.6 dCi Dynamique Nav 4x4 weighs in at £24,295.

Verdict

First place: Renault Kadjar

It's a third road test victory on the trot for the Renault Kadjar. Handsome, well made, practical and refined, this is a genuinely desirable family car. It also represents good value for money, as it comes crammed with equipment as standard, plus it's a cost-effective company car choice. Only the weak predicted residual values count against it in this test.

Second place: Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai narrowly misses out here, but it's still a hugely capable choice. Smart styling, an upmarket interior and generous kit count are highlights, while the 1.7 CRDI engine won't cost the earth to run. However, the diesel is outgunned for performance in this encounter, plus the ride quality on the 19-inch alloy wheels can be uncomfortable around town.

Third place: Toyota RAV4

If you're looking for a solid, dependable and spacious crossover, then the new RAV4 certainly deserves consideration. It's also good to drive and delivers punchy real-world performance. But in this crowded sector, the dowdy looks and dated cabin limit the Toyota's showroom appeal, while it can't quite match the competition for low running costs.

Rivals

Other options in this category...

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta Premium
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Price: £24,980
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 128bhp
Nissan Qashqai front static

The Nissan Qashqai underpins the Kadjar, and delivers the same refinement and composure. An identical 1.6 diesel offers fine pace and efficiency, too. But the Qashqai doesn't feel as upmarket, plus it's pricier and not as well equipped.

Mazda CX-5 2.2D SE-L Nav
Price: £24,995
Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

Agile CX-5 still sets the crossover standard for driving fun, while the 2.2-litre diesel delivers an unrivalled blend of performance and economy. SE-L Nav trim provides all the essentials, but four-wheel-drive is an expensive £2,000 option.

Figures

 Renault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Signature NavHyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi PremiumToyota RAV4 2.0 D4-D Business Edition
On the road price/total as tested£24,795/£27,470£25,395/£26,015£24,595/£25,089
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£9,893/39.9%£12,621/49.7%£11,707/47.6%
Depreciation£14,902£12,774£12,888
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,039/£2,078£1,064/£2,129£1,080/£2,160
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,299/£2,166£1,224/£2,041£1,367/£2,279
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost18/£548/C/£3013/£558/C/£3029/£630/D/£110
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£299 (3yrs/30k)£499 (3yrs/30k)£149/£239/£149
    
Length/wheelbase4,449/2,646mm4,475/2,670mm4,605/2,660mm
Height/width1,613/1,836mm1,645/1,850mm1,675/1,845mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,685cc4cyl in-line/1,995cc
Peak power/revs 128/4,000 bhp/rpm114/4,000 bhp/rpm141/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 320/1,750 Nm/rpm280/1,250 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/sealant62 litres/full-size60 litres/space saver
Boot capacity527/1,478 litres488/1,478 litres547/1,735 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,429/543/1,800kg1,580/420/1,400kg1,605/600/2,000kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.7 metres/N/A10.6 metres/N/A10.6 metres/0.36Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery4yrs (100,000)/4yrs 5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs 5yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers1yr (18,000)/15310,000 miles (1yr)/16210,000 miles (1yr)/181
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.7th/12th21st/17th8th/2nd
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars89/81/74/586/85/71 589/82/66/5
    
0-60/30-70mph10.5/10.8 secs11.5/12.0 secs9.6/9.3 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.4/4.6 secs4.4/5.9 secs4.1/6.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th7.3/9.4 secs9.6/14.8 secs8.7/10.7 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 118mph/2,100rpm109mph/1,950rpm121mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 48.6/35.5/10.5m52.0/38.3/10.3m57.3/33.5/10.5m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph64/45/62/69dB63/43/58/65dB69/50/62/69dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range42.4/9.3/513 miles45.0/9.9/614 miles40.3/8.9/532 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 55.4/68.9/62.8mpg52.3/67.3/61.7mpg52.3/65.7/60.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 12.2/15.2/13.8mpl11.5/14.8/13.6mpl11.5/14.4/13.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket179/117g/km/21%168/119g/km/21%188/123g/km/22%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£500Six/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/£495/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsY/£1,250*/£1,250*Yes/yes/yesYes/no/no
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go£525/yes/yes£620/no/no£495/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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