ON THE ROAD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Toyota Rav4 Cv6 -

THE V6 en­gine adds a new di­men­sion to the all-wheel-drive RAV4. With power to spare, it en­cour­ages you to have more fun. It is bet­ter equipped for tow­ing and ev­ery­day driv­ing, and pulls away from the lights like a sports sedan.

Though it is a rea­son­ably good pack­age, a few flaws spoil the ex­pe­ri­ence.

The big­gest let­down is the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, which could be bet­ter tuned.

Also, un­like al­most ev­ery other auto on sale, the RAV4’s does not fea­ture a se­quen­tial man­ual shift mode. You can use the T-bar to se­lect fourth, third or sec­ond, but the changes are quite slow.

That’s a shame, be­cause the RAV4 re­ally does feel quite sporty on gravel.

The RAV4 V6 would be a treat with a man­ual gear­box, but it prob­a­bly wouldn’t sell all that well.

The other prob­lem with the test car was a gear­box-re­lated noise. At 60km/h to 80km/h there was a gen­tle whine that, once no­ticed, be­came par­tic­u­larly an­noy­ing.

When it comes to han­dling, the RAV4 is good for a cross­over wagon. It is rel­a­tively agile and han­dled the coun­try loop well.

It feels es­pe­cially good com­pared to the Kluger, which wal­lowed and wob­bled along the same sec­tion of road.

The pay-off for the fairly sharp han­dling is a ride that is a lit­tle firm, but it’s not bad.

The RAV4 V6 han­dled some mild off-road work eas­ily, though it is no rock-hop­per.

But it is never lack­ing when it comes to punch. It has plenty of go off the line and the en­gine is strong higher up in the rev range.

A lot of driv­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra urge when it comes to pulling out and over­tak­ing, some­thing that is a bit more of an or­deal in a four-cylin­der RAV4.

The in­te­rior of the test car was quite plain. Grey and black plas­tics don’t help, es­pe­cially as the seats are dark as well, and the con­trol panel and in­stru­ments are con­ser­va­tive.

Stan­dard cruise con­trol is help­ful, but oth­er­wise this car feels a bit cheap con­sid­er­ing it costs $40,000.

There is no trip com­puter with fuel use or dis­tance-to-empty read­ing, you get steel wheels in­stead of al­loys, and there are no park­ing cam­eras. The RAV4’s heavy side­hinged tail­gate is also quite cum­ber­some.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

THE V6 adds punch to an al­ready com­pe­tent pack­age, as long as you don’t mind the firm ride.

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