Fam­ily war­rior

It’s hard-work­ing but the RAV is a cruiser, not a bruiser, writes Gra­ham Smith The cutey is a lot more ma­ture now

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

THOUGH SUVs look as if they can han­dle the bush, few own­ers be­lieve they will. Most SUVs are bought as fam­ily wag­ons and used to trans­port the kids to school and pick up the shop­ping from the su­per­mar­ket. Rarely, if ever, do they ven­ture be­yond the city lim­its, and when they do it’s usu­ally only as far as a lo­cal beach or nearby camp­ing ground.

But Toy­ota was keen to show its RAV4 re­ally could han­dle the rough go­ing when it launched its 2006 model in the Flin­ders Ranges.

Model watch

THE 2006 RAV4 was a far cry from the cute fun wagon launched in the 1990s. It was big­ger in al­most ev­ery di­men­sion, heav­ier by 180kg and had grown into a full-sized fam­ily wagon with a much more roomy in­te­rior. There were six mod­els with three lev­els of equip­ment: CV, Cruiser and Cruiser L.

All came with the same 2.4-litre twin-cam four-cylin­der en­gine with vari­able valve tim­ing boast­ing peak power of 125kW at 6000 revs, up 5kW, with max­i­mum torque un­changed at 224Nm at 4000 revs.

It of­fered a choice of a five-speed man­ual gear­box or four-speed auto, with part-time all-wheel drive.

The sys­tem switched seam­lessly from two-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, with the only in­di­ca­tion be­ing a light on the dash to tell the driver the switch had taken place.

The RAV4 had fully in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion at both ends, with MacPher­son struts at the front and wish­bones at the rear.

All mod­els came with 17-inch al­loy wheels, CD sound, tilt-and-reach steer­ing wheel, and heaps of stor­age com­part­ments and cup hold­ers.

If you stepped up to the Cruiser from the base CV you got dual-zone air­con­di­tion­ing, trac­tion con­trol, hill­start as­sis­tance and sta­bil­ity con­trol.

With the Cruiser L you also got leather, a power driver’s seat, and both front seats were heated.

On the lot

PAY $ 19,000-$ 29,500 for a CV, $23,000-$32,000 for a Cruiser or $27,000-$38,000 for a Cruiser L.

In the shop

TOY­OTA en­joys a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity, and though re­cent re­ports to cars­Guide sug­gest it has slipped a lit­tle it is still right up there with the best.

Build qual­ity is good. The in­te­rior plas­tics and other hard­ware stands up well to nor­mal use.

With any SUV, in­clud­ing the RAV4, it’s im­por­tant to check for signs not so much of use off-road but of off-road abuse.

It’s pos­si­ble to drive off the black top with­out beat­ing your car to death, so check for un­der­body dam­age, dam­age to sus­pen­sion and drive­shafts that sug­gest an un­car­ing driver.

Also look for ev­i­dence that reg­u­lar main­te­nance has been car­ried out, par­tic­u­larly of oil and fil­ter changes.

In a crash

ALL mod­els had anti-skid brakes with brake-force dis­tri­bu­tion and ac­tive four-wheel drive that en­dowed the RAV4 with de­cent ac­tive safety.

The Cruiser and Cruiser L of­fered trac­tion con­trol and sta­bil­ity con­trol.

Add the pas­sive pro­tec­tion of twin airbags on the CV, and side and cur­tain airbags on the Cruiser and Cruiser L, and the RAV4 scrubbed up pretty well for safety, well enough to

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.