SEE | 5 things to like about the Toyota Rav4

<i>Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen</i>
<i>Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen</i>
Robin Classen

There's nothing quite like an open road to enjoy the feelings and elements of a car to the fullest.

Those are probably more closely associated with sports and performance cars of this world but a certain Japanese SUV falls into that category with certain aplomb.

The right recipe

Simon's Town not only plays host to some of Cape Town's most iconic nautical and marine sights but its scenic and twisty roads heading towards Misty Cliffs and Cape Point provide the ideal road-handling experience for the Toyota RAV4.

FIRST DRIVE in Barcelona | Toyota launches a new era of the RAV4

First launched 25 years ago, the rugged SUV has became a favourite among consumers. From the Camry-based first generation, Toyota has concocted and improved a formula that has turned into a proven recipe over the years - and it shows.

In November alone, 363 people decided to spend their hard-earned cash on a RAV4. Toyota has constantly been building good cars, you only need to look at the Hilux and Corolla for evidence but other manufacturers like Volkswagen, Hyundai and Suzuki have provided competition where there once wasn't.

With so much more going for it, here are five standout things on the R436 200-priced SUV:

1. Plenty of space

With a total length of 4 600mm, you already have a pretty clear picture of just how big the SUV really is. You get an even clearer image when you open the boot or get into the back seat where it seats up to five people comfortably.

The deep-laying boot boasts an impressive 698-litres of overall space ready to accommodate anything from kiddies-sized Ben 10 figurines, plenty of gammon and lots of grocery bags. The nifty side compartment can hold small items for a bit more space.

2. Sticks to the road like glue

Toyota Rav4

                                                                           Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen

All SUVs are generally heavy which aid's in better traction and overall driveability but the RAV4 is smoother around curvatures. Choose between Eco, Normal and Sport modes and you get the same feel throughout.

Handling is precise and it is a case of point and shoot, not putting a foot wrong. The rear double wishbone suspension soaks up the road and is happy to do it time and again.

3. Fuel-sipping credentials

Toyota Rav4

                                                                             Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen

The model in question here is the 2.0-litre GX 2WD bolted to a six-speed manual. Power is rated at 127kW and 203Nm with a claimed fuel consumption of 6.8l/100km - and my oh my have Toyota got those numbers spot on.

Driving at a fluctuating speed of between 80 and 110km/h with the air-conditioning set on 3, 6.9l/100km/h was the average figure in normal mode (6.7 in Eco). You don't have to keep looking at the range because it hardly ever drops fast. Those numbers will increase with the automatic gearbox though but not by much.

4. Convenience at arms length

Toyota Rav4

                                                                          Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen

Everything you need is right at your fingertips. The 7-inch touchscreen is your playground to connect your smartphone, toggle in car temperatures and keep your eye on things behind you with the reverse camera. It also features USB ports, an auxiliary port, six speakers and three power sockets.

The combination of Black and Silver fittings leaves behind the drab cabin area most common with base models across the range. You get in and feel as if you belong there.

5. A real looker

Toyota Rav4

                                                                             Image: Wheels24/Robin Classen

It might not be the top of the range version but it certainly looks the part. With its dual exiting exhaust and standard Daytime Running Lights, the SUV needs to do little explaining on the road.

People know what it is and its 195mm ground clearance makes it stand out above the rest - pun intended.

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