Hands on with Toyota’s new RAV4 Hybrid: A Reason to Return to Recreation

25 years ago, Toyota launched the RAV4 to be the ultimate recreational motor choice among consumers, in fact, this sentiment was (and still is) at the very core of the RAV4 (Recreational Activity Vehicle 4 Wheel Drive).

Realising that more often than not, people tend to buy SUV’s for the mere reason of being drawn to the recreational ideal, and not always following through on these intended lifestyle alterations after purchase, Toyota is back with their latest RAV 4 models and a campaign solely focused on “The Return of Recreation”.

The RAV4 Hybrid, in particular, is not only the first Toyota Hybrid SUV in Australia, it’s also incredibly powerful and extremely fuel efficient (think more than 1,000 km on a single tank of petrol), making your recreational goals that much more attainable. No more dreaming about that adventurous life consisting of road trips, camping excursions and impromptu getaways, now is the perfect time in your life to stop looking for excuses, and just go.

Recently, Man of Many was a guest of Toyota for the launch of their brand new RAV4 line-up in the beautiful McLaren Vale in South Australia, and to put it plainly, they really hit the nail on the head with this one. After spending a night glamping around the iconic d’Arenburg Cube, we got the opportunity to drive through the picturesque vineyards, tested it out on rocky roads and even cruised along vast stretches of beach sand, all of which the AWD model handled with ease.  Not only is the SUV lavishly comfortable and pleasantly spacious, it also has an abundance of safety features. This can be said about each of the models in the range, including the entry-level GX model.

Our hands-on experience with the Hybrid Cruiser was that it was an absolute dream to drive, and we also found it quieter than expected (including every time the switch from electric to petrol occurs). Some stand out features for us on this particular model included the wireless charging pad for your mobile phone, the premium JBL sound system, the sliding moonroof and the included roof rack ideal for taking your bike, surfboard or camping gear on your next adventure.

Other than those luxury add-ons, we also thoroughly enjoyed the large 8-inch touch-screen monitor with the only downside being that it’s not yet compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (although this is promised as a complimentary upgrade to existing vehicles from the fourth quarter of the year.) And in true Toyota style, every feature on this car feels like it has been added with purpose: it feels easy and uncluttered, and the developments that Toyota has made under the hood deliver ample power while saving your hip pocket on fuel: it’s a win-win.

A RAV4 is not just another SUV. Nor is it really a 4×4, either. That’s what Toyota has so cleverly done with this vehicle over its long life, constantly tweaking and improving, but never losing the DNA of what makes a RAV the ideal, fun, unpretentious and economical recreational ride that it is.

When the RAV4 first came out, it cleverly rode a wave of consumer demand for a fun weekender that could double as a daily driver and not be too cumbersome around town. The times may have changed, but with the new and improved RAV4, Toyota has proved that they are still ahead of the 8-ball in terms of giving a genuinely great product at a great price that offers more than just a way of getting from A to B, but a lifestyle too.

Indeed, it is the ultimate Recreational Activity Vehicle.

To dive into a bit more technical detail on the new Toyota RAV4 line up, check out our RAV4 announcement article here.

Check it out