Toyota crafts another winner in new Rav4

Bobby Cheetham

A NEW Toyota always raises interest in the motor industry because, in most cases, the new model is seen as the benchmark.

The new Rav4 is just such a vehicle. But does it live up to expectations?

Yes, and it exceeds many.

The sport utility vehicle is bigger and considerably better than the model it replaces. Also, it is 205mm longer (now without the spare wheel carrier on the tailgate) at 570mm overall.

It has a 25mm lower roofline than the third generation Rav4, is 30mm wider and boasts a significant 100mm increase in wheelbase length. It also has a turning circle of only 10.6m, ensuring good manoeuvrability and ease of driving in urban traffic.

This week we had the opportunity of driving the Rav4 2.2 D-4D AWD GX six-speed manual model, which is priced at R359900.

We came away very impressed with this vehicle.

The powerful, four-cylinder 2231cc D-4D diesel engine features a variable nozzle turbocharger and a common-rail fuel injection system with piezo injectors. A Toyota computer controlled system incorporates a 32-bit processor for accurate, simultaneous control of fuel injection, injection timing, fuel pressure, glow relay and exhaust gas recirculation.

The unit develops 110kW at 3600rpm and maximum torque of 340Nm at between 2000 and 2800rpm. It should suit most drivers in the handling stakes.

The Rav4 comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive.

The manual transmission is fitted with a triple cone synchroniser for gears one to three – and a double cone synchroniser for the fourth gear – reducing the shift force required to provide a smoother gear change.

The fuel consumption and engine emissions have been reduced by more than 7% to 5.6 litres/100km and 149g/km respectively.

We found the integrated dynamic drive system (IDDS) – an upgraded version of Toyota’s advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) technology featuring a new sport mode – brilliant.

The IDDS is a sophisticated, high-speed interactive management system that coordinates control of the vehicle’s dynamic torque control AWD, vehicle stability control and electric power steering systems to enhance the vehicle’s performance, handling and safety.

Using information from various sensors – speed, steering angle and yaw rate – the dynamic torque control AWD system controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels through an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in front of the rear differential.

Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to improve consumption.

In normal mode – when neither sport nor lock mode is activated – torque transfer to the rear wheels takes place not only when the front wheels are beginning to slip on slippery surfaces (as in the third generation Rav4), but also when the system detects understeer during cornering on the road.

As a result, the overall agility and driving performance of the vehicle are enhanced during both on- and off-road driving.

When the new sport mode is selected, torque transfer to the rear wheels begins before understeer develops.

From the moment the steering wheel is turned, the dynamic torque control AWD system operates a newly developed pre-torque control, automatically introducing a 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to help cornering force by transferring traction torque to the rear of the vehicle.

If actual understeer develops, torque transfer to the rear wheels is automatically increased by up to 50% through a new yaw rate feedback control, to provide front tyres with improved lateral grip.

As well as activating the “dynamic” behaviour of the system’s front to rear torque transfer, the new Sport mode also decreases the vehicle’s power steering assistance by 20%, sharpens throttle response and offers higher revs for a more dynamic, sporting driving experience.

For those who want to do a bit of bundu bashing at the weekend by off-roading, the system incorporates an AWD lock button.

This allows drivers to lock torque distribution in a fixed 50:50 ratio at speeds of up to 40km/h. Above this speed, the system automatically reverts to normal mode.

The new Rav4 has a three-year/ 100000km warranty and comes with a standard five-year/90000km service plan.

The new models are also supported by the Toyota Care roadside assistance programme, which offers 24-hour roadside assistance to clients, ensuring the ultimate peace-of- mind motoring.


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