RAV4 GXL front

Toyota RAV4 GXL Review



Toyota RAV4 GXL with Tech Pack is comfortable, spacious and well made, but isn’t a completely arresting proposition as an SUV.


  •  Tech Pack a worthy addition
  • Engine’s eagerness and refinement
  • Comfort
  • Solidity

Not so much:

  • Adaptive cruise can be frustrating
  • Uninspiring interior design
  • Satellite navigation should be standard
  • Good, but not great

The Motoring Guru has previously tested the base model Toyota RAV4 GX, fitted with the optional 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine. We found the package underwhelming, with the diesel GX specification offering relatively poor value for money and the diesel powerplant lacked both pulling power and refinement.

This time around we put the RAV4 GXL with the 2.5 litre petrol motor and our test car was fitted with a very handy Tech Pack. The Tech Pack includes lane departure warning with steering assist, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking, automatic high beam, front parking sensors and satellite navigation and adds $2500 to the RAV4 GXL 2.5 AWD’s base price of $36,990 excluding government charges.

Inside, the RAV4 GXL is spacious, comfortable and accommodating. Leg room for front and rear is particularly worth of mention as there is ample stretching room for all passengers. The seats are well padded and comfortable too, and there’s no doubt that the RAV4 GXL would be an ideal companion on road trips.

Where the interior space does fall down is in execution and design. The infotainment screen is too small and the overall dash design lacks any true flair and rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage Platinum. Similarly, Toyota has yet to adopt Apple CarPlay, a technology found in an increasing number of rivals.

General fit, finish and use of plastics is of Toyota’s usual high standard and boot space is 577 litres with the rear seats up and 760 with the seats lowered.

The 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine produces 132kW @ 6000rpm and 233Nm @ 4100rpm and the engine drives a part-time all-wheel drive system through a six-speed automatic. The engine is a smooth and eager unit, and it moves the RAV4 along satisfactorily, with only moderate amounts of engine noise filtering through to the cabin in the mid to upper portions of the rev range.

The six-speed auto shifts smoothly and anonymously too, and is a good match for the engine.

Overall combined fuel consumption during the test week was between 9.5 and 10 litres per 100 kilometres.

Interestingly, out of the 2.5 petrol and 2.2 diesel, we think the petrol is the pick. The petrol engine’s refinement won us over, and whilst it lacks the diesel’s torque (233Nm v 340Nm) it’ll probably be adequate for most duties.

On the road, the RAV4 GXL is quiet and comfortable, it isn’t as satisfying to drive as the Kia Sportage, but it is competent nonetheless. Bumps are soaked up with ease and the ride quality is generally refined, with the rear suspension feeling a little fidgety at times.

Whilst we feel that the technologies bundled in the Tech Pack are more than worthwhile, the execution of technologies such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning (LDW) seem to be Toyota’s Achilles heel. The adaptive cruise only works at speeds above 40km/h and can be slow to react to traffic changes and the LDW only works at speeds above 50km/h.

In Australian cities at least, this means the two systems are completely ineffective, and as the adaptive cruise automatically deactivates at below 40km/h meaning it won’t be of any assistance during mind numbing peak our gridlock.

Overall, though, the technologies serve as a safety net at higher speeds.


The Toyota RAV4 GXL is covered by Toyota’s three year/100,000 kilometre warranty.

Name: Toyota RAV4 GXL
Engine: 2494cc petrol engine, 132kW @ 6000rpm and 233Nm @ 4100rpm. Six-speed automatic
Price: $36,990 plus on road costs
Options: Metallic paint ($550) and Tech Pack ($2500)
Price as tested: $40,040
Country of Origin: Japan


  • Wow Factor6
  • Interior & Space8
  • On the Road7
  • Performance7
  • Value7
  • 7


    Comfortable, well-made and refined, the Toyota RAV4 GXL is an unquestionably competent SUV. But it is just that: competent. And it takes more than mere competence in the cut throat SUV sector.
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The founding father of The Motoring Guru, Matt has been a lifelong car enthusiast and a passionate writer. Back in 2013 when The Motoring Guru was first launched, Matt wanted to combine his two passions whilst offering readers sound motoring advice.