October 02, 2017 By Kevin C. Limjoco

2017 Toyota RAV4 4×4 Premium

The mid-pack segment pioneer continues to thrive against all odds. Our heavily tested top-of-the-line Blue Metallic colored 2017 Toyota RAV4 4×4 Premium test unit is certainly not inexpensive either with entry-level front-wheel-drive “Active” models staring at P1,295,000.00 to this Premium model with the optional White Pearl paint running at P2,118,000.00. And these prices still do not reflect the new calculations for the upcoming excise taxes in 2018. Keep in mind too that a fully loaded 7-seater 4×4 Toyota Fortuner 2.8V costs only P125,000.00 more than our test unit.

Keep in mind that I am testing this particular RAV4 after close to 30,000 hard kilometers by numerous journalists under multiple driving conditions, so despite all that mileage, the test unit still drove with surprising tightness unlike many domestic test cars that feel beaten to submission with a fraction of that duty. That fact alone is why Toyota’s RAV4 continues to sell fairly well even with its high cost and selective standard equipment. Even if the direct competition may have a much longer list of niceties and drive dynamically better, it is precisely that elusive reality of genuine reliability and perceived high resale values that keep that customers coming back for more.

The RAV4 does have the most comfortable and quietest ride, with the best noise isolation in its class as well. The front seat design is particularly good too, both very supportive and cosseting. The full genuine leather is also a bonus. Sure, I can comment that the steering is a bit vague and the soft suspension, albeit very compliant, rocks the crossover a bit too easily. Engine power and delivery are sufficient but certainly not thrilling or even joyful. But it is a good looking, well put together, spacious, high-quality crossover nonetheless. The Yokohama Geolander G91 225/65R17 102H tires on 17 x 7 alloys absorb road imperfections very well and have good traction off-road too. Dynamically, the RAV4 is truly a mid-pack performer; not the quickest nor the slowest and it does understeer a bit more than most, but it is very maneuverable in town.

The versatile and durable interior has the most spacious rear seats in its class that reclines better that most. The padded dashboard is really nice. Unfortunately, the steep price of the RAV4 4×4 Premium model does not come with the Toyota Safety Sense-P system found in other markets that consists of forward-collision warning, lane-departure alert, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Some essentials that could make the RAV4 more compelling to customers, who are not die-hard Toyota fans, would be a powered liftgate, and the Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio with Integrated Navigation23, Entune™ Multimedia Bundle21 and App Suite56 (that uses a crisp 7-inch high-resolution touch-screen with split-screen display, 11 JBL® GreenEdge™ speakers including subwoofer, navigation and a 360-degree-view camera system). The buggy current 6.5-inch head unit without rear camera and powering only 6 speakers would have been alright 5 years ago but it is certainly completely outclassed now.

Hopefully Toyota Philippines will bring in all their Hybrid products in 2018 since reportedly all variations of Hybrids and EV’s are exempted from the additional proposed excise taxes, which include the RAV4 variant which is significantly more fuel efficient and it is quicker too, thanks to its 194 hp net power rating.

Specification – 2017 Toyota RAV4 4×4 Premium

Engine: Inline-4, 2494cc, dohc 16V, Port Injection, Dual VVT-i, 6-speed AT

Max power: 176 bhp @ 6000 rpm

Max torque: 172 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm

0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 8.7 sec.

Top Speed: 176 km/h (110 mph)

Fuel Mileage: 22 mpg City & 29 mpg Highway

Price as tested: PhP 2,103,000.00

C! RATING 9/10

+Excellent LED lights, comfortable and spacious, good trunk space, has cruise control.

-Needs a much better infotainment system with rear camera, the Hybrid variant of the RAV4 is the one to have.

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