By Breda Corrigan
Toyota has added the new RAV4 Sport Black Edition to its hugely-popular mid-size SUV line-up, which – as the name suggests – comes with a range of black cosmetic tweaks. Upgrades over the standard RAV4 Sport include new 19” black painted alloy wheels, black painted upper front grille, Intelligent Clearance Sonar, and light grey stitching on the instrument panel and front seats. Available exclusively in Attitude Black paintwork, the new Sport Black Edition brings a distinctive sporty look to Toyota’s fifth-generation RAV4, and is available in front-wheel-drive (FWD) guise only. However, for buyers looking for the added security of an all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrain in their new RAV4, there is the option of AWD in Sol, Sport and Platinum variants, while the entry-level Luna model is FWD only.
Like every variant in the RAV4 range, the Sport Black Edition is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which produces 218bhp and 221Nm of torque and enables the five-seat family SUV to sprint from 0-100km/h in just over 8 seconds. Standard across the entire RAV4 range is a suite of safety features which offer maximum protection for all occupants, while providing the RAV4 driver with the latest technology in driver assistance systems. Collectively called Toyota Safety Sense 2 (TSS2), features include Pre-Collision Assistance (Forward Collision Warning, Pre-Crash Brake Assist, and Autonomous Emergency Braking), Speed Assistance (Road Sign Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control), Lane Keeping (Lane Departure Alert, LDA with Steering Assist, and Lane Tracing Assist) and Automatic High Beam Assist.
Gracious Exterior, Spacious Interior.
The exterior design of the new RAV4 is more appealing and less anonymous that its predecessor, and this is gained by way of boxy wheel arches, a squared-off nose with a large grille, and angular edges and creases in the bodywork. I feel that Toyota has done a great job of making the new RAV4 look and feel more ‘premium’ than ever, while also offering more interior space than any of its predecessors. Cabin quality is exceptional, with sturdy and durable materials used throughout, while overall passenger space is generous in every respect. This has been made possible by placing the front and rear axles 30mm further apart than before, and even tall adults will be able to sit in the rear seats comfortably, with plenty of legroom and headroom on offer. The RAV4’s battery is located under the floor, but its boxy dimensions help to hide it well, with a slightly higher boot floor the only clue to what lies beneath. Compared to its predecessor, the RAV4’s boot capacity has grown to 580-litres (an increase of 79-litres), with a massive 1,690-litres available when the rear seats are folded down. The RAV4 was awarded a full five stars by Euro NCAP in 2019 and that was thanks in part to an upgrade to the second-generation of Toyota Safety Sense for the latest model.
My test car was a RAV4 Sport Black Edition which drew lots of admiring glances due to its terrific road presence and distinctive design details. An impressive array of standard equipment includes TEX leather black upholstery with heated front seats, powered driver seat, auto-dimming interior mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, auto lights and wipers, LED front light guide with daytime running lights, LED projector headlights, electrically operated boot door, 8” Toyota Touch™ multimedia system, dual zone climate control, rear privacy glass, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, black headliner cloth, paddle shift, light blue ambient lighting, and illuminated entry along with many more comfort, convenience, safety and infotainment features. As is the case across all models in the RAV4 line-up, fuel consumption as low as 5.7l/100km is achievable on a WLTP combined driving cycle, while Co2 emissions of between 129 and 133g/km (FWD and AWD respectively) ensures low annual road tax in addition to low overall running costs. Toyota’s advanced hybrid technology ensures that the RAV4’s petrol engine and electric motor combine seamlessly to deliver extra performance and outstanding fuel efficiency, while remaining ultra-smooth and extremely quiet when driving in electric mode. Toyota claim that up to 50% of the time you drive a Toyota Hybrid, you are in electric mode, with the added advantage that you never have to plug the car in to charge the battery. Toyota’s self-charging hybrid harvests the energy normally lost from deceleration and braking into a small battery. This unit doesn’t have enough capacity to propel the RAV4 alone for any considerable distance, but it does offer the convenience of being able to charge itself without any input from the driver. The RAV4 sits on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, which is also used in the Toyota Prius, C-HR and Corolla models. It brings big benefits in ride and handling, with more sophisticated suspension than the old model, so the RAV4 is capable of turning into corners with a surprising amount of poise and precision, with plenty of grip while resisting dramatic levels of body lean. The RAV4’s CVT (automatic) transmission is smooth and slick in its operation, while a well-insulated cabin ensures that on-road refinement is top class. When travelling through towns and cities at low speed, the RAV4’s electric motor is barely audible, with the engine shutting off entirely when stationary in traffic. At motorway cruising speeds, the RAV4 settles into a quiet hum, with only small amounts of tyre and wind noise getting through to the cabin.
Verdict, Cost and Warranty.
With its unique and distinctive modern styling, faultless build quality, impressive tally of standard equipment and frugal petrol/electric hybrid technology, the new RAV4 has all the necessary ingredients to comfortably fulfil the needs of a growing family. While the new RAV4 Sport Black Edition represents great value at €44,700 the RAV4 range starts at just €39,120. The new Toyota RAV4 is backed by a 3-year/100,000km warranty, along with a 5-year/100,000km warranty on hybrid components. Additionally, a hybrid battery warranty of up to an incredible 15-years is available upon completing an annual hybrid health check through Toyota’s nationwide dealer network.