Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


RAV4 in sunny Charleville

It's time for another vehicle review. I also haven't blogged on the road for a while, and need to revisit the process so I don't get rusty.

Politics is more than usually bizarre, what with "captains picks" and other childish stuff, so I'll leave it alone for a bit.

The vehicle is a Toyota RAV4 diesel, in which I will cover 3000kms this week, mostly on outback roads.
This means many hours of cruising at 100/110km/hr, something it does pretty well.

It is also wieldy, and feels very much like a Camry, which is hardly a surprise, given that it's built on the Camry platform. Spending the best part of a week in a car means to get to appreciate its strengths and weaknesses pretty quickly.

Its strengths can be listed as economy (averaging 6.9 litres of distillate for every 100kms covered), ease of operation, especially the audio, and interior space. I usually don't bother pairing my iPhone with the Bluetooth in the fleet cars as it takes too much stuffing around, and requires a read of the handbook. This was unnecessary in the RAV, as the process is intuitive and took about a minute. It is roomy inside - especially in the rear.

The audio has a simple touch screen to set it up, which becomes a reversing camera when you go backwards - a useful gadget for us old geysers who find craning our necks to reverse difficult.

Its weaknesses include noise, lumpy seats and bare bones trim. It has about as much interior ambiance as a Kelvinator. The fitout is basic, but I guess this is the fleet version - what was called, back in the day, the "poverty pack".

It reminds me very much of a Hyundai Santa Fe diesel in the way it feels on the road, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can't fault the fit and finish, and it seems as tough as old boots. I would expect that it will last a very long time, and thrive on neglect. Having said that, Toyota petrol motors last well so long as regular oil changes aren't neglected.

I assume the diesels are the same.

In summary, it is a Toyota, even down to the trademark smell, and it is likely to be reliable. But it is a work tool, and not the sort of beast you look forward to driving.

3000kms will probably be enough.

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