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Toyota RAV4 2.0 5 dr XT3

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      06.07.2010 13:04
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
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      Light steering and poor fuel consumption are a let down

      Rav4 is the Toyota brands mid range family 4 x 4 style car. It has had various updates throughout the last few years, with the photo here showing the model that was on sale till around 2006, when the car had a comprehensive facelift.

      Till the 2006 change the Rav4 was much more boxy and angular, but still very similar to the updated model, due to lots of shared styling. The two cars share the fact that the rear spare tyre is placed within a cover on the back of the car and have similar internal seating space, the rear boot door still opens to the side and the high driving position is much the same as ever.

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      Both models did not come with inter active 4 wheel drive, which to me is the very essence of the car being a 4 x 4 model, yet Toyota sneakily did not make the lower end models 4 x 4. The XT3 was the lowest spec entry model until the Rav4s even more recent model upgrade.

      With 2 friends both being Rav4 owners, one with the older 2005 model and one with a much newer 2007 top of the range XT5, I was able to have plenty of try before you buy experiences with these cars. In terms of exterior body design, the 2006 onwards cars are more curvaceous and smooth looking, with less sharp pointy styling traces and a wider more inviting front bonnet.

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      The older model to me seems to be showing its age in terms of style, as the newer cars we are seeing now are more curved and sleek with just a few sharp edges that set them off. Such as the Rav 4's sharp shoulder lines that arc towards the rear of the cars side panels. I feel that this does give the more recent Rav4 XT3 a more modern feel.

      When driving I found the older car to be responsive but not impressive, the interior trims to be smart, a little dated, but not expensive looking and general fuel consumption in the older petrol version I drove was very poor. At around 26 to 28mpg around town and just a little more at 34 out of town, on a 2.0l petrol engine. That really counts the petrol model out for me, as there is no point having a car that looks good on the drive that you can't afford to take for a spin.

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      Not only that but the earlier model has had problems with seals going and a recent cat problem that could set its owner back £1000 or so to replace. These are I guess the sort of age related faults you may encounter, but to have to fork out all that money is a 100% turn off and off putting when thinking about what to buy..

      The more recent 2007 car I drove was a different kettle of fish. XT5 has leather seats, sat nav, full interactive 4 wheel drive and and intelligent key system. Plenty of desirable kit there for sure. In terms of looks all the more recent models including XT3, had the same exterior. With its curvy and bold looks, it drives better than the older car and the interior was much darker and smarter than the older interior. This being a diesel car does a much better 32mpg in an around town and you can get that up to at least 36 on a longer drive, with a 2.2l diesel engine.

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      After my brush with the two cars I set out for the local Toyota dealers to test drive a 2008 Rav4 XT3. I took the car out for a decent drive and found that the steering on the car was very light to the touch. The car was a 2.0l petrol model as that was all they had at the dealership, this would not have been my first choice for a test drive.

      I must admit that to me, that wasn't what I wanted from such a good looking chunky motor. I felt that the Rav4 XT3 ought to have had a more off road, rugged feel to the way it drove and it seemed to me that whilst it was adequate, it was a bit staid and unrefined. It could have been any family car with just a higher seating position.

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      The light steering is a total put off, you don't feel as if you are in something anywhere near with the road presence of the Rav4. This is perhaps not helped by the lack of interactive 4 wheel drive on this entry level model.

      To get the 4 x 4 system, at the time you had to go up to the next level which was the XT4. XT4 had the added luxury of the interactive 4 x 4 system and leather seats. Now even though I hadn't enjoyed the ride all that much on the XT3 I decided that the XT4 might be a better drive.

      However along the way in my journey towards a new vehicle the Rav4 had far too many competitors. There are many other vehicles which to my mind drive better. I didn't get the Rav4 in the end, which at first seemed a surprise to everyone including myself, but with prices high and the feel just not being right, Rav4 was knocked out of the selection process.

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      The Rav4 has been updated over the past 18 months or so and the models have been shifted about a bit, specs have changed and drive style and body have been face lifted. The distinctive rear tyre is a thing of the past and the more recent Rav4s have lost a lot of their styling, which set them apart from many other cars on the road.

      I am certain that the older XT3 Ravs will keep going and holding their residual value as they always have done. But there are so many newer more efficient cars on the road both 4 x 4 cars and the newer more urban cross over varieties that I feel Toyota need a bit of a rethink.

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      Rav4 XT3 is a good car to own, its Euro Ncap rating is decent enough and the car should protect you if needed, but its not a great car and to me that says it all. Servicing and repairs are not cheap and the petrol versions are far too thirsty.

      Second hand prices these days are sky high and even cars going through the auctions will make your eyes water. You can expect to part with the best part of £12,000 to £14,500 for a later model with average mileage, in other words from 2006 to 2008 onwards, for an XT3 or XT4 petrol version and a little more for the diesel. Ouch!

      Couple that with the fact that XT3 is not a real 4 x 4 and you have my verdict. Pricey, thirsty, a 4 x 4 look a like and over taken in style, looks and safety, by many of the urban cross over cars. 3.5 to 4 stars are more than enough for the Rav4 XT3.

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      • More +
        11.07.2006 12:32
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        2 Comments

        Advantages

        • Reliability

        Disadvantages

        A spacious family car that is a pleasure to drive

        Model: RAV4 XT3 5dr petrol
        Year: 2004 (54 plate)

        The buying decision: I needed a four door family car with a good sized boot to cope with baby seats, push chairs and all the other bits and pieces that go with it. I wanted a car that was nice to drive, good value and reliable.

        The choice: Small family hatches like the Focus or Mercedes A Class turned out to be a bit too small, often requiring the rear seats to be folded to accommodate the pushchair which isn't much use. Medium saloons like the Mondeo or Audi A4 have bigger boots but these are not overly accessible. This leaves the 4x4s, MPV's or an estate car. With only one child at the moment the MPV option remains one for the future and estate cars feel a bit too 'professional' for me. This leaves the 4x4s.

        The decision: Looking under £20k the choice came down to a Nissan, Honda or Toyota. The first two were a bit long in the tooth and on test drives didn't match the RAV4 for driving experience or ergonomics. With 3 year old examples on the forecourt up for £16k we bought a new model, after haggling, for £17.5k.

        Ownership:
        The positives: You wouldn't know you were driving such a big, heavy car. Every aspect of driving is excellent, the gear change is smooth, the brakes solid and the steering responsive. Performance is good, it's quick off the mark and surprisingly nippy around town. It's comfortable in traffic and will happily travel at motorway speeds for long periods. As you'd expect visibility is good with nice big mirrors and minimal blind spots. Noise is low, even at high speeds. The service from Toyota has been faultless. All staff I have dealt with have been courteous and helpful, they always phone back and respond swiftly to any demands.

        On the inside the car feels big, there is lots of room between the front seats and plenty of headroom front and back. The boot is a good size, wide enough to easily take a pushchair and high enough to take a lot of luggage etc. without removing the parcel shelf. The rear seats split 50/50 and can be individually slid forward and back approx 4/5 inches. This can make a significant difference to the boot size. However, if you have adults or older children in the back this will not be possible. The rear seats can be folded over, down or removed completely if you need the extra space occasionally. Internal storage is OK but I think more cubby holes could be built in.

        The build quality is fantastic, there is a real sense of solidity about this car with no rattles or poorly fitted trim. The seats are comfortable and the dashboard well laid out. The stereo controls on the steering wheel are nice touch. The car has been back to the garage only once for a faulty door hinge and this was fixed on the same day.
        The height of the vehicle is useful, and not just from a driving point of view. With a child seat in the back a baby/toddler can be lifted into and out of their seat without any bending or crouching and this can make a surprising difference.

        The negatives: Apart from the odd field I have never taken this car off road, nor have I any intention of doing so and I suspect it wouldn't be that brilliant at it. Fuel consumption isn't great, the onboard computer says I'm averaging 34.5 mpg but it doesn't always feel as good as that. It's not that scary but it does seem that I'm filling it up every 300 miles or so. The only other negative is the whole Chelsea Tractor / soft roader image these cars have which makes them just a little bit naff but this is out weighed by it's practicality.

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