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Toyota RAV4 NRG

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    2 Reviews
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      20.05.2005 23:28
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      The review by fish25 is a very good review. I just wanted to add a few pointers.

      Accomodation

      The 3 door NRG (newer vehicles have their trim levels marked by T2, T3, etc) is very short. (roughly the same length as a Ford KA and with the rear seats up there is only really enough room for a couple of briefcases. What makes it useful is the way the seats fold flat and then up, MPV-style to allow me to carry a wheelchair and three people very easily. The rear seats can be removed completely if necessary.

      The rear door does not open fully because of EU legislation. This relates to the visibility of rear vehicle lights when the doors are open. In non-EU countries the door opens wider.

      Driving

      The NRG 3 door models are designated the “sport” option and run wider tyres than the five door (235mm vs 215mm) Note that the NV vehicle is only 2wd, with a 1.8 Litre engine and smaller tyres. When the range was revamped a couple of years ago this model was dropped.

      Body roll has been limited and this car will come as a pleasant suprise to drivers of many more traditional 4x4 vehicles. Some of the press call it the GTI of the 4x4s, but think “well sorted saloon car” and you won't go wrong. If you roll this you shouldn't be on the roads at all! Brakes are good, but the steering provides no real feedback. At sensible speeds the handling is quite neutral, with little understeer.

      Comfort is acceptable, and the noise levels are low, apart from the tire roar, the seats have plenty of adjustment so you should find a suitable driving position. The instruments are clear and attractive, although for me the steering wheel obscures either the top instrumentation lights or the bottom depending on how I have the steering colum adjusted.

      Performance is generally smart, top speed is blunted by the large front area, but is largely academic anyway. 0-60 about 10 seconds manual , 11 seconds Automatic.

      Reliability - No Problems

      Costs

      I have the petrol 148bhp automatic and average 29mpg. This is good for something with such a large frontal area, 4wd and automatic transmission. The transmission has an overdrive feature so the more miles you do on the motorway the better it gets. Main dealer servicing is only slightly more than for a standard 2 litre saloon. You will get through tyres quicker than a saloon. Insurance is group 10.

      Like fish25 I could have had a van, but I wanted peformance, sat-nav (cost option) and an automatic. It has been a good choice.

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      16.02.2002 01:01
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      Having owned a succession of GTi-type cars over the years, I decided I wanted something a bit more practical and tough. Hatchbacks are all very well but I carry, at various times, a mountain bike, fishing gear, golf clubs, sailing gear and rubbish to the tip. I also wanted something that could get down farm tracks to fishing lakes/sailing beaches without getting stuck in springtime mud. Add to that, I wanted something that was better built than the tinny French GTIs I've owned, that would be reliable and wouldn't cost a fortune to insure (that ruled out the Subaru Impreza estate!). But it still had to have a fair bit of 'go' so I wouldn't be too disappointed after the GTIs. I've now owned an NRG for five months, and it's fulfilled expectations. This is the three-door RAV with a slightly better spec than the cheaper NV (and a nicer paint job). What attracted me to this particular model is that it's still quite small (almost exactly the dimensions of the current Golf, though much taller of course) but, because you can take the back seats out altogether, I can turn it into a van. Not having kids, the back seats are now confined to the loft. The build quality of the RAV is impressive, the interior light and airy with well-designed controls and plenty of storage space. It handles surprisingly well for a 4x4. Obviously you can't sling it round roundabouts like a GTI, but it doesn't roll much and has excellent roadholding. The steering is fairly light but not so that you lose all feel. Performance is good without being sparkling and, unlike some 16v cars, you don't really need to rev the guts out of it to move quickly. Overtaking is easy as long as you don't play daredevil - it takes a second or two to get the momentum going. The ride quality is very good but does get a bit crashy over rough ground because the suspension is set up for
      'sporty' road use. The driving position is one of the best I've encountered, and it really is easy to drive with well-weighted clutch and brakes. Obviously having lived with it I have a few niggles. The seats are very comfy but don't offer much lateral support and you slide a bit going round bends quickly. The car has a (pretty good) CD player but the little bin-with-a-lid between the front seats is, annoyingly, just too narrow to act as a CD storage bin. Alternatively, a CD storage rack in front of the gear lever would have been preferable to the McDonald's cup holders. A little thing, I know, but the roof-mounted aerial doesn't fold down so when I put the car in the garage I have to hang it little weight on it so it doesn't catch the raised garage door. The rear door doesn't open very wide but it's only a problem if you're trying to load a fridge or similar. It's also a bit noisier than I would have expected. Oh, and because I'm not very tall I can't reach to wash the middle of the roof! At £16,770 including metallic paint it isn't especially good value but it is well made and should last as long as you want it to. You won't get much of a discount because they have been in short supply. Watch out for the colours - the dark green and blue are very dark, the lighter blue is horrid. The best colours to me are the red and the gold with 'two tone' grey bumpers etc. OK, it's a hairdresser's car (according to all my friends) but it does exactly what I want it to do - a lively, well-made, good-looking, sporty VAN.

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