LATER versions of the Toyota RAV4 crossover have diluted the original car’s driver-focussed feel.
The first car was a 4x4 that drove like a hot hatch, but the model built between 2006 and 2012 is a little softer and more comfortable.
Most have four wheel drive and a 2.0-litre twin cam petrol engine or a 2.2 diesel.
They are refined and quiet, quick and capable. They are also much better looking than the original RAV.
The diesel engine produces 114 and later 134bhp and the petrol starts with 147 and rises to 155bhp.
There was also a 1.8-litre with 123bhp in the cheapest NV version, which only has two wheel drive, and of course they all have an excellent reliability record.
Handling and road-holding are much better than any 4x4 should be, with great balance, excellent grip and loads of fun.
The controls are light and easy, the steering has good feel, the cabin is light and airy and the high driving position is excellent.
As well as good on-road performance, the RAV can also handle fairly tough off-road work, although there are no low ratio gears.
The seats are excellent, the high driving position perfect, there’s plenty of room for five and levels of equipment are very good throughout the range.
Toyota RAV4 2.2 Diesel
Price: Pay about £8,100 for an ’07 07-reg XT3, or £15,200 for a ’10 10-reg XT-R
Mechanical: 134bhp, 2,231cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Combined mpg: 42
Insurance group: 20
CO2 emissions: 173g/km
Main rival: Honda CR-V
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