Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV: Test drive

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV: Test drive

The question that has been asked many times since the launch of the latest Toyota RAV4 was announced by UMW Toyota. The current sleek and well-equipped Toyota Harrier arrived in Malaysia in April 2021.

Priced at RM250,000 it was equipped with a 2.0L Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine with DOHC and electronically actuated Dual VVT-i.

Toyota RAV4 Premium gearbox

Producing 173 bhp and 203 Nm of torque and paired to a Direct Shift CVT this was a vehicle targeted at the BMW X1 sDrive20i which retails at RM230,410 and the Mercedes GLA 250 AMG line which carries a price tag of RM285,000.

Also Read: 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLA gets new features, price starts at RM 241k

Toyota RAV4

Buyers for the above German-made SUVs rarely look at a Japanese rival (in Malaysia only) but with the handsome looks of this new Harrier, many were moved to take a test drive and ended up taking ownership of this well equipped and solid built fully imported luxury SUV.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV boot space

So, if some consumers can be ‘moved’ towards a Toyota Harrier, why can’t they also be moved to a Toyota RAV4?

Malaysia-spec RAV4

To start, the stylish and well-equipped Toyota RAV4 arrived with a price tag of RM196,436 for the 2.0L and RM215,665 for the high specification 2.5L. Yes, it is priced above all its segment rivals and many Malaysians are not happy about this.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV rear vents

Fact, the Harrier is fully imported from Japan and there is NO local assembly for Malaysia at the moment. There is also no assembly in the ASEAN region for UMW Toyota to import this SUV at a lower-taxed price. So, for now, the RAV4 remains a high-priced fully imported SUV like its popular sibling the Toyota Harrier.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV speakers

Powered by Toyota’s latest 2.0-litre M20A-FKS naturally aspirated 4-cylinder DOHC engine making 173 PS and 207 Nm of torque, and the A25A-FKS naturally aspirated 4-cylinder DOHC engine kicking out 204 bhp and 243 Nm of torque this is right now the most expensive SUV in its segment.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV features


Now to better understand the pricing reason for this new RAV4, let's look at its immediate rivals. The Mazda CX-5 Turbo which was launched in September 2019 sells for RM181,770 and the Subaru Forester EyeSight sells for RM169,788. Both the Mazda and Subaru have similar engine performance and safety features but they are both assembled in the ASEAN region which reduces their government import taxes by quite a bit.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV instrument panel

The Toyota RAV4 unfortunately is fully imported from Japan and enjoys ZERO import tax benefits and this is why its selling price is almost RM32,000 more and counting.


Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV steering

Ignite the 2.5-liter and it is quiet, whisper-quiet. The cabin is very well insulated and built to a high standard, almost Lexus standard. Accelerate slowly and the RAV4 just glides along, hammer the accelerator and the ‘Dynamic Force’ engine returns buttery smooth progress. The 8-speed gearbox is a smooth operator. With good gear ratios, this gearbox makes the ride energetic and the average fuel consumption meager.

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV specs

Front passengers will be comfortable with electric seats that are well-bolstered and soft and the rear passengers will have enough legroom and shoulder room, even if there are three adults in the rear.

Final Word

Toyota RAV4 Premium SUV design

It looks great, drives brilliantly, and comes with all the necessary bells and whistles that are needed for today’s fast-paced executive. Women drivers will be drawn to its easy to live with cabin and drive dynamics and if you need a responsive entertaining SUV, this RAV4 will not disappoint you. Test drive it before dismissing it completely.

Toyota RAV4 2.5L Specification

Engine: 4-cylinder 16-valve, VVT-i

Capacity: 2487cc

Transmission: 8-Speed Shiftmatic, AWD

Max Power: 204hp @ 6600rpm

Max Torque: 243Nm @ 4000-5000rpm

0-100km/h: 8.1secs

Top Speed: 210km/h

Price: From RM215,664.00

Also Read: Latest Mercedes GLA Crossover: Test drive review

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