Deal breakers: 2020 Toyota RAV4, worth RM 40k more than the Honda CR-V?

Jason/Jun 26, 2020 06:03 PM

Recently, our colleague Zamil had the opportunity to spend some time in the new Toyota RAV4. Toyota’s new kid on the block is here to challenge the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5’s status quo. Powered by Toyota’s new 2.0 and 2.5-litre Dynamic Force engines, and utilising the new TNGA-K platform that also underpins the Corolla Altis and Camry, the RAV4’s recipe is a compelling one.

All that being said, it really is a big ask for Toyota to demand RM 215,700 (after SST reductions) for the 2.5 variant. The range-toppers from the CR-V and CX-5 range cost considerably less, coming in at RM 175,900 and RM 181,660 respectively (also after SST deductions).

We can debate about the flawed tax structure in our country till the cows come home. But, there must be some concerted effort on Honda and Mazda’s part to be able to price their models as such. Some buyers would not mind paying a bit extra to have the RAV4, but for others, upping the budget a bit more and you can bring home a BMW X1 for RM 225,410 (after SST reductions).  

We are not saying the BMW X1 is a superior car to the RAV4 (it’s not), but it does carry more brand gravitas, whether you care to admit or not. Most people (not us) would rather pay RM 200 grand and be seen in a BMW instead of a Toyota.

The RAV4's interior is not befitting of its asking price

On the inside, there is nothing patently wrong with the interior. It’s just that, it does not feel like an interior of a RM 200-grand car. If you’ve sat inside the current Corolla Altis, the RAV4’s cabin layout will feel familiar, and that’s the problem. It just…. lacks a sense of occasion for the asking price. The CX-5 definitely trumps it in this respect.

The RAV4's interior packaging is not as ingenious as the Honda CR-V

There is ample legroom and headroom for all passengers, but we can’t say the same about the storage spaces within the cabin. The cubbyholes on the door cards and centre console are decent, although there is a nagging feeling that the CR-V has the edge when it comes to packaging interiors to maximise space and utility. The saving grace is that the RAV4 has the best-in-class boot space of 580l.

Class-leading boot space at 580 litres

Having said that, to understand the appeal of the RAV4, one needs only to take it for a drive along your favourite stretch of road. Then, you’ll realise where the bulk of the RM 200 grand has gone to; the ride and handling.

The RAV4 sings all the right tunes in terms of driving dynamics and ride comfort. Good for a RM 200-grand car? It’s resoundingly excellent. If you think that the RAV4 drives and rides better than the CX-5 (let alone the CR-V), then you would be absolutely right. The RAV4 is right up there with the best in this department, it’s that good.

Show it a set of bends and the RAV4's chassis comes on song

All said and done, the perfect SUV does not exist. But if we had it our way, the ideal SUV would be a combination of the exterior and interior styling and gearbox from the CX-5, the CR-V’s interior packaging, and the Dynamic Force engine and chassis of the RAV4.