I have been intrigued by the Toyota Rav4 for a while, so many people ask me to review it and I had never driven one so I was eager to see how it is as a BabyDrive. The Rav4s I remember were sporty little fun, jeep-like looking things but they have changed considerably and the practical SUV I tested was far from the character-filled buggy I remembered!
I tested the GX and GXL models, both of which felt very ‘practical' and the GXL had leather seats which is a great feature as they wipe clean, whereas the GX had woven upholstery seats and door panels which are harder to clean.
Originally being a Pom, I LOVE my cup of tea, so I was impressed by the cup holder in the front which would be the right shape for an actual china mug, with handle! I'd find this useful for mornings when you rush out the door and haven't had a second to drink your tea or coffee!!
There is also a shelf in the dashboard which would also be useful for all the random stuff kids pass you while you're driving along, like empty sultana boxes etc!! There's always the worry it would become a collection point for kids' junk!!
Storage throughout the Rav4 was functional, with small door bins in the front and back that hold large refillable water bottles and both the glove box and central console box are also good sizes. But the cup holders in the armrest that folds down from the central seat back are square-shaped, which isn't very practical as cups rattle around in them.
In the boot, there is a storage net which is a great feature for holding balls and lunchboxes etc separately from what's in the rest of the boot but there isn't enough depth in the boot for that above a folded up stroller.
The retractable roller blind does have the clips that connect it to the headrests of the back seat which I am not a fan of and think they'll break easily over time, the rubber floor mat in the boot is a great BabyDrive feature so you can take it out and hose it off!
Storage in the boot of the boot of the Rav4 was good, I could get fifteen shopping bags in the boot when it is empty, which is the same as the Subaru Forester and three more than the Kia Sportage. All sizes of strollers fitted in the boot with good amounts of shopping bags around them and I found it a good useable space.
There are three top tethers in the seat backs that are easily accessible through the boot, and though they are not within plastic guides they are clearly labelled. There are two sets of ISOFix points, in the two outer rear seats, which are within plastic guides and I found them easy to connect to. I was able to instal two child seats in the back of the Rav4 and found there simply wasn't room for a third child seat in the middle.
With rear-facing child seats installed, the legroom was tight for a 180cm passenger in the front and they only have 22cm of knee room.
The media system in the Rav4 does not have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the media screen is quite small. The system is quite old fashioned but easy to navigate. The Sat-Nav is quite easy to use although I couldn't find a way to mute the voice guidance.
The reversing camera screen image is small and not very crisp.
The parking sensors sound could be turned on and off easily by pressing a round button on the steering wheel and this shows up in the display in front of the steering wheel.
I found when I drove the Toyota Rav4 GX lower spec model it had a thin and cheap feeling steering wheel and the drive felt ‘revvy' especially when accelerating. However, the higher spec model the GXL had a thicker steering wheel and a hard but more confident and a lot less ‘revvy' ride.
Overall the Toyota Rav4 was a great BabyDrive, it is functional and has some nice storage features.
The Toyota Rav4 scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2016 and has seven airbags as standard.