Atomic Rush

by Petrol Mum
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid GXL 2WD at sunrise

You’re looking at the most popular SUV sold in Australia in 2023 that I just happened to photograph late last year with this stunning sunrise. The Toyota RAV4 was in fact the fourth bestselling vehicle for 2023 in Australia, coming in behind three utes one of which was the Toyota HiLux.

The medium SUV segment is the most popular in Australia with more than 60 models fighting for a piece of the action. Within the <$60k category there are 23 other competitors up against the RAV4, which makes this result even more impressive. To add to that Toyota have also been struggling with delivery times and the RAV4 has been one of the worst affected.  Wait times for both petrol and hybrid versions blew out to around 12 months in 2023, however Toyota expect this should drop to six months by mid-2024.

This particular RAV4 variant is the GXL 2WD Hybrid with optional Atomic Rush metallic paint ($675) and comes standard with 18″ alloy wheels and privacy glass. It’s powered by a 2.5 litre Toyota Hybrid engine with 160kW of power and 221Nm of torque and a CVT. I found that the ride in the RAV4 was acceptable and that the CVT was not as intrusive and bothersome as CVTs in other vehicles I have driven.

The drive modes available are Eco, Normal, and Sport and I spent my time in Normal mode and enjoyed watching the hybrid energy flow displayed on the infotainment screen. Being it’s a hybrid the RAV4 is frugal on fuel consumption with a claimed combined fuel economy of 4.7L/100km of 91RON petrol. Unlike plug-in hybrid claimed fuel figures, you will actually get nearer to the RAV4’s fuel figure, as I did using 5.7L/100km for my time with the RAV4.

The GXL has smart keyless entry and smart start, so there is no need to take the key out of your handbag to access the vehicle. The interior has a lot of hard plastics and the GXL only comes with premium fabric seats, but for a bit of luxury in the GXL RAV4 you do get nice thick carpet mats.

Both front seats only have manual adjustment for recline and forward/back and the driver’s seat also gets manual seat height adjustment. Behind the leather steering wheel, the drivers dash is a combination of a digital and analogue screens. One annoying thing about this was that I could not find a digital speed readout among the menu selection. The GXL does not have inbuilt sat nav, it’s a Cloud Navigation service linked to Toyota Connected Services. The RAV4 comes with one year’s complimentary access to Connected Services and after that the price is currently $12.50 per month.

Dual zone air conditioning is standard in the GXL and it has a newer style 8″ colour touchscreen display with voice control. The feature is activated by pressing the voice control button on the steering wheel that has a masculine-looking silhouette on it. The voice control has a smooth animation and voice and worked well for making a phone call and changing the radio station. I was not able to test the sat nav destination input as my RAV4 was not logged in to the Connected Services.

All RAV4 models come with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto with other media sources available being AM/FM radio, DAB+, Bluetooth, USB and Miracast. The wireless phone charger is located in the cubby at the front of the centre console. There is also one USB-A port and one 12V socket here and another two USB-C ports located under the arm rest. In front of the arm rest there are two deep cup holders with grippy sides, but I think one of these needs to be higher than the other to accommodate smaller cups. You also get good size drink bottle storage cubbies in the front doors.  

The rear seats have manual recline adjustment and there was heaps of head and leg room for me. The RAV4 has two ISOFix/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to width of rear seat. The centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest and has two rigid cup holders in it, with good sized drink bottle storage cubbies in the rear doors as well.

Rear passengers get two central air vents with individual direction control and one central on/off switch. Below the air vents are two USB-C ports and I love that the RAV4 has one mat that covers the entire rear floor including the transmission tunnel to protect the carpet underneath it from wear and for easy cleaning.

Even though the RAV4 GXL has a power assisted tailgate it is still heavy to lift up and it has manual close only. The boot space has four substantial tie down points, one light, and one 12V socket and under the boot floor there is a temporary use spare tyre. The boot can easily fit the weekly shop or a pram and a smaller shop and if more space is required the rear seats have a 40:60 split fold mechanism with a manual release of the outer rear seat shoulders.

All RAV4 variants have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2019) with an Adult Protection Rating of 35.7 out of 38 (93%) and a Child Occupant Protection rating of 43.9 out of 49 (89%). Passive safety on all models includes seven airbags featuring front, front side, full length curtain airbags and driver’s knee airbag.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid GXL 2WD rear view camera

Toyota Safety Sense comes standard on all RAV4 models and includes Active Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Safety system with Pedestrian (night and day) and Cyclist detection (day only), Lane Departure Alert, Lane Trace Assist, and Road Sign Assist. Other standard safety features include Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and front and rear parking sensors that are combined with a standard reversing camera with moving guidelines on the GXL variant. For convenience you also get auto wipers, auto lights and auto high beam.  

ANCAP testing of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system showed GOOD performance in highway speed scenarios with collisions avoided or mitigated in most tests. ANCAP tests of the Lane Support System functionality showed some GOOD performance, however the system does not intervene in more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios and overall performance was classified as ADEQUATE. The overall ANCAP Safety Assist score is 83%.

All new Toyota vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this can be extended for up to seven years with unlimited kilometres on Engine and Driveline if your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained as per the vehicle’s Warranty and Service book. For hybrid vehicle batteries the standard five-year warranty can be increased to up to ten years with unlimited kilometres, subject to annual Hybrid Health Check. The service interval for the RAV4 hybrid is 12 months or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first and the first five services are capped at $260 each.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid GXL 2WD Atomic Rush

Popularity can be a curse, so if you want to get your hands on the perennial best selling SUV in Australia, you may have to wait a bit. This Atomic Rush Toyota RAV4 GXL 2.5L Hybrid CVT 2WD is priced from $45,810 plus on-road costs and as tested with premium paint this RAV4 is $46,485 plus on-roads. You can price your RAV4 online or visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information on delivery times.

I almost matched the claimed fuel use figureCloud navigation
The standard safety features available across the RAV4 rangeNo digital speed readout on the driver’s dash
The thick carpet mats and the mat over transmission tunnelThe heavy tailgate

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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