Review: Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013)

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Bigger and now 5-door only. More luxurious but not as practical as previous RAV-4. Car-like road manners. Petrol and diesel automatics. Facelifted 2010.

On most models, the tailgate doesn't open wide enough unless you fit a different checkstrap. Tailgate spare wheel abandoned in favour of tyre repair kit. Starting to feel dated.

Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013): At A Glance

Stepping out of a Yaris and into a RAV4 is bound to give the wrong impression. I always remembered the old RAV4 as the sportiest of all the SUVs. Yet this big new RAV4 D-4D 180 felt more like a Shogun.

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What does a Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013) cost?

List Price from £30,950
Buy new from £27,106
Contract hire from £256.87 per month

Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4315–4395 mm
Width 1815–1855 mm
Height 1685–1720 mm
Wheelbase 2560 mm

Full specifications

For the extra £1,200 you pay for the T180 you may be surprised to find you don't get a spare wheel. Instead you're supplied with bigger wheels with runflat tyres and a tyre pressure monitoring system, which is excellent as a get-you-home-without-stopping measure, but not so good if you are stuck in the middle of a desert. Unfortunately a standard rear door with door mounted spare is not yet even on the factory-fitted option list.

And the car seems to have lost its foldaway seats in favour of a higher, modular rear load deck with space underneath. In the old RAV4 the rear seats double-folded, leaving a clear, unobstructed floor ideal for Fido and his mates. In the new one it's higher and it isn't flat.

Child seats that fit a Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013) like to drive?

That misconception didn't last. It has the same brilliant 177PS 2.2 litre diesel engine as the Avensis. Though sitting a foot or so higher, it obviously feels completely different.

The six-speed gearshift is longer, but snickily precise. Third gear is just as useful. Yet the engine has a completely different set of sound effects. It feels extraordinarily free-revving, like some diesels can after they've done 300,000 miles. And the exhaust has a melodious, echoing bellow as if the tailpipe is 4" in diameter (it isn't).

Like the Avensis, this RAV4 can motor. After taking the usual pictures, I found an Audi A6 3.2 on my tail and, much to the driver's surprise, easily out-accelerated it to over 100mph. Diesel 4x4s just aren't supposed to do that sort of thing. Of course, this was only once, in the interests of science. The rest of my tenure was fairly strictly speed-limited and often in cruise control. And at the end I was very pleasantly surprised by an overall consumption of just 7.58 litres per 100km (37.25mpg in olde English).

Sadly there is no cute short wheelbase version, which seems extraordinarily remiss. That niche of the niche seems to have been grabbed by the new 3-dr Suzuki Vitara, which looks remarkably similar to the old RAV4 SWB.

The big wheels still ride those accursed speed cushions well enough, though, as Toyota has not made the mistake of fitting them with low profile tyres. And the seats are extremely comfortable.

The new RAV4 has charm, character, performance and economy. Apparently it also has Honda worried and the arch-rival is reported to be rushing a new, bigger CR-V into production to compete at the higher level set by the RAV4.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 VVT-i 33–37 mpg 10.6–11.0 s 177–202 g/km
2.2 D-4D 43–47 mpg 10.2–10.5 s 159–173 g/km
2.2 D-4D 2WD 47 mpg 10.0 s 156 g/km
2.2 D-4D Automatic 40 mpg 10.8 s 186 g/km
2.2 D-4D SR150 39 mpg 10.8 s 189 g/km
2.2 D-4D T180 40 mpg 9.3 s 185 g/km

Real MPG average for a Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–53 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Toyota RAV4 (2006 – 2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What is the minimum 'trade descriptions act' warranty when buying a used car?

I'm buying a Toyota RAV4 for £4500. What is the minimum 'trade descriptions act' warranty?
There is no "minimum warranty". But the dealer remains liable for any significant fault that could have been present or developing on date of sale for six months from date of sale. To absolve himself, he has to prove it wasn't, which is virtually impossible. After six months he still remains liable if you can prove the fault was present or developing on date of sale.
Answered by Honest John
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 17%
  • 4 star 50%
  • 3 star 17%
  • 2 star
  • 1 star 17%

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