First drive: Toyota RAV4 2013 in the UAE

First drive: Toyota RAV4 2013 in the UAE

2013 Toyota RAV4 in the UAE
Toyota is very proud of the fact that the RAV4 started the “crossover” segment back in 1994, before these jacked-up cars were even known as “crossovers”. It took us the better part of a decade to accept these as legitimate options for consumers, considering their too-tall-to-handle and too-low-to-offroad market positioning, but several of these crossovers have actually moved on to become quite competent in their on-road dynamics, with useful all-weather capability to boot. The RAV4 has always been one of the better options in the market, but the older model had a few shortcomings which the new 2013 model addresses rather well.

Launched at an overly-elaborate event that had us being chauffeured to Abu Dhabi first, we laid eyes on the all-new RAV4 at the Yas Marina press conference. Gone is the daft side-opening tailgate, and along with it the door-mounted spare wheel, replaced with a distinctive “stepped” tailgate that opens upwards. We did notice that the boot floor is awkwardly raised to fit the spare tyre underneath, although Toyota does claim that the RAV4 now has class-leading cargo volume with the second row folded down. The dashboard gets a nice padded leatherette strip along the middle, matching the cushy armrests and door inserts, something to offset the ample hard plastics, some of it patterned to look like fake carbon-fibre. All in all, the good-looking RAV4 now has a more premium cabin than the top-dog Honda CR-V.

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From there, we were chauffeured to an executive airport, where we boarded a charter flight to Ras Al Khaimah, eventually transported to the Al Badia Beach Resort where we got boat rides and private villas, hung out overnight and partied. It’s only the next morning that we finally got into the cars for some drive-time.

The new RAV4 is spacious enough inside for most people, with good headroom and legroom all-round. The comfort continues with good suspension tuning that isn’t floaty at all, but still maintains a smooth ride on most surfaces. Even the electric steering is overly light, designed specifically for relaxed city-driving. However, the wind noise can get very noticeable at highway speeds, drowning out whatever mild road noise there might be.

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We didn’t push it too hard, but on whatever corners we took, the RAV4 felt like a smaller car, with minimal body roll and no bouncy rebounds. There is actually some steering feel, but it is overly light, as is the brake-pedal feel. We can’t comment on the engine power because it felt overly slow, obviously because our shared test car was loaded up with me and my portly passenger, our luggage, and the free camping gear each of us received as gifts from Toyota.

Our convoy then took a detour into some mountainous areas of Ras Al Khaimah, along gravel tracks that occasionally popped up a challenge with tall sharp rocks and steep lumpy inclines. The RAV4 did rather well, as long as it’s kept in 50:50 lock mode with the traction control off and the tiptronic slipped into the lower gears. The ground clearance isn’t much, but it’s still a whole lot better than any crossover from, say, Chevrolet. If you’re brave enough, you could theoretically attempt far more offroading.

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The Toyota RAV4 is as complete as a crossover can get in this cluttered segment, although it is still a few steps shy of becoming the best crossover ever. Something as simple as its lack of rear a/c vents could send buyers towards the Honda CR-V, while there is no way it will steal the hearts of those accustomed to the turbo power of a VW Tiguan. And then there is the steep price for the all-wheel-drive model, which makes the Hyundai Santa Fe appear as a comparative bargain. Still, it looks like Toyota has succeeded in what they’d set out to do, and that’s to build a better RAV4.

What do you think?



  1. At first glance it looked like a Sportage !

  2. Looks like a small pathfinder from the front.

  3. The back has similarities with the gmc terrain?

  4. nice to see toyota catching up to KIA…..

    PS what is the price?

    I am guessing AED 100k for base model?

  5. Mash,

    Why dont you try out the Fortuner?

  6. It looks nice but TOOOOOOO much expensive, nobody will buy it (maybe the 4X2 will make good sell) but other than that, many will opt for other cars at this price, the Limited fully loaded version is sold in the US at 108k dhs, this is a ripoff in the daylight

  7. It would have been nice 3 years ago, but now the car design looks oudated.
    Anyway this is a very good car from Toyota;one of the best in its segment and remains with good value for money.

  8. Lots of copy paste from sportage, tucson, escape, duster, asx…

  9. I am very disappointed in this segment that all vehicles are roaming around 170-180 hp! that would b only good if the very missed 3 door rav was still in production. if u want only a vehicle exceeding a bit 200 hp in this segment then u need to go premium for an unreliable Q5 or Evoque and pay 3 times the price for only 30-40 hp more..shame!!

  10. c’mon people this is getting ridiculous, whenever a car comes out, I find the same comments: front similar to.. tail lights copied from.. etc..

    In the end it’s a car, absolutely there will be some similarities with other cars.. every car has something similar to another one!

    I know this Rav4’s taillights are similar to the ones in the Mitsubish ASX, but really it doesn’t mean anything..

    • oh u mean like inspired from instead of copied from :P….whatever the 2013 rav 4 looks promising

    • @cruiser

      no, what I mean is that there are other things in cars that are worth notting apart from similarities 😉

    • Such a hipocrit.

      “” c’mon people this is getting ridiculous, whenever a car comes out, I find the same comments: front similar to.. tail lights copied from.. etc.. “”

      And then he says…

      “” I know this Rav4′s taillights are similar to the ones in the Mitsubish ASX, but really it doesn’t mean anything.. “”

    • @MP

      No, my point is that I’m not saying you guys are wrong, but I find these comments to be needless..

  11. In Spore, this will cost AED650,000. So, Dubai pricing is decent. Stop whining. 🙂

  12. In Singapore, this car is more luxurious and has more options than Mercedes Benz S-class full option.

    Start whining people. The Toyotas here are overpriced cars with no options or features.

  13. Finally a good looking car from Toyota

    Cheers TOYOTA

  14. Good evening gentlemen, I want you to send me a price list of toyota rav 4 2013. And also send your address so I can contact you.

    Teodoro Poulson.

    • the prise for toyota Rav4 2013 in UAE is 120k. if you can get the full option limited edition Rav4 usa made for 100k. i am interested to buy it.

  15. I have booked this car when it got launched in Doha auto expo..Till now i dind get..they are saying i have 2 wait one more month..3 months w8tng..

  16. very good

  17. Mr. Mashfique Hussain,

    Am planning to buy a car. Which one you could advise me to buy, Toyota Rav4, Hyundai Tucson or Renault Duster as my budget is only 60k to 80k.

    Pls. help.

  18. The Rav4 2wd version comes for AED 79,000. The dealer may not show you that, but if you ask, they’ll give you the details. Only the 4wd starts off at 99k.

  19. which is better to buy.. subaru forester or rav 4.. both are 2014 model… 2nd option..

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