Parting is sweet sorrow: Saying goodbye to our Toyota RAV4 GX long-term tester
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In the blink of an eye it was gone, and we were left with fond memories and a few photos. Casper, our white, 2.5-litre Toyota RAV4 Hybrid GX was handed back to Toyota HQ with the lingering love of, well, as much love as you could give an appliance-white SUV.
Before we get too carried away with sentiment, as far as fit-for-purpose, five-seat SUVs go, we rave about the RAV for good reason. At $42,990 drive away, there’s the full Toyota Safety Sense of gear, and for the four fuel fills in five weeks and near 5000km with Casper, we managed a lifetime fuel use average of 6.2 litres/100km, not far off the combined claim of 4.8 litres /100km.
We can’t complain about its speed, either, because hybrids are no longer slow. We timed the unassuming RAV4’s 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds, which is fairly solid, especially considering the non-Hybrid’s time of 8.9 seconds.
To test the RAV4 long-term concept, as we detailed in part 1, we would sample the reigning AA Driven NZ COTY People’s Choice champion for three months.
To typify a customer’s potential life cycle, this would start out with the “base-hybrid” GX, and then trade up to the top-spec Limited Hybrid, somewhat replicating in three months what would typically happen over three years.
It would also partly settle the question of spec, and identify what could we potentially live without, while saving the $10k difference between the GX and Limited.
Impressively, the answer amounted to simply one thing missing from the Casper the friendly GX: Smart Entry.
Sure, the remote locking/unlocking works fine, but the need to retrieve it from the pocket, thumb a key and then stow it again proved irritating at times, particularly given it starts with a button.
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The admittedly minor hassle of reaching for the keyfob did grate us enough to at least consider a model upgrade to the GXL, which offers Smart Entry and wireless Qi smartphone charging. Though, on that subject, we’d be more than happy to simply plug in a charging cable.
After close to 5000km in five weeks, the love affair continues only in memory of Casper, with the enthusiasm set to transfer to the trade-in into the new Eclectic Blue with black wheels RAV4 Limited Hybrid we pick up next week. It looks sharper and meaner: maybe even a hint of Evil Smurf.