Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

RAV4 Just Gets Better and Better

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

RAV4 Just Gets Better and Better

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stewart Smith

Smore than 1.4 million RAV4s have been produced since it first broke cover in 1994 and it is firmly established as Europe's best-selling SUV. In 2003, UK sales went up by more than 18pc on 2002 figures, an increase that has largely been driven by the success of the two-litre D-4D diesel version which I have just had on test.

And 2003 also marked the introduction of the revised RAV4 which promised higher levels of comfort, safety and performance.

As well as improved specifications across the board, it has re-tuned suspension and steering, a new front grille and light clusters.

But the improvements to the RAV4 go beyond simply making it look more stylish to create a vehicle that has greater market appeal than ever before.

Starting with safety, Toyota's RAV4 breaks new ground as the first compact SUV to be equipped with SRS curtain shield airbags as standard. These have been introduced along with front and side airbags on all versions. Driver and front passenger airbags and WIL ( Whiplash Injury Lessening ( remain standard equipment.

All models are equipped with ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

The front lines have been freshened up with a new bumper section, grille, headlamp units and fog lights and, at the rear, the tail lamp clusters and rigid spare wheel cover are both new, too, while new-design five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels have been introduced for XT3 and XT4 grades.

Inside the cabin some nice touches have been made, including the use of darker trim and new metallic finishes for the restyled dashboard.

Chrome doorhandles and fabric-covered sun visors with courtesy lights have been introduced on all models and on XT3 and XT4 versions audio controls have been added to the steering wheel and the gear shift knob and steering wheel have been trimmed with leather. …

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