S 580 LITRES a lot? What might once have been a stretching beer consumption target for David Boon on a long-haul flight takes on a very different meaning when converted to the amount of luggage space in your SUV. Nevertheless, thatís what you can carry in a RAV4†Hybrid before you start folding the rear seats down.

And it is, indeed, a big number. Compare that to the Range Rover Velar I was running, ostensibly a car from a class or two up, and the RAV4†beats the Rangie by 22 litres with the seats in place. Drop the seats and you have 1690 litres to play with.

This is key because it means I can throw a mountain bike into the back of the car without having to remove the front wheel or drop the seat post. I couldnít do that in the Velar, and given that my resolution for 2020 is to get out more often on the treader, I can now keep the trusty Lapierre in the back of the car and hop out for a couple of laps of Lysterfieldís Commonwealth Games MTB course on my way back from work.

Nowís probably the time to make an admission. There are a couple of parcel shelves in the Wheels garage, and identifying which cars they once belonged to is a level of car nerdery beyond my pay scale, but itís unlikely there will be any such issue with the RAV4.

Unfastening the roller blind is a one-handed job and it then stows in its own clip-in housing atop the spacesaver spare below the artificial boot floor. That way you donít have to worry about it taking up residence in the garage nor bouncing around the rear†footwell getting dirty and damaged. Itís exactly this kind of consideration that makes the RAV4ís such an easy everyday proposition.

Itís not perfect, though. There are a few minor gripes. One is how slow the infotainment screen can be to boot up and respond to button presses.

The small screen between the two main dials is also pretty hard to read in direct sunlight, and the adaptive cruise can run away when going downhill. The passenger seat isnít height-adjustable and sits too high.

Also, on hot days it can take a little while for the RAV4 to figure out it needs to run the engine to charge the AC compressor, making the first minute or so a sweaty experience.

These are just quirks that will likely be ironed out by Toyota with the first facelift of the RAV4, and they do little to detract from an excellent family SUV. Iím starting to wonder how Iím going to replace it, and whether its eventual successor will be so small that itíll put the kybosh on the best-laid resolutions.

Until then, Iím pedalling.




Price as tested: $42,934†

This month: 2420km @ 5.3L/100km