Ok, so it's never going to win any awards for looks. That said, it's not exactly fugly.
More functional than fancy, the Rav4 is a compact 4x4 that's a bit like Dr Who's Tardis; small on the outside, big on the inside. There's plenty of room to shove a dog, a boogieboard, an esky, a tent, two suitcases and slab of beer, as long as your dog's prepared to balance precariously on the boogieboard (I should know, I've tried).
The handling is so-so. I wouldn't trust it to race round a corner at anything above, say, ohhh, walking pace, but then I wouldn't want to dislodge the dog from his boogie board whilst cornering like Senna reincarnate either.
If they could just maybe ease my eco-guilt a little and improve fuel consumption by, like, a gazillion per cent, I’d be a happy little driver. Sadly the Rav4 loves petrol more than I love a Rose on a hot summer day and so it’s horribly uneconomical to whizz about town in, despite the fact that its bijou size makes it one of the most delightful 4x4s to park known to man.
In all, the Rav4 is a solid option for those needing space for the esky, dog, slab of beer and other everyday essentials; it just might not be first choice for anyone with a desire to save the planet.