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Toyota RAV4 collection, the “fun cruiser”


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... presumably to differentiate it from their Land Cruiser which is a very different vehicle.

I was looking for a Volvo V70 diesel but with a manual box for 50mpg thrills.  Turns out that people tend to hang onto them until they’re utterly fucked because finding one in half decent condition is almost impossible.

Instead, because reliable motoring is quite addictive, I bought a 2006 Toyota RAV4 diesel.  It should just nudge 50mpg on my usual motorway commute, probably helped by the 6 speed box and the fact that 60mph is 1750 rpm 😳

This is the third generation, only available as a 5 door and it’s fucking massive inside.  The boot looks like it could hide a washing machine without folding the seats down and even at 6’1” tall I’ve got stacks of headroom.

The spec of these things is complicated but this is the 134bhp diesel 4x4.  They did petrol versions, a 180bhp diesel and a 2WD too.  This has 4WD on demand and you can lock it in 4WD with a button on the dash, it works up to 25mph.

This one is definitely the base model though.  There are reminders everywhere that you didn’t get the Ghia version but the Popular Plus.

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No front fog lights.

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None of these.

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Nor these.

Earlier RAV4s were supposed to be sharp handling things (this must have been relative) because this is definitely adequate and not much more.  The high driving position means you get a cracking view of the road ahead and you can certainly zoom down the B roads faster than most traffic but it’s obviously no sports car.

The engine is very responsive which helps and when things get slow you’ve got a turning circle that encourages laps of a mini roundabout 😀

The stereo is pretty good, the seats are comfortable (cloth in this poverty-spec version) and the rear seats slide and recline like in a CRV.  I’ll let you know how I get on

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Either the trip computer is wildly optimistic or the ludicrously high gearing is effective.

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Driving to work on the B roads this morning I thought it was a bit sluggish to pick up, it wasn’t boosting.  A look down at the revcounter and we’re doing 1200rpm 🤪

I ordered an aux input for the stereo so I can stream podcasts from my phone and I’ll be interested to see what the real fuel economy is when I brim the tank again.

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Time to fit the Bluetooth module.  This was a real war on my Spaceship Civic where you basically start by removing the trim panel under the dashboard, then start removing the centre console and the dashboard top and eventually the vectors combine near the radio which you can remove.

I had a look at a YouTube video for this and it was only a minute long.  This seemed good as basically most YouTubers can talk for 3 minutes about just changing the wiper blades.

Step 1, using a set of those plastic trim removal tools, pop off the side panels

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This shows 4 bolts that hold in the radio on its frame. Remove the bolts, putting a blob of Bluetack on the socket because the lower ones are a bit buried and I don’t fancy dropping it inside the dashboard.

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Pull the radio out and locate the CD changer port on the back.  Plug in the module and only then give some thought to where the 3.5mm jack will come out and you can locate the Bluetooth unit.

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Down by the cigarette lighter seems good as it needs a USB 5V supply.  Pop out one of the (many) blanking plugs and then basically play the funfair game of Hook A Duck through the back of the dashboard as you dangle the wire down and try to grab it.  Using side cutters, snip a slot for the wire to come through the blanking plug.

Then, as we all know, reassembly is a reversal of removal.

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It’s well hidden down there, has a short connection to the 12V socket where my phone charger is and it works - result!

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On 4/27/2021 at 11:12 PM, garethj said:

Earlier RAV4s were supposed to be sharp handling things (this must have been relative) because this is definitely adequate and not much more.

I think they are relative to other 4x4/SUV cars. I know mine handles that bit better than the CR-V I had a few years ago. But half a tonne of weight does make a difference.

Your one is looking smart though!

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That’s true, it’s a bit sharper than the CRV we have.  I did a few trips to Milton Keynes this weekend in the RAV4 and as I’m trundling towards yet another roundabout in the left lane, a BMW 3 series came hammering down behind me doing at least 90 in the right lane.

He’s going much faster so we actually arrive at the roundabout at the same time.  Years of riding fast motorbikes but never getting a speeding ticket have taught me the benefits of smooth driving that looks slow, so I took the roundabout pretty fast and came out about 2 car lengths ahead of the Beemer.

Obviously on the straight he nailed it and went shooting past me as I changed up at 2000 revs but - if the question is how well does it handle, the answer is better than people who can’t drive very well 😀

I also filled the tank and according to my app got 45mpg.  That’s a mix of my careful motorway cruising through the roadworks to the office, a few trips through the roundabouts of Milton Keynes and a trip to Surrey and back with my son driving.

Pretty good I think

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You're 100% right about the V70s. Especially the D5s. Most of them for sale have the chocolate box automatic.  I couldn't find a good one when looking and didn't want to play gearbox roulette with the auto. 

Those RAV4s are certainly looking to be good value these days and the D4D is a good unit.  Maybe a bit of remapping action for a few horsies? 

Nice work with the Bluetooth. Can't manage without it in cars nowdays. 

Would a little green Laning be of interest? perhaps we could have the AS green lane botherers when lockdown is lifted. Pottering about "off road" (yes I know they're roads) is always fun. 

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8 minutes ago, Spurious said:

Those RAV4s are certainly looking to be good value these days and the D4D is a good unit.  Maybe a bit of remapping action for a few horsies? 

My mind still boggles at the whole remap thing.  When I think back to my youth and the faff of polishing ports, changing expensive carburettors and whatnot, all to get about 5 horsepower more.  Now for £300 this can go from 134bhp to 180bhp, or for £150 it can go to 160bhp.  Madness.

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4 minutes ago, garethj said:

My mind still boggles at the whole remap thing.  When I think back to my youth and the faff of polishing ports, changing expensive carburettors and whatnot, all to get about 5 horsepower more.  Now for £300 this can go from 134bhp to 180bhp, or for £150 it can go to 160bhp.  Madness.

forced induction yo

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I wonder if this is a similar engine to what I had in my 2010 Avensis, from memory that was a 2.0 of about that power output. Not much on paper but seemed like a faithful plodder with plenty of torque, I much preferred it to the 1.8 petrol Avensis that I replaced it with (briefly). I recall that was getting me high 40s to low 50s MPG.

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10 hours ago, Spurious said:

Would a little green Laning be of interest? perhaps we could have the AS green lane botherers when lockdown is lifted. Pottering about "off road" (yes I know they're roads) is always fun. 

That sounds like a plan

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  • 2 weeks later...

2 more refills of fuel, 49mpg and 47mpg which is pretty good.  I think to beat 50mpg I’d need to have a week where I’m not going through Milton Keynes which is a repetition of slow down and accelerate for miles and miles.

There seems to be a small oil leak which I’ll have a look at when it stops raining, I’ve also ordered a new tailgate check strap because the UK spec one doesn’t let the door open 90 degrees.  The lighting rules say that tail lights have to be visible when the door is open and the spare wheel on the door blocks the offside light.  They got around this by only letting the rear door open 80 degrees but one from the US should fix this

Once you get the hang of the initial body lean, handling is pretty good 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fuel economy seems to be 46-48mpg which I’m pretty happy with as there’s always some reason to drive through a city somehow.

Time to address one of the issues with this car - how wide the rear door opens.   Due to lighting regulations, the rear door opens to about 70 degrees so you can still see the tail lights with the door open.  Fitting wide things in the boot is hard.

Fortunately the US spec cars had a check strap that allows the door to open wider.

Firat step, get the trim off.  It just pulls off with clips.

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This is the problem; the door only opens this wide

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10mm socket, 2 nuts and a bolt and the old check strap is off.  Replacement, as they say is the reversal of removal.  This is how it looks now

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Trim back on which took less than a minute 

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