Much to the delight of most Australian mums, dads and grandparents, school recently went back for 2018 after a long and hot six-week break.
In our home it was the usual routine – new shoes, getting all the supplies, checking the back to school date and then restarting the routine for another busy school year.
I had the keys to the 2018 Toyota RAV4 GXL for the first week back, you can check out the full review of the vehicle here, and it got me thinking about what makes a great car for families.
Perhaps planting that thought in my mind was a couple of attributes about this particular vehicle.
For example, the rear cargo net.
Allowing you to pop the school bags up off the cargo area floor, the net also stops the bags from sliding around, and tipping over, spreading half eaten bananas, pens, pencils and all the other ‘essentials’ that gets stuffed into the school bag.
It’s a good idea, not just for the above reasons, but also for the fact that you’re using an area of an SUV that you rarely utilize (behind upper section of rear seat).
You can also use the cargo net to store sporting equipment, odds and ends, or the groceries for the trip home.
Speaking of space, this size vehicle (classified as a mid-size SUV) is probably perfect for a family with two kids.
There’s good legroom up front for the adults, and then more than enough space in the rear for the kids.
What sets the Toyota product apart from the competition is the ease of use that it offers.
The controls are typical Toyota, simple and well-placed, there’s no unnecessary clutter or any ‘wacky’ design elements that might seem like a great concept, but end up being more trouble than their worth.
Often, SUVs/4x4s can have very poor visibility from the driver’s seat and that not only raises safety concerns when maneuvering in and out of the driveway etc., but it also makes a vehicle a whole lot harder to drive.
When the kids are arguing in the back, and you’ve got a lot on your mind, simple controls and an easy vehicle to drive make a big difference (I speak from years of personal experience!).
There’s a reverse camera as well standard across the range – an absolute must have for cars that transport kids around.
Lastly, another thing to think about when choosing a family car is the ruggedness of the interior.
The Toyota RAV4 has a durable look and feel with easy to clean surfaces such as on the inner door panels, the back of the front seats, inside the cargo area, and the console.