RAV4 MANS UP
Tougher looks are coming to soft-roaders to make them appear more macho. The Toyota RAV4 has had its biggest makeover in its 24-year history, with a bold new nose that gives it a trucklike appearance similar to the Tacoma, the US equivalent of the HiLux pick-up.
The fifth-generation model unveiled at the New York show is new from the ground up and will be offered in Australia with hybrid power for the first time.
It will arrive here in the second quarter of 2019. Price and exact details are yet to be confirmed but the vehicle is available globally with a choice of at least three engines: 2.0- and 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and a 2.5-litre petrol matched to a hybrid system.
Based on Toyota’s global underpinnings the new model promises to be wider and more surefooted than the current model, and is equipped with a new multi-link rear suspension set-up.
Despite having a lower and wider body Toyota says the new RAV4 is slightly bigger than before. It will gain some of the same tech and hybrid hardware fitted to the new C-HR city SUV and Camry Hybrid sedan.
Although it is yet to be confirmed, the new SUV is expected to shift to 12 month/15,000km service intervals (as with the recently introduced C-HR and new Camry), up from the six month/10,000km intervals set for the current RAV4 and other older Toyota models. Despite the current RAV4 nearing the end of its model life — and a raft of newer competition — Toyota has posted record sales for its compact softroader for the past five years in a row.
In Australia, almost 300,000 RAV4s have been sold since the first one went on sale locally in 1994.
FORESTER’S FRESH START
The fifth-generation Subaru Forester has been unveiled in New York before its arrival in Australian showrooms in September with prices starting from about $35,000.
Highlights include the availability of forward and reverse automatic emergency braking and fatigue monitoring technology that watches the driver for signs of tiredness.
Likely to be optional or on high-grade models only, a tiny camera is mounted in the cabin facing the driver. It can detect eye and head movement (if your head is turned to look at a phone or kids in the back seat). It also has facial recognition which then links to your seat and mirror settings.
The Forester is new from the tyres up and based on a new global platform shared with the latest Impreza and XV.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine — which Subaru says is 90 per cent new — matched to a CVT auto and permanent all-wheel-drive. For the first time there is no manual and no turbocharged performance XT version. A diesel version is also unlikely.