RAV4 MANS UP

Herald Sun - Motoring - - MOTORING -

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.

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