RAV4 takes a new road

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWLING

DIESEL power and an au­to­matic gear­box will kick Toy­ota’s next RAV4 into new fam­ily ter­ri­tory when the SUV hits Aus­tralia in Fe­bru­ary.

Toy­ota is hop­ing the in­clu­sion of a diesel model, a first for RAV4 in Aus­tralia, will re­cap­ture some of the in­ter­est lost to Mazda’s CX-5.

A Toy­ota Aus­tralia spokesper­son says no de­tails of the diesel are be­ing re­leased be­fore the launch, though staff and some deal­ers have driven the car in Aus­tralia.

The new wagon is big­ger but sits on the same plat­form as the cur­rent model.

The Toy­ota in­sider says most artist ren­der­ings of what is be­lieved to be the next RAV4 are ‘‘not even close’’, with the wagon tak­ing on squarer lines ‘‘more like the Prado at the back’’.

It will also lose the rear-door-mounted spare wheel, which moves to be­neath the cargo floor.

Re­or­gan­is­ing the cabin fur­ni­ture will mean more legroom for the rear pas­sen­gers com­pared with the cur­rent model.

The dash­board fol­lows con­tem­po­rary de­sign with a large cen­tral mon­i­tor.

But the big­gest news will be the driv­e­trains. In or­der to lure buy­ers, fuel econ­omy is a ma­jor is­sue.

Aus­tralia will get a sim­i­lar spec to the UK-spec RAV4 for 2013, in­clud­ing an op­tional 2.2-litre D-CAT turbo-diesel at­tached to ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all-wheel drive. The diesel will come in in two out­puts — 110kW 340Nm and 130kW/400Nm — though Aus­tralia is likely to miss out on the more pow­er­ful ver­sion.

The diesel is expected to av­er­age 6.0 l/100km.

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