Rav­ing about the new Rav4

A lit­tle less fem­i­nine to look at, but no less de­sir­able, is Toy­ota’s new soft-roader. DAVE MOORE takes a look.

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

It was ob­vi­ous that Los An­ge­les would be the venue for the RAV4 re­launch. Any­one who has stud­ied An­ge­leno traf­fic – and that means any one who has been stuck in it – will no­tice that among soft-road­ers, the wee Toy­ota is in the van­guard, with Honda’s CR-V snap­ping at its mud­flaps and oc­ca­sion­ally sprint­ing ahead of it. In fact over time the CR-V has out-sold the Toy­ota, so a re­vamp in light of the well-re­ceived new ver­sion of the Honda, which was launched at the Sta­ples Cen­tre car show last year is well needed.

This is the fourth gen­er­a­tion of the com­pact cross­over, a car which spring­boarded the light SUV trend in 1994.

The new RAV4 features an ex­te­rior de­sign that, from the grille to the ba­sic lines and the chis­elled de­tail­ing, links closely to this year’s new Yaris and Corolla models.

The all-new RAV4 is 4569mm long, an in­crease of 204mm, and 1844 mm wide, up 29mm, while its height, at 1661mm is lower by 24mm. It all sits on a 2659 mm wheel­base, longer by 109mm than the pre­vi­ous car’s.

The in­creased di­men­sions have cre­ated sig­nif­i­cantly more room in­side for pas­sen­gers. The front-torear seat dis­tance is now a best-in­class 970mm. Com­bined with a slim­mer front seat­back de­sign, this in­creases rear leg room. The rear seats have been made more com­fort­able by in­creas­ing the seat squab length and in­creas­ing its sur­face an­gle. Higher side bol­sters have been added, too.

The car’s load­space is longer, in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity to 547 litres, while an ex­tra 49 litres of stor­age have been added to the un­der­tray, tak­ing it to 100 litres.

The side-hung tail­gate that has fea­tured on all pre­vi­ous ver­sions of RAV4 has been re­placed with a toph­inged unit. The RAV4’s new dash com­prises strong up­per and lower beams, in­ter­rupted by a curved, metal-fin­ished spar to frame the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle, steer­ing wheel and driver’s footwell.

All the in­stru­ment and switchgear is back­lit in cool blue.

Most ver­sions get eight airbags, ABS, VSC, a steer­ing wheel that ad­justs for reach and rake and has au­dio and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem con­trols, a 60/40/60 split/fold sec­ond row of seats that re­cline by sev­eral de­grees and a Dis­play Au­dio with a 6.1-inch touch­screen and re­vers­ing cam­era.

Ac­cord­ing to Toy­ota, the new RAV4’s ar­chi­tec­ture uses sev­eral grades of high-strength steel for key struc­tural com­po­nents and em­ploys weight sav­ings in other ar­eas re­sult­ing in a more rigid, yet light, chas­sis.

New Zealan­ders will be able to choose from three dif­fer­ent en­gines, in­clud­ing 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol pow­ered models and a 2.2-litre turbo diesel – the lat­ter avail­able for the first time with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. All to­gether there will be a choice of eight dif­fer­ent vari­ants of the car when both front and all wheel driven vari­ants are counted.

BRAND NEW: Rav 4.

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