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.
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.