The orig­i­nal SUV rein­car­nated

Road Trip - - CONTENTS - Story by Ferdi de Vos | Cap­tured by Toy­ota USA

The all-new, fifth gen­er­a­tion RAV4 com­pact SUV was re­vealed at the New York In­ter­na­tional Auto Show – nearly 24 years af­ter the orig­i­nal RAV4 sin­gle-hand­edly cre­ated the com­pact sports util­ity ve­hi­cle seg­ment, bridg­ing what was at the time a gap­ing chasm be­tween tra­di­tional off-road­ers and reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles.

The new­comer, the first to be built on a Toy­ota New Global Ar­chi­tec­ture (TNGA) plat­form, re­mains true to its pi­o­neer­ing her­itage, mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies, dy­namic per­for­mance, in­tel­li­gent safety pro­vi­sions, and all-round qual­ity.

The lines of the lat­est RAV4, in­spired by the FT-AC con­cept shown at the Los An­ge­les Auto Show last year, has a dis­tinct an­gu­lar feel, while its grille de­sign harks back to the pulled-down face of the third gen­er­a­tion RAV4. De­sign­ers fo­cused on the key words “ad­ven­ture” and “re­fined” to pro­duce a bolder and tougher pres­ence with a lower, wider ex­te­rior pro­file and more so­phis­ti­cated and pre­mium in­te­rior.

At 4,600 mm long, re­duc­tions have been made in the front and rear over­hangs, while 30 mm have been added to the wheel­base and 10 mm to the width, al­low­ing for an even more spacious and com­fort­able cabin. Lug­gage space has been in­creased, too, and has ver­sa­til­ity de­signed-in with fold­ing rear seats, a dou­ble load floor, and deck side nets.


The new RAV4 will be avail­able with two TNGA pow­er­trains, a 2.5-litre in-line four-cylin­der en­gine mated to an eight­speed di­rect-shift au­to­matic trans­mis­sion in the petrol ver­sion, while hy­brid vari­ants are equipped with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion, or a new two-litre four­cylin­der petrol en­gine with a choice of man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions. In­ter­est­ingly, it seems there will be no diesel de­riv­a­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to Toy­ota the new chas­sis is 57% more rigid than the cur­rent one, and a new multi-link rear sus­pen­sion pro­vide ideal damp­ing for good han­dling and ride com­fort. Ground clear­ance has been in­creased by more than 12 mm, yet the new RAV4 has bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics.


A Dy­namic Torque Vec­tor­ing All-wheel Drive with Rear Driv­e­line Dis­con­nect (avail­able on top mod­els) can send 50% of en­gine torque to the rear wheels, plus dis­trib­ute it to the left or right rear wheel as needed, for im­proved han­dling.

The dis­con­nec­tion func­tion trans­mits driv­ing force to the front wheels when AWD is not re­quired, re­duc­ing en­ergy loss, im­prov­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency, and re­duc­ing ro­ta­tional vi­bra­tion mak­ing for a smoother ride.

Be­sides a Lim­ited grade, the re­veal of the RAV4 at the New York In­ter­na­tional Auto Show also in­cluded an Ad­ven­ture model in­spired by the off-road ve­hi­cle her­itage of Toy­ota. It fea­tures a more rugged ex­te­rior with an ag­gres­sive grille, fog light sur­rounds, roof rails, large over-fend­ers, and unique wheel de­sign. This model also has Mul­titer­rain Se­lect, giv­ing drivers the abil­ity to max­i­mize trac­tion when driv­ing through snow, mud, sand, or rocks.

The US mod­els also come with a raft of new ac­tive-safety tech­nolo­gies that en­hance pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing a pre-col­li­sion sys­tem with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, cruise con­trol, au­to­matic high beam – to name a few.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, the RAV4 will de­but with an all-new hy­brid vari­ant de­liv­er­ing im­pres­sive power out­put and ex­cep­tional en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. This model is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for lo­cal in­tro­duc­tion but will not be avail­able at launch.

Lo­cally the RAV4 leads the com­pact SUV seg­ment with av­er­age monthly sales in ex­cess of 500 units, and the new model is set to make its South African de­but in the sec­ond half of next year.

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