NEW TOYOTA RAV 4
The original SUV reincarnated
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.