How soon the forget the American Motors Eagle...
The new RAV4 has sleeker styling - Fay called it 'more emotional - more room inside, and perhaps most important, a higher-quality interior, which the RAV sorely needed.
As before, RAV4 will be offered in front- and four-wheel drive models. The 4x4 gets something Toyota calls 'Dynamic Torque Control', whereby it operates generally in front-drive, and transfers power to the rear axle if conditions require, so you get traction when you need it, better fuel consumption the rest of the time.
Toyota says system this is a first for the company, but isn't it pretty much what Honda CR-V (among others) has had for ever?
The system also has a 'lock' mode; below 40 km/h, you can engage all four wheels for those really tough cottage roads or deep snow.
Two other departures for the new RAV4:
- the spare tire has been moved off the rear side-hinged door to under the floor, enabling a lift-up tailgate which is more convenient for most customers and most loads;
- no V6 option any more. This segment is fuel-economy-conscious, and those who want V6 power can move up to the Highlander, said Fay.
The RAV's 2.5 litre four cylinder now produces 176 horsepower, which is actually three less than Toyota Canada's web site says the current model has. But the extra two ratios in the six-speed automatic (over the previous model), and now with manual override shifting, Sport or ECO modes, actually improve both performance and fuel economy.
A higher level of equipment - SatNav is available on all but the base trim level and power tailgate on the range-topping Limited - keeps RAV4 competitive.
Pricing won't be released until closer to the January 2013 intro date, but given the competitive nature of this segment, it can't be much different than the current model, which starts at $24,865.
As before, the new RAV4 will be built in Toyota's Woodstock Ontario plant.
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