Launched as a compact three-door model measuring just 3.69 metres in length, the original Toyota RAV4 was a radically different animal to what was then on offer in the form of traditional 4x4s. It featured a small engine mounted transversally within a monocoque body shell, and boasted an all-round independent suspension. The compact SUV market was born and the RAV4 success story continues.
Now in its fourth generation, Toyota has put its superior experience to good use in the new RAV4. The crossover has evolved both stylistically and dynamically. The new Toyota RAV4 also blends all the best bits from its predecessors and adds a pleasing quality twist to proceedings while retaining the original model’s commitment to fun.
|RAV four concept|
The muscular exterior stylishly interprets the signature elements of the new Toyota frontal design language. The front features a stylish narrow grille central with chrome horizontal trim bar visually extending into the headlamp clusters. Below the front grille is a large trapezoidal lower opening flanked by integral fog lamp housings. The distinct headlamps integrate LED daytime Running Lights adding to their feline like character. In profile, the new RAV4 adopts a blend of space-efficient packaging; rising belt-line and distinctive silhouette that has hallmarked successive generations of Toyota’s compact SUV.
Above a more pronounced belt-line are blacked out B and C pillars. These emphasise the lengthened glasshouse and the crossover’s interior roominess. ‘Below the belt’, the contrast of convex body surfacing and sharply concave treatment to the pronounced wheel arches and door sills provides added dynamism and strength to the new Toyota RAV4 silhouette. To the rear, the cabin tapers strongly inwards, contrasting with the width of the lower body and creating muscular shoulders over the rear wheel arches to emphasise the new Toyota RAV4’s, stable, planted stance.
The belt-line and wheel arch shoulder at the rear of the car is further emphasised by a new rear combination lamp design, which flows around the corner of the crossover to underscore the tailgate glazing.Topped with an integral roof spoiler, the new tailgate itself is now top-hinged, and the rear gate mounted spare wheel has been removed to complete the new RAV4’s cleaner, more aerodynamically efficient design. The new Toyota RAV4 rides on 17-inch allows as standard.
|Four generations of the RAV4|
The powertrain line-up now comprises a 107 kW (143 hp) 2.0 litre Valvematic petrol engine in two-wheel drive format mated to a choice of 6-speed manual or Multidrive S (Toyota’s highly-advanced Continuously Variable Transmission system) transmissions; a 110 kW (147 hp) 2.2 litre D-4D diesel engine teamed up with a six-speed manual and the all-wheel drive capabilities of Toyota’s AWD System; and a 132 kW (177 hp) 2.5 litre VVT-i petrol unit married to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission and AWD.
The new RAV4 shares the MacPherson strut front and lightweight trailing arm double wishbone rear suspension of its predecessor. However, both systems have been revised to optimise ride comfort whilst enhancing steering feel.Both the installation and the ECU control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) have been revised to combine a more comfortable driving position with improved steering precision and feel.
The interior of the new Toyota RAV4 has been extensively restyled. The dynamic, bold architecture of the new dashboard features powerful upper and lower horizontal surface which emphasise the interior’s spacious, open atmosphere. Rooted in the transmission tunnel, a curved, metal-finish beam interrupts the horizontal surfaces to frame the driver’s instrument binnacle, steering wheel, and foot well, reinforcing the new Toyota RAV4 interior’s more driver-focused credentials.
|Spacious and versatile interior|
The clean, sophisticated elegance of the new design is further strengthened by the use of high quality materials, soft padding in many areas of occupant contact, crisp trim finishes and new colours throughout. All front seats have a high seatbacks and a slim back to enhance rear-passenger legroom. The 60:40 split folding rear seats themselves have been made more comfortable. The rear seats can be folded down almost flush with the load space floor without the need to remove any seat cushions or headrests. Total boot volume with the seats up is an impressive 547 litres.
The RAV4 is the smallest of Toyota’s large family of SUVs. The RAV4 is one of the first entries in the crossover market and has become much more competitive over the years. Today’s fourth-generation RAV4 delivers on its reputed refinement and a strong reputation for longevity.