It has been three amazing generations of Toyota’s Recreational Activity Vehicle – four wheel drive or RAV4 as, it’s commonly known, that begun way back in 1994. 18 years later and Toyota have just released an all-new model to mark its fourth generation in the automobile market. The new model comes with a fresh look, a redesigned interior and new power plants that make it even more economical. The new RAV4 will be available in three trim versions there are the LE, XLE and top of the range Limited.
The new design consists of an angled front grill with stylish front headlamps that are integrated together to form an aggressive front. The design elements reflect the new Toyota design mode that is visible on new and upcoming models. The exterior features a progressive outline, with a sleek-sloping roofline and an aggressive character line. For the first time ever the Toyota RAV4 will now be available with a convenient roof-hinged liftgate. The space-saver spare tire is now stored under the cargo floor.
The new liftgate replaces the side-hinged rear door that was visible on past models. Design tweaks on the front fenders, a-pillars, rear taillights and at the base of the A-pillars make it more aerodynamic. The engineers have also ensured that air floors smoothly underneath the car. As a result the new model is the most aerodynamic RAV4 yet. Its body structure has also been stiffened thanks to the use of high-strength steel. The light material is used on the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and door frames. The use of the weight saving material also helps to reduce interior noise.
|Wheel now stored neatly in the boot|
Behind its lovely new grill is an all-new 2.5litre four-cylinder engine that has an output of 176hp and 172 ft. lbs. of torque. Married to the engine is an all new six-speed automatic transmission system with sequential shift. The RAV4 is avaliable as an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) version and a front wheel drive version. The front wheel drive version consumes around 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers while the all-wheel drive consumes 8 litres per 100 kilometers.
|2.5litre 176hp engine|
Both versions come with an Eco mode that helps the driver enhance the fuel efficiency even further. The new RAV4 rides on MacPherson struts front suspension and a double-wishbone rear suspension. All models come with disc brakes on all for wheels that are visible behind the 17-inch steel wheels on the LE model or on the 17-inch alloy wheels on the XLE model. The Limited model comes with disc brakes that are seen behind the large 18-inch alloy wheels. Drivers of the new RAV4 will now enjoy dynamic drive. This is thanks to the incorporation of the Dynamic Torqu Control. The system is incorporated to all AWD versions.
With the system on board power is sent to either the front or rear wheels to enhance cornering performance. It also has three different driving modes. There is Auto which enables the RAV4 to switch from front wheel to AWD automatically when needed. Next is Lock Mode. This locks the power train to permanent AWD. Power is delivered to all the four-wheels. At speeds below 40km/h the system sends up to 50% of the power to the rear wheels to help improve traction.
|Aggressive front look|
The last mode is Sporty Mode the system distributes power based on the steering input and yaw rate sensors of the Vehicle Stability Control system. Yaw rate sensors of the Vehicle Stability Control system. The Dynamic Torqu Control system is incorporated to the new sporty suspension and the optimized electronic steering. The result is improved handling that is further boosted by the enhanced shock absorbers.
All occupants enjoy plenty of interior space as the new RAV4 is wider and longer compared to the outgoing model. There is an all-new driver focused asymmetrical dashboard with easy to reach controls. The dash panel and the gauges feature an all clear blue illumination. The steering wheel has a manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel column.
|Stylish rear design|
This ensures the driver can fit in to a desired driving position with ease. The LE and XLE trim models come with a steering wheel covered in urethane while the Limited version comes with a leather wrapped steering wheel. All trim level steering wheels’ feature controls for audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio. One can also control the new Multi-Information Display (MID) by controls in the steering wheel as wheel.
The LE comes with a six-way adjustable seat with adjustments for height and lumber. The Limited model comes with an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, plus heaters in the front seat bottoms and seatbacks with two temperature settings. Lumber adjustment is also powered as well. The seats have a high seatbacks and a slim back to enhance rear-passenger legroom. XLE models come with premium bucket seats with sport bolstering. There is also visible French stitching on the seats and portions of the dash panels. The Limited model interior is trimmed in high-quality SofTex material. The rear cargo area is deeper, larger and easier to access than the outgoing model. Fold the rear seats and the storage space is increased even further.
|Comfortable front seats|
All models come with privacy glass, daytime running lights, cruise control, power side mirrors, power door locks and power windows. The XLE and Limited versions comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated fog lights, power moonroof with sliding sunshade and heated outside mirrors with integrated indicators.
|6.1-inch LCD touch screen|
Standard on all RAV4 models is a Display Audio with a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen. It comes with a reverse camera and Bluetooth as standard. XLE and Limited models come with an infotainment system with satellite radio and voice recognition. The Limited version comes with a JBL GreenEdge Premium Audio system with 576-Watts of power unleashed from 11 speakers.
|Available in automatic transmission only|
All RAV4’s come with eight airbags, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System and Smart Stop Technology. The Limited version comes with a Blind Spot Monitor system (BSM). This helps detect a vehicle in the adjacent lane and then alerts the driver by blinking a light on the side mirrors.
|Fresh look cockpit|
If the turn signal is on when there is a vehicle in the blind spot of the driver’s intended lane, the indicator on the corresponding mirror will warn the driver with a solid light. The Blind Spot Monitor system also integrates a Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system that uses the BSM t sense oncoming traffic when the car is reversing towards traffic. It then flashes an indicator on the side mirror with oncoming traffic.
|Leather covered steering wheel|
The new RAV4 goes on sale from next year with a projected starting price of £21,000 (roughly Kshs 4.2 million). Kenyans should expect the new RAV4 sometime next year. I can’t wait to see it in the flesh.