That’s rather fetching, isn’t it?
It’s hard to believe it really, but Toyota’s family SUV, the RAV4, has been around a long time. Today, the 5th-generation model has received its big reveal ahead of the New York Motor Show, where it’ll be shown to the public for the first time. The new RAV4 sits on new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), and as a result, enjoys a raft of evolutionary improvements that will make it more compelling than ever.
The RAV4 may have been the king of mid-sized crossovers through the 90s and early 00s, but nowadays it faces stiff competition from all sides. Not only is there the Honda CR-V to contend with, but there are newer options in the segment in the form of the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, and Mazda CX-5. But we’d say that the new RAV4 has the chops to dominate the pack, even if evaluated from just looks.
We’re pleasantly surprised with the design language that Toyota’s gone with with the 5th RAV4, as it has the right hints and nods towards its all-conquering Land Cruiser models, while remaining entirely contemporary. This is a big, beefy SUV, and it won’t let you forget it.
The dark body cladding is generously applied throughout the lower half of the car to emphasise its all-terrain capabilities. The new RAV4 is now 5mm shorter than the outgoing car, though it sits on a 30mm longer wheelbase. As a result, Toyota claims that cabin packaging has been greatly improved, to the benefit of passengers throughout.
Further to the benefit of passengers it the cabin, which looks absolutely lovely. Cubby spaces are aplenty, and there’s an electronic parking brake in here that frees up enough room for side-by-side cupholders. There’s also a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, with an 8.0-inch unit available optionally. Worth noting though, Android Auto is not offered on either system. Boo.
Under the bonnet, you’ll find one of two Dynamic Force engines. Either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol mill with an eight-speed automatic or a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid that uses a CVT gearbox is employed, though power goes to all four corners through one of three all-wheel drive systems. There will be a total of five petrol variants and four petrol-electric hybrid variants on offer of the RAV4.
For Australia, we'll get both of the aforementioned drivetrains as well as a 2.0-litre petrol 4-pot, which will be offered with both the 8-speed direct-shift automatic as well as a manual.
There’s AWD-i for the hybrid models, a typical on-demand all-wheel drive system (where 100% of the power gets sent to the front wheels until wheel-slip is detected), as well as a new system called ‘Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect.’ DTVAWDw/RDD (yes, we’re being facetious) can send up to 50% of the power to the rear when needed, and then move the power left to right depending on where it’s most effective. And to reduce fuel consumption, a clutch can disengage one of the axles (either front or rear) when not needed.
A statement released by Toyota Australia has detailed that the new car will come as standard with a raft of advanced driver assistance systems, including things like a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, autonomous emergency braking, "all-speed" radar cruise control (presumably meaning it can crawl in traffic jams), as well as lane-departure mitigation and high-beam assist.
"The combination of Toyota's latest hybrid system and an advanced new petrol engine will deliver impressive power and exceptional efficiency. Toyota's hybrid technology will perfectly complement the work of engineers who have dialled up the fun-to-drive factor by advancing every aspect of the RAV4's performance. Together with the robust exterior and sophisticated interior styling, the RAV4 will offer greater appeal." – Sean Hanley, Vice President (Sales & Marketing), Toyota Australia
Toyota Australia has reiterated that the RAV4 is set for a 2019 launch, though we expect to see it come sooner rather than later. The RAV4 is one of the company's most popular offerings in our market, with over 20,000 units delivered in 2017 alone. And rather than slowing down, the RAV4 achieved record monthly sales in both January and February of this year, culminating in the highest sales for the first two months in the 24-year history of the nameplate. Impressive stuff.