This is the new Toyota RAV4, one of the original soft-roaders. The 2013 RAV4 was unveiled overnight at the Los Angeles auto show – this is a global car and will head over to the UK in 2013.
It’s the fourth-generation RAV4 since 1994 and is an all-new model with the latest Toyota styling flourishes. It’s quite a bit bigger – 205mm longer than today’s SWB model – and Toyota claims improved space for bodies and baggage.
Toyota RAV4 (2013): the full story
That RAV4 badge stands for Recreational Active Vehicle 4-wheel drive – and the Japanese aren’t straying far from that original product brief. It was a pioneering SUV back in the 1990s, designed to be used as much in town as on moor, sporting a monocoque chassis and independent suspension in place of sturdy off-roading gear. Another reminder of how prescient Japanese car makers can be…
In Europe, buyers of the new RAV4 can pick a 149bhp 2.0-litre petrol or a trio of 2.0-litre diesels spanning from 122-148bhp. The lower-powered diesel is front-wheel drive and emits 127g/km of CO2, whereas every other model packs 4wd and pump out up to 176g/km.
In a break with tradition, the new RAV4 has a conventionally top-hinged tailgate for the first time (which can now be power-operated); it has stuck with the rather awkward side-hinged boot door in the past, which has made loading up the boot a tricky affair in tight car parks.
Drivers nestle lower down in the cockpit, says Toyota, and they’ve concentrated on making the driving position less van-like. That growth spurt pays off at the tape measure: the boot is a whopping 547 litres (up 49) and there’s an extra 100 litres nestling under the floor for stowing goodies out of sight.
Toyota says it is confident the new model will achieve a maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP. A raft of gizmos include airbags galore, lane departure assist and a blindspot monitor.
The sales background
Toyota has sold more than 4.5 million RAV4s in 150 countries since launch 18 years ago. Around a quarter of those sales were in Europe.
Although the RAV4 was a pioneer in its day, there are now around 20 competitors in this SUV segment, so the Toyota will have its work cut out. But on the evidence of the launch in LA, we’d say the new model looks well equipped to grab more attention.