The fifth generation of Toyota’s ever-popular RAV4 SUV brings a bunch of firsts to the marque, including improved off-road capability, torque vectoring tect and the latest Toyota infotainment system incorporating in-car WiFi and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
Externally the new RAV4 is a big departure from its city-centric predecessors, with a raised stance, chiselled lines, bolder nose and Jeep-like trapezoidal wheel arches. Built on the TNGA platform that also underpins the Camry, C-HR and Prius (as well as the upcoming new-gen Corolla), it has a longer wheelbase, wider track, and shorter front and rear overhangs to make it better suited to rugged terrain.
Inside, the buzzword is “refinement”, with a more sophisticated but uncomplicated layout, with a decluttered centre console thanks the adoption of an electronic parking brake and side-by-side cup holders.
Rear seat passengers benefit from increased leg and elbow room.
The RAV’s powertrain lineup includes a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a eight-speed automatic, which also brings downshift rev-matching. Accompanying it will be a hybrid variant, also using a 2.5-litre petrol four-pot, except augmented by an electric motor and taking drive to the road via a CVT automatic.
All-wheel-drive versions feature torque vectoring control that enhances steering accuracy on all road conditions. Sending up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels to improve traction when needed, it reverts to front-wheel drive when all-paw traction isn’t required to save fuel and reduce rotational vibration to further improve cabin comfort.
Toyota promises a much improved ride across the range, thanks to 57 percent additional chassis rigidity and multi-link rear suspension, which also reduces cabin noise and boosts ride comfort.
Variants include the sporty XSE Hybrid, featuring two-tone paintwork, piano-black exterior accents and projector-beam LED headlamps. It’s the best performer in the range with enhanced power and acceleration and also boasts a sport-tuned suspension with tauter shock absorbers and springs. Toyota has yet to reveal performance figures, but promises class-leading fuel efficiency along with more power and improved acceleration.
The off-road focused RAV4 Adventure brings Toyota toughness including high-rise roof rails, bolder wheel arches, a more aggressive grille and front bumper design, unique fog-light surrounds and AWD as standard. Dirt driving is assisted with multi-terrain driving modes for snow, mud, sand or rocks.
The RAV4 Limited meanwhile reverts to the RAV4’s more traditional urban family hauler role, with premium styling including 19-inch alloy wheels and chrome accents outside. Interior features include a moonroof, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory, and a Digital Display Rearview Mirror that lets you see out back even if the rear window is obscured.
Safety features include a Pre-Collision System (incorporating autonomous emergency braking) with pedestrian detection, radar-assisted cruise control with stop-start, lane keeping assist, lane tracing assist which recognises temporary yellow lines, automatic high-beam, road sign recognition, eight airbags, blind spot monitor, rear-cross traffic alert and 360-degree camera with all-round parking sensors.
While the reveal centres on the US RAV4 range, Australia is expected to be in line for the hybrid RAV4 - along with a petrol-electric version of the C-HR.
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