Toyota is proud to claim to have created the compact SUV market with the launch of its first Recreational Active Vehicle with 4 Wheel-Drive (RAV4) in 1994.
Launched as a compact (3.69 m), 3-door model, the first "Urban 4WD" was quite different to a traditional 4x4. It featured a relatively small, 2.0 litre engine mounted transversally within a monocoque bodyshell, and all-round independent suspension. The compact SUV market was born. Today, there are some 20 different models in the segment.
Available in over 150 countries, three generations of Toyota RAV4 have sold more than 4.5 million units since 1994, of which European markets have accounted for over 1.2 million sales.
The fundamental design features accounting for this success remain equally relevant for this fourth generation model. As for the last 18 years with previous model generations, the new RAV4 has been developed to fully respond to the evolving customer requirements of the core C-SUV market: active lifestyle families with a growing demand for space and versatility.
The new Toyota RAV4 reflects this stronger emphasis on family use building on its segment creating core values. The new RAV4 offers customers distinctive, sophisticated styling, refined, premium-quality interior design, a new Integrated Dynamic Drive System and an engaging drive with fuel efficient powertrains.
Longer (+205 mm), wider (+30 mm) but lower (-25 mm) than its predecessor, the fourth generation of Toyota's compact, versatile SUV showcases an all new silhouette that emphasizes its versatility, roominess and improved dynamic capabilities.
The all-new exterior combines the sophisticated, stylish signature elements of the new Toyota frontal design language with clean, frill-free aesthetics and the muscular image of durability expected from a vehicle with its class-leading four-wheel drive credentials.
The new face of Toyota combines the company's Under Priority grille design with Keen Look headlamp and LED Daytime Running Light (DRL) detailing to give the new SUV a powerful, more dynamic and agile-looking road presence.
The Under Priority design features a large, trapezoidal lower opening within the front bumper, and a smaller upper grille running full width between the new headlamps.
The black resin finish flows from the bottom corners of the lower bumper opening in the form of a tough, durable skirt around the base of the entire vehicle, including the wheel arches, providing off-road protection to the bodyshell and further emphasising the new SUV's muscular posture.
In profile, the new RAV4 inherits the combination 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, blacked out B and C pillars emphasise the lengthened glasshouse and an increase in the vehicle's interior roominess. Below, the contrast of convex body surfacing and sharply concave treatment to the pronounced wheel arches and door cills brings 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 emphasis the vehicle's, stable, planted stance.
The increased strength of the belt-line and wheel arch shoulder at the rear of the car is further emphasised by a new rear combination lamp design which is generated by the proportions of the rear shoulder and flows around the corner of the vehicle to underscore the tailgate glazing.
Topped with an integral roof spoiler, the new tailgate itself is now top-hinged, and the spare wheel has been removed to complete the new RAV4's cleaner, more aerodynamically efficient design.
The new RAV4 will be available in a choice of nine body colours, including 3 new to the model range: Greyish Blue M.M., Moss Green and Black M.M.
Innovative, Higher Quality Interior Design
Combining a spacious, comfortable cabin with a cockpit-like driver's environment, the all-new interior design build's on the RAV4's inherent practicality with greater roominess, higher quality finishes and a more focused, engaging SUV driving experience.
Horizontal-lined design is used on the instrument panel in order to emphasize strength and wide-front design.
The dynamic, bold architecture of the new dashboard features powerful, upper and lower horizontal beams interrupted by a curved, metal-finish spar. Rooted in the transmission tunnel, the spar frames the driver's new instrument binnacle, steering wheel and footwell to reinforce the new Toyota RAV4 interior's more driver-focused credentials.
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. Extended use of leather on the instrument panel contributes to emphasise the high quality feeling of the cabin.
All instrument and switchgear back-lighting is now a Clear Blue colour; a crisp, cool after-dark illumination which brings sophistication and a powerful visual consistency to the new interior.
Focused, Ergonomic Driving Position
With cockpit-like driver's environment, the driving position of the new RAV4 has been designed for excellent ergonomics, greater comfort, better forward visibility and a more engaging driving experience.
The driver's seat hip point has been lowered by 5 mm, the seat height adjustment range increased by 15 mm and the steering wheel angle lowered by 2.3 degrees.
At the same time, the driver's forward visibility has been improved. The A pillars have been repositioned to a more outward location, increasing the driver's forward field of vision by 3 degrees, and the cross-sectional width of the pillars themselves has been reduced by 8%.
Greater Space and Versatility
Though retaining the compact exterior dimensions essential to manoeuvrability, the new RAV4's overall length of 4.57 m and its wheel base length of 2660 mm equip it with significant additional interior space, bringing passenger roominess and loadspace up to a par with larger, D segment vehicles.
With a front to rear seat couple distance, now a best-in-class 970 mm, and a new thinner front seatback design, space at rear seats has been increased.
The 60:40 split folding rear seats have been made more comfortable, benefitting from an increase in cushion surface angle of 2 degrees and higher side bolsters for improved support.
Thanks to Toyota's unique, easy flat seating system, the RAV4 retains all the practical, flexible versatility its customers have come to expect from the compact SUV.
The rear seats may be split 60:40 for maximum flexibility and each section can be reclined independently.
The length of the loadspace has been increased, raising luggage capacity to 547 litres. Undertray storage has also increased by 49 litres from 51 to 100 litres.
The side-hung tailgate has been replaced by a top-hinged version, which may be equipped with power operation. At 645 mm, the new tailgate opening boasts the lowest loadspace lip height in its class, as well as a wide aperture of 1335 mm.
Featuring two new powerplants -a 2.0 litre diesel for the Western European market and a 2.5 litre petrol unit for the Russian market- and with a 2.2 litre diesel engine now available in Russia for the first time, the new Toyota RAV4's comprehensive engine range offers an unmatched balance between outstanding, front- and four-wheel drive performance and class-leading CO2 emissions in all petrol and diesel variants.
Western European Engine Line-up
The Western European powertrain line up now comprises a 151 DIN hp 2.0 litre petrol engine, a new 124 DIN hp 2.0 litre diesel, and a powerful 150 DIN hp 2.2 litre D-4D diesel engine.
Every engine in this new line-up benefits from reductions in CO2 emissions, averaging some 12% across the powerplant range.
Of particular note, the 2.0 litre diesel, front-wheel drive derivative new to the RAV4 range is equipped with Toyota's Stop & Start technology, reducing CO2 emission to only 127 g/km.
Eastern European Engine Line-up
The Eastern European powertrain line up comprises a 145 DIN hp 2.0 litre petrol engine, a new, 180 DIN hp 2.5 litre petrol engine, and a newly available, 150 DIN hp 2.2 litre D-4D diesel engine.
Successive generations of RAV4 have established a reputation for their ride comfort, ease of driving, manoeuvrability and reassuring capabilities on even the most challenging of road surfaces.
In conjunction with a new, more comfortable and focused driving position, the new Toyota RAV4 builds on these key SUV attributes with retuned front and rear suspension systems, revised Electric Power Steering, and a New Integrated Dynamic Drive System with all-new Sport mode function.
In combination, these developments award the new RAV4 greater stability and agility on both wet and dry roads, offering customers a confidence-inspiring, more intuitive and engaging driving experience.
The new RAV4 is also available with both Down-hill Assist and Hill Start Assist Control. Fitted as standard to all vehicles equipped with automatic transmission and particularly useful during icy or snowy descents, Down-hill Assist Control automatically regulates gear selection, engine speed and the individual wheel braking capabilities of the ABS system to help the driver maintain skid-free control of the vehicle on slippery descents.
Integrated Dynamic Drive System
The Integrated Dynamic Drive System is a sophisticated, high-speed interactive management system which coordinates control of the Toyota RAV4's new Dynamic Torque Control 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems to enhance the compact SUV's performance, handling and safety.
The new Dynamic Torque Control 4WD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in front of the rear differential.
Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions to improve fuel consumption.
The Dynamic Torque Control 4WD system uses information sent from various sensors (speed, steering angle, throttle angle and yaw rate) to automatically govern the transmission of torque to the rear wheels, as required.
In Normal mode -when neither Sport mode nor Lock mode are activated- torque transfer to the rear wheels will take place not only when the slip is detected (as in thethird generation RAV4), but also when the system detects understeer during cornering on-road. As a result, the overall agility and driving performance of the new RAV4 is enhanced during both on- and off-road driving.
When all new Sport mode (standard on AWD models) is selected, torque transfer to the rear wheels will start from the moment the steering wheel is turned. The new Dynamic Torque Control AWD System, with the feedback from driver steering input, will adjust automatically a 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to reduce the load on the front tyres.
If later, an actual understeer develops, torque transfer to the rear wheels is automatically increased by up to 50%, further reducing front tyre loading to provide improved lateral grip.
As well as activating the 'Dynamic' behaviour of the system's front to rear torque transfer, the new Sport mode also modifies the Toyota RAV4's power steering, throttle and transmissions; decreasing power steering assistance, sharpening throttle response and offering higher revs', automatic and CVT gearbox management, for a more dynamic, sporting driving experience.
For off-road driving, the system incorporates a 4WD Lock button. This allows drivers to lock torque distribution in a fixed, 50/50 ratio at speeds up to 40 km/h.
SAFETY AND TECHNOLOGY
The new Toyota RAV4 builds on the very highest standards of occupant safety and pedestrian impact protection evolved over three generations of the compact Toyota SUV, with even higher levels of active and passive safety.
With a new, high rigidity, multi-path impact load body designed to provide optimum occupant and pedestrian impact protection, the new RAV4 has been engineered to achieve a 5-Star rating in the gruelling, 2013 Euro NCAP crash test programme.
The new Toyota SUV is equipped with a new anti-whiplash seat design, and 7 airbags are fitted as standard, including a driver's knee airbag and twin-chamber front seat side airbags.
The new Toyota RAV4 may also be equipped with three new technologies -an Automatic High Beam system, a Lane Departure Alert system and a Blind Spot Monitor system- further raising standards of safety and driver convenience.
Automatic High Beam system
The Automatic High Beam system employs a camera to monitor the road ahead and automatically switches the headlamps from high to low beam when it detects either a preceding or oncoming vehicle.
Lane Departure Alert system
The Lane Departure Alert system employs a lane recognition camera sensor mounted at the head of the windscreen to determine if the vehicle is unintentionally leaving its lane. The system then alerts the driver via an audible warning buzzer and a flashing line icon in the multi-information display.
Blind Spot Monitor system
The Blind Spot Warning system notifies drivers of a vehicle travelling in an adjacent lane in their blind spot by illuminating the relevant indicator mounted in the outer door mirror surface. The system uses radar sensors mounted on both sides of the rear of the new RAV4, which monitor the blind area of the driver. If the turn signal lamp switch is in operation, the indicator will flash at fixed intervals to alert the driver.