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New York show: All change for Toyota RAV4

All new: Toyota’s RAV4 is getting the biggest overhaul in its history with an all-new body, fresh styling, latest powertrains and revised tech.

Toyota RAV4 to get hybrid, new 2.5-litre engine and new platform for 2019


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28 Mar 2018

TOYOTA’S fifth-generation RAV4 medium SUV is set to get the Japanese giant’s new Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine in both conventional petrol and petrol-electric hybrid formats when it lands in Australian showrooms in 2019.

The engine – claimed to be the most thermally efficient production powertrain in the world – will be dished up in 2.5-litre guise in RAV4, rather than the 2.0-litre unit destined for the all-new Corolla that is on the launching pad for global release in 2018.

Toyota Australia has confirmed the hybrid variant for Australia in a first for RAV4 here, even though petrol-electric RAV4s have been available elsewhere in the current model.

There was no mention of diesel in the new model, seemingly confirming rumours that the 2.2-litre oil burner will go missing once the new RAV4 lands.

Toyota Australia also announced that it would offer a 2.0-litre petrol powertrain in RAV4 – presumably for entry level variants – alongside the 2.5-litre petrol and hybrid powertrains, but there was no indication if the unit is new or carried over from the current model.

Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said RAV4 would be the first hybrid SUV in the company's local model line-up.

“The combination of Toyota's latest hybrid system and an advanced new petrol engine will deliver impressive power output and exceptional energy efficiency,” he said.

“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 RAV4's performance, handling and ride comfort.

“Together with the robust exterior styling and sophisticated interior, the new RAV4 will offer even greater appeal to people with active lifestyles who want to explore the city, make a weekend trip to the country or head off the beaten track.”

Like the new Corolla, the latest RAV4 – revealed in its American form on the eve of the New York motor show this week – represents one of the most complete changes to the model in its history, not only getting new powertrains but an all-new platform, Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), that debuted under the new-generation Prius and C-HR.

The RAV4 gets a new version of the architecture, dubbed TNGA K, which boasts multi-link rear suspension.

At 4600mm long, the new RAV4 is about the same length as the current model, but it is 10mm wider, at 1855mm, and 10mm millimetres lower, at 1700mm. The wheelbase gets the biggest stretch, going up 30mm to 2690mm, potential freeing up some interior room and shortening overhangs for off-road travel.

The body – 57 per cent more rigid than before – takes on a more macho appearance foreshadowed by the FT-AC concept shown at the last November’s Los Angeles motor show.

A new eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission will also be offered in place of the six-speed torque converter transmission with the soon-to-superseded 2.5-litre engine.

So far, no power, performance or fuel economy figures have been made public for the RAV4’s 2.5-litre engine, but Toyota is claiming a record 40 per cent thermal efficiency due to new induction and combustion chamber designs.

In Australia, the most powerful current powertrain is the 132kW 2.5-litre litre unit, while the 2.2-litre diesel has the most torque, at 340Nm.

In the US, the hybrid version will follow the standard variant on to the market by some months, arriving there in early 2019, but it is unclear if such a separation will apply in Australia which is expected to source its stock from Japan.

The new RAV4 is set to get a safety makeover, with inclusions such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, autonomous emergency braking, all-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beam.

The North American line-up will also include an off-road version with multiple terrain driving modes and – for the first time in a Toyota – dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel drive.

A newly designed seven-inch touchscreen will be available, along with reversing camera.

In Australia, RAV4 is the second-best-selling medium SUV in 2018, with 3621 sales – a record for the model in the first two months of the year – trailing only the Mazda CX-5 (4343).

Within the Toyota line-up, the RAV4 ranks third in sales, behind the all-conquering HiLux ute (8286) and Corolla small car (6046).

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