1 Feb 2013
TOYOTA’S 40 Series RAV4 is a revamp of its third-generation predecessor, possessing much of the same chassis fundamentals, but with an all-new body, interior, and fresh drivetrain choices.
Diesel power arrives in Australian-bound versions for the first time, along with features like lane-departure warning, hill-start assist, and advanced dry-road traction systems, but the slow-selling V6 petrol versions have vanished.
Plus, the RAV4 finally ditches the side-hinged tailgate with spare wheel for a conventional roof-hinged item, improving rear vision.
Based on the same carryover platform that underpins the latest Corolla, the Japanese-built SUV is (slightly) lighter, lower, narrower, and slipperier externally, and yet more spacious inside.
The all-new cabin also boasts higher quality finishes, a more driver-focussed environment, larger front seats, improved rear-seat functionality, ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, and a larger cargo area.
At the other end of the car is Toyota’s 3ZR-FE 2.0-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 107kW at 6200rpm and 187Nm at 3600rpm, and driving the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or CVT.
Moving on to the AWD models, the 2AR-FE 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivers 132kW at 6000rpm, and 233Nm at 4100rpm, while the diesel’s 2.2-litre four-pot unit pumps out 110kW at 3600rpm and 340Nm from 2000 to 2800rpm.
Both AWD models upgrade to either a six-speed manual or six-speed torque-converter automatic, while their AWD set-up is 90 per cent FWD/10 per cent RWD, until traction losses send up to 50 per cent of torque rearwards.
Suspension is via MacPherson struts up front and a double-wishbone arrangement in the rear, while retuned electric power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and the addition of a driver’s knee airbag (bringing that tally to seven) complete the 40 Series RAV4 headline changes.