At this year’s 2018 New York Auto Show, Toyota has unveiled the next generation of their popular crossover called the RAV4.
Toyota’s RAV4 is a popular vehicle for Toyota, being one of the brand’s best sellers in the USA, but rather than staying conservative and avoid changing the recipe, Toyota has decided to pull out all the stops and create a completely different successor to the RAV4. It starts with its TNGA K platform, which, like the Toyota Corolla, now utilizes a multilink rear suspension for improved ride and handling. Chassis rigidity has also been improved by 57%, says Toyota, through the liberal use of high strength steel, adhesives, and new welding techniques. The new RAV4 is lower, wider, but shorter, and though its length has shortened, wheelbase has increased for improved interior room. Due to the RAV4’s new dimensions, it now becomes a sportier, more dynamic crossover than it used to be, with its low, wide dimensions providing better cornering agility.
Also receiving a complete 180 degree change is its design, both inside and out. Toyota focused on the theme of “Robust Design”, which means that Toyota has made efforts to create a RAV4 that has a “chiseled appearance that is a perfect combination of athleticism and charisma”. The RAV4’s front fascia leads into a more dynamic profile, and robust shoulders. In the USA, optional 19-inch wheels make for a powerful stance that’s ready to tackle any road, any time. Compared to its predecessor, the new RAV4 has shorter front and rear overhangs, as Toyota has made sure that the RAV4 will be able to tackle different kinds of terrain.
On the inside, Toyota’s liberal use of soft touch surfaces, matte panels, and shiny finishes represent “an elevated sophistication with a premium, modern design and uncomplicated layout”. The standard electronic parking brake has been relocated to the center for a more ergonomic and comfortable interior layout. Highlighting the interior design is the Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which like most infotainment screens nowadays, are executed in a tablet-style fashion. The 8.0-inch screen supports Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration. An optional JBL audio system provides excellent sound quality, while the Qi wireless charging pad provides wireless charging solutions for smartphones with wireless charging capability. For the first time ever for Toyota, the Toyota RAV4 is optionally available, while standard on the Limited variant, a Digital Display Rear View Mirror. A rear facing wide-angle camera provides an unobstructed view of the rear, which is activated by a flick of switch.
As with many modern cars nowadays, the RAV4, at least in the North American market, comes as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes Pre-Collision Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, and new for TSS 2.0, Lane Trace Assist, which can let the car drive semi-autonomously on the expressway by tracing lane markings, and Road Sign Assist, which displays the traffic signs on the car’s 7.0-inch TFT digital instrument cluster. Toyota Safety Star also comes as standard on the RAV4, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, and Smart Stop Technology. Other safety and convenience options include a 360 degree Bird’s Eye View Camera, Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Braking, which are available at an additional cost.
Powering the all-new Toyota RAV4 is Toyota’s new line of Dynamic Force engines, which include a 2.5 liter inline-4 with VVT-iE and direct injection. With an impressive 40% thermal efficiency, the new Dynamic Force engines achieve excellent fuel consumption, as most of the combusted fuel is actually turned into energy rather than just heat. The petrol engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent through either a standard FWD, optional AWD system, or a new, optional Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD system with Rear Driveline Disconnect on higher variants. Apart from its torque vectoring feature, which can send up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels and shuffle power between the four wheels for improved cornering and off-road prowess, the Rear Driveline Disconnect feature essentially makes the car FWD when the AWD system is needed.
A hybrid model is also offered for the North American market, which is an all-new Toyota Hybrid System II (THS-II), which consists of a Dynamic Force 2.5 liter inline-4 petrol engine mated to an electric motor, with power sent through an E-CVT. This hybrid powertrain’s petrol engine achieves a class-leading 41% thermal efficiency. The hybrid system uses an AWD-i system, in which the rear wheels are powered by electric motors.
Horsepower and torque figures haven’t been released by Toyota as of the moment.
AWD models come equipped with Multi-Terrain Select, further cementing the RAV4’s newfound off-road capabilities. Snow, sand, mud, and rock, are available through a flick of an electronic knob.
The Toyota RAV4 will go on sale on the winter of 2018 for the North American market.
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