Unveiled at the ongoing New York Auto Show 2018 is one of Toyota’s most important product in North America – the Toyota RAV4.
The originator of the sedan-based crossover is now in its fifth generation. Utilizing the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) 'K platform', the new RAV4 promises to drive better thanks to the lower centre of gravity, 57 percent more rigid body shell as well as wider front and rear tracks. Ride comfort is also greatly improved with the adoption of a multi-link rear suspension.
Designers kept in mind design elements of ‘Adventure’ and ‘Refined’. A lowered glasshouse (more glass area) and enlarged quarter window on the distinctive C-pillar design increases visibility for occupants, as well as adding more light into the cabin.
Large overfenders, bold hexagonal grille with different patterns, roof rails, two-tone colour scheme and gloss black treatment are applied to different variants available - XSE, Limited and Adventure.
Overall, the all-new RAV4 has styling that is closer to a more rugged SUV than a crossover, a segment which the RAV4 itself created.
Compared to its key competitors, the new RAV4 is the same width as the Honda CR-V at 1,855mm. The Mazda CX-5 has wheelbase that is 10 mm longer, and all three models are under 4,600 mm in length.
Inside, a digital display rear view mirror makes its debut in a Toyota. The display can change between normal rear view mirror mode or an increased visibility mode, displaying everything behind the RAV4. The instrument panel houses an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay connectivity that is perched atop the centre stack and plenty of storage spaces.
Making its debut as part of TNGA suite of new technologies is the Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD with Rear Driveline Disconnect. In essence, this AWD system not only intelligently varies the torque split of the front and rear axle (i.e. 80:20), it also varies the torque split from side-to-side on the rear axle.
The new rear differential operates by using a pair of left and right clutches to control torque. Independently controlling the torque using clutches rather than braking system improves response time and ultimately allow for much better cornering performance and agility. The Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD also works together with the Multi Terrain-Select feature for true off-road capabilities.
Engine choices for the RAV4 are two 2.5-litre engines - a regular petrol and a petrol-hybrid. Both engines feature the Dynamic Force technologies which achieves 40 percent thermal efficiency for minimum fuel consumption as well as responsive acceleration. These two engines are also available in the new Toyota Camry, with the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated delivering 203 hp and the hybrid delivering a net system output of 208 hp.
Toyota is also equipping the all-new RAV4 with the next generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). The TSS safety suite comprise of various front sensors, cameras and radar to offer features like Pre-Collision System, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert and lane tracing assist.
Toyota USA is only planning the sale of the all-new RAV4 from end of this year, starting with the petrol engine.
Closer to home, we have been told back in 2017 that there are firm plans to introduce the all-new RAV4 regionally. With the region having a tax scheme that punishes large capacity engines, there could be a high possibility that the ASEAN RAV4 will be fitted with a more tax friendly 2.0-litre engine. A mid-sized SUV is more than welcomed for UMWT’s SUV line-up, bridging the gap between the newly-launched compact Toyota C-HR and the full-sized, body-on-frame Toyota Fortuner.