The new RAV4 has just been unveiled at the LA motor show
'Keen Look' design language previously seen on the new Auris
Toyota's RAV4 is now in its fourth generation
New model is 205mm longer and 30mm wider
Front-end styling inspired by Auris hatchback
Drivers sit lower in larger, more cushioned seats
'Sport' mode is new to four-wheel drive models
New model is much larger than outgoing version
The new RAV4 will be sold as a 'global' car, though will be fine-tuned to suit individual markets
Locking centre differential on four-wheel drive models will aid traction in difficult conditions
Despite Toyota's championing of hybrid tech, there are currently no plans to install such a drivetrain to the RAV4
17-inch alloys are standard with 18-inch items on mid-range cars and above
New RAV4 will be offered in front and four-wheel drive guises
Boot space has increased from 137 to 547 litres
A longer wheelbase means enough passenger legroom to do away with the sliding seats fitted to the current car
Even entry level models will be equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system
Toyota has made its all-new RAV4, unveiled today in final production form at the Los Angeles motor show, longer, wider and more spacious as it attempts to reinvent one of the models that invented the smaller SUV segment.
The fourth-generation model has also been given a bold new look inspired by the new Auris and driving dynamics that are said to be more involving than before as part of Toyota chief Akio Toyoda's brief to inject some excitement into the Japanese firm's cars.
At 4570mm long and 1845mm wide, the RAV4 is 205mm longer and 30mm wider than the current car, and a full 830mm longer than the original 1994 two-door model. The wheelbase of the Mk4 is up by 100mm over the Mk3, to 2660mm. It also sits 25mm lower at 1660mm, with ground clearance down by 10mm. All of this means a weight increase of around 10-15kg, depending on the engine.
The size of the new five-seat RAV4 is partly due to the deletion of the long-wheelbase seven-seat version of the current generation RAV4 sold in the US. But Toyota says the increase in size is also in response to changing market tastes; for example, buyers of estate cars are switching to models of the new RAV4's size, Toyota's research suggests.
The new model is a global car, and will be built in Japan, China and Canada for sale in all of Toyota's key markets. Each region, including Europe, has tuned the dynamics and interior look and feel to suit local tastes. Annual sales are expected to average around 100,000 units,
The look of the new RAV4 has been derived from the 'Keen Look' design language recently introduced on the new Auris. There's a more distinctive grille flanked by slim, technical headlights on each side. The side profile is also sleeker, with a lower roofline and a slim glasshouse with blacked out pillars. The more slippery shape results in a four per cent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency over the current RAV4.
The inside also gets a new look, with higher quality materials used for a more premium feel; even the most basic RAV4 will get a touchscreen infotainment system mounted in the centre console. The seats are bigger, to boost comfort, and the driving position is lower.
The longer wheelbase results in an more spacious cabin, with increased legroom for rear passengers - enough for Toyota to axe the current car's sliding rear seats. Boot capacity is up from 137 litres to 547 litres, with a further 100 litres hidden under the boot floor.
Alloy wheels of 17in diameter will be standard, with 18s offered on mid-range models and above. Three trim levels will be offered in the UK.
Underpinning the new RAV4 is a development of the previous car's structure. The modular platform was introduced in 2006 and already underpins models including the Auris, Avensis and Prius. The new RAV4 is offered with both front- and all-wheel drive.
Perhaps the biggest dynamic development is a new 'Sport' mode for all-wheel drive models. This automatically sends 10 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions and up to 50 per cent while under hard cornering to cancel out understeer. The Sport mode also adjusts the throttle response and steering feel.
The Sport mode is part of an all-wheel drive system redesigned to offer greater traction and also more involvement for the driver. The differential can also be locked for a 50/50 torque split at speeds of up to 24mph. Although not intended as a serious off-roader, the new RAV4 is said to have enough true four-wheel drive ability to be able to deal with most poor road conditions.
Engines for the UK include the entry level 122bhp 2.0-litre diesel with stop-start and a six-speed manual gearbox, for CO2 emissions of 127g/km. There will also be a 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto', and a 149bhp 2.0-litre petrol with a CVT 'box as the sole petrol choice. There are no plans for a hybrid version at present.
The new RAV4 will go on sale early next month ahead of deliveries for the 1 March 2013 plate change. But despite the increase in size and equipment, prices are expected to fall slightly over the current model due to the greater economies of scale afforded by being a true global car.