More expressive and premium at a cost

2013 Toyota RAV4 Preview

2013 Toyota RAV4 Preview
Los Angeles, CA - The all-new, fourth-generation 2013 Toyota RAV4, which had its global debut at the L.A. Auto Show, was charged with meeting changing customer expectations in the compact SUV segment, as well as Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s directive of creating more emotionally engaging products.

The new expressive look was conceived at Toyota’s head design studio in Japan, while the interior design came from Calty Design Research, the automaker’s studio in Newport Beach, California.

2013 Toyota RAV4

Calty president Kevin Hunter was on hand for the debuting festivities in L.A., and told us that, in the past, Toyota had some of the more “serious looking” SUV designs: “They were trying to mimic big SUVs, just scaled down a bit. So, now we’re trying to present a more fun image.”

He added that both the exterior and interior are designed to communicate that the new RAV4 is a “true crossover” and not at all “truck-y.”

“They’re a lot of fun to drive, and we wanted the interior and exterior to reflect that.”

Here then, are some of the more prominent details and features which created this all-new and refocused 2013 Toyota RAV4.

The only power source is one borrowed from Camry; a 176-hp, 2.5L I4 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears (5th and 6th). There is no V6 option.

Toyota promises a more rewarding driving experience in the 2013 Toyota RAV4, with optimized electric power steering, double-wishbone rear suspension and a Sport Mode setting which re-jigs the steering, engine and transmission parameters, and “blips” the throttle on downshifts.

2013 Toyota RAV4 side view
Here are some of the more prominent features which created this all-new and refocused 2013 Toyota RAV4. (Photo: Toyota)

Three models will be available: LE, XLE and Limited.

The 2013 Toyota RAV4's new (and optional) all-wheel drive system has Dynamic Torque Control, which can switch torque to the front and rear wheels as needed.

There are three AWD settings: Auto, Lock and Sport. In Auto the vehicle tries to stay in FWD to save fuel. For traction in a jam, Lock mode sends power to all four wheels -- but only up to 40 km/h. As in the FWD models, Sport mode does its thing with the steering, throttle and shifts, but can also send torque to the rear wheels in a corner to aid handling.

Front-wheel drive 2013 Toyota RAV4 models were rated at 8.7 City and 6.4 Highway (L/ 100 km); while LE and XLE all-wheel drive models were rated at 9.1 City and 6.8 Highway (L/100 km).

2013 Toyota RAV4 engine
176-hp, 2.5L I4 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears. (Photo: Toyota)

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 loses its trademark side-hinged rear door in favour of a roof-hinged liftgate. The spare tire is now stowed in the cargo area, which has a low liftover height and over 73 cu.-ft of storage capacity (2,080 litres) when the 60/40 rear seat backs are down -- high for its class.

There is seating for five and no third row seat option in the 2013 Toyota RAV4. Plus, there are eight standard airbags.

The LE is outfitted with 17” steel wheels, while the XLE rides on 17” alloys, and the Limited rides on 18” alloys.

The exterior design of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 features more body sculpting and a very aerodynamic looking front end. It retains little kink at the D-pillar. To these eyes, it looks quite good, but not easily memorable.

The inside design and materials on the RAV4 look fantastic, and are a considerable upgrade over the last generation (all show models were trimmed in leather). There is lots of soft-touch fabrics and faux silver trim to impart the much-desired “premium” feel. An “Acoustic” windshield is one of the moves made to create a quiet cabin.

2013 Toyota RAV4 interior
The inside design and materials on the RAV4 look fantastic, and are a considerable upgrade over the last generation. (Photo: Toyota)

Front seatbacks in the Toyota TAV4 are slim to create more rear knee room. It's roomy back there, but I couldn't slide my feet totally under the front seat. The rear seats also recline a bit.

The dash panel in the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is more driver-centric with blue illumination at night. A 6.1” LCD screen is available on all models. A rearview camera is now standard on all models.

High-end options include navigation, satellite radio, advanced voice recognition, a premium sound system, a Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 will arrive on the Canadian market in the beginning of the new year, starting at $23,790.

By Mike Goetz,

No comments