New 2013 Toyota RAV4 drops V6 and adds liftgate

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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The completely redesign 2013 Toyota RAV4 hit the auto show stage in Los Angeles yesterday, boasting a totally new look, a more refined high tech cabin with soft-touch accents, better fuel-efficiency and much greater cargo convenience.

The look is sleeker than its more upright predecessor, with a sportier aerodynamically honed front end, sweptback profile and unique wraparound taillights that bookend an all-new rear end design featuring a RAV4 first, a top-hinged liftback for accessing the cargo area.

A side-swinging rear door made heavier by a full-size hanging spare tire encumbered all previous generations of RAV4. Worse, that door was hinged on the passenger side so that, when opened, access to the sidewalk was awkward at best. This is no longer a problem as the new RAV4 has stowed its space-saver spare under the load floor, allowing the addition of a much more convenient liftgate. A power-operated tailgate will be standard on Limited models, while Toyota promises class-leading cargo capacity across the line with 1,087 litres behind the rear seats and 2,078 litres when those seats are folded flat.

In a move that most expected, Toyota decided to drop its big 3.5-litre V6. The only engine available at launch will be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with 176-horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, good for a claimed fuel economy rating of 8.7 L/100km city and 6.4 highway in front-wheel drive or 9.1 and 6.8 in all-wheel drive trim. That's an improvement over the outgoing RAV4, much thanks to two additional overdrive gears atop the new six-speed automatic transmission. The new transmission features DIY sequential shift mode plus Sport and Eco modes, the latter remapping shift points for better fuel economy and the former enhancing suspension performance and optimizing the electric power steering as well as throttle response and transmission shift points. Additionally, the new all-wheel drive system features Dynamic Torque Control with Auto, Lock and Sport driving modes.

All models will come standard with a tilt and telescopic steering wheel that will feature controls for audio, Bluetooth hands-free, and the Multi-Information Display. Additionally, Display Audio featuring a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen with an integrated backup camera will also come standard, as will a six-way adjustable driver's seat and all the expected powered features. Safety features will be strong as well, with a class-leading eight standard airbags. Like with all Toyotas, the new RAV4 gets Toyota's Star Safety System that includes Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, an Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology.

Optional safety upgrades include Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, while the standard stereo with the Limited package is from JBL with a staggering 576 watts of power, 11 speakers, and navigation.

While it's possible some standard and optional features will change here in Canada, much is expected to be similar to its American cousin. Pricing will be available soon, but likely won't be much more than the $26,425 (including freight and PDI) that Toyota currently charges for the outgoing 2012 model.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Toyota, 2013, RAV4, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, Compact,

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