Toyota has released a substantially upgraded RAV4 SUV, completing a remarkable 2015 in which it has launched, replaced or renewed models representing three-quarters of its sales volume.
The latest changes to RAV4 extend Toyota’s revitalisation this year to 13 models with combined sales of at least 150,000 per year including its three most popular vehicles – Camry, HiLux and Corolla hatch.
RAV4 adopts sleeker and more dynamic exterior styling, refreshed interiors, Euro 5 engines, trailer sway control and new features including an available package of integrated active safety and driver assistance technologies.
The newly developed safety features use a forward-facing camera and millimetre-wave radar to trigger vehicle systems, including autonomous braking, to prevent or mitigate the force of a collision.
Prices for automatic petrol models have been held or reduced despite the improvements while manual versions have edged up just $500. Prices for the turbo-diesel variants, which also gain a diesel particulate filter, have risen between $1,000 and $2,000.
Toyota’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said couples or families with active lifestyles would appreciate the refreshed styling and expanded equipment levels.
“The updates to RAV4 cap off a sustained roll-out of new or refreshed Toyota vehicles in 2015 – a period of renewal that is delivering motorists more choice, quality and driving enjoyment while underpinning Toyota’s sales growth into 2016,” Mr Cramb said.
Earlier this year, Toyota implemented a sweeping redesign of the locally built Camry, launched the highly anticipated eighth-generation HiLux and upgraded the hatch version of Australia’s best-selling car, Corolla.
Toyota also expanded its market-leading SUV line-up with the seven-seat Fortuner and introduced improvements to the LandCruiser Prado and 200 Series, Aurion V6 sedan, Prius c and v hybrids, HiAce bus and van, and Coaster bus.
Exterior changes to the RAV4 include a bolder-looking front design with a larger lower grille and slimline LED projector headlights that incorporate high and low beams in a housing that also integrates LED daytime running lights.
Restyled front and rear bumpers add 35mm to the RAV4’s overall length while new wheel-arch mouldings and rocker panels sharpen the sides and contribute to a more flowing profile. LED taillights add a premium touch.
New wheel designs for mid-range GXL and high-grade Cruiser and a standard shark fin antenna on all grades further accent the freshened look of the RAV4.
The GXL moves up from a 17-inch alloy to a stylish 18-inch black alloy with bright machined spokes. Cruiser’s new 18-inch alloys have five pairs of spokes while entry-level GX has a 17-inch steel wheel with low rolling resistance tyres.
Capping the exterior restyle are three additions to the colour palette: Deep Red mica metallic (replacing Wildfire), Hazel and Blue Gem.
RAV4’s cabin is quieter for greater occupant comfort and ease of conversation due to expanded insulation coverage and thickness to reduce road, tyre and exhaust noise.
There is new matte black trim with contrasting silver accents. The centre console has been redesigned so the front cup holder can accommodate mugs with handles. A 12-volt accessory socket in the second row (in addition to two in the front) and a new holder for sunglasses have also been adopted.
GXL and Cruiser gain a new two-dial instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch colour TFT (thin-film-transistor) multi-information display. GXL is now fitted with an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror. RAV4 Cruiser’s interior, including its leather-accented seats, can be specified in black, tan or beige depending on the exterior colour.
Ride comfort and driver involvement have been improved with measures including a more rigid rear body shell that contributes to greater driving stability and improved ride quality.
Shock absorbers and coil springs have been revised to give a flatter, more comfortable ride and to enhance straight-line stability.
RAV4’s new cutting-edge safety technologies include Pre-Collision System with forward collision warning and automatic emergency brake, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The newly developed features, standard on Cruiser and included in an optional technical pack for GXL with CVT or automatic transmissions, also includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and front parking sensors.
Pre-Collision Safety System can warn the driver of a possible crash and automatically apply the brakes. Automated braking can reduce vehicle speed by approximately 30km/h.
Active Cruise Control helps the driver keep a safe distance from the car in front. It also monitors vehicles merging into or out of the lane ahead to support smooth acceleration and deceleration.
Automatic High Beam (already standard on Cruiser) detects the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the taillights of preceding vehicles, switching automatically between high and low beam to avoid dazzling other drivers. More frequent use of high beam helps with earlier detection of pedestrians and obstacles.
Lane Departure Alert (already standard on Cruiser) is designed to help avoid collisions by warning the driver if the vehicle starts to deviate from the lane without the indicators having been engaged.
RAV4 is offered with three four-cylinder engines, starting with a 107kW 2.0-litre petrol for the two-wheel drive (2WD) variants.
All-wheel drive (AWD) versions can be specified with a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine that develops 340Nm of torque, or a 2.5-litre petrol engine that develops 132kW.
The 2WD RAV4 is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox or Toyota’s Multidrive S automatic transmission that also provides a sporty, sequential seven-speed mode.
Petrol AWD variants are fitted with a six-speed multi-mode sequential-shift automatic while diesel AWD RAV4 offers the choice of the six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.
A feature of the range is Toyota’s advanced all-wheel drive technology, Dynamic Torque Control AWD. It uses information from speed, steering-angle and yaw-rate sensors to control torque transfer between the front and rear wheels.
RAV4 first arrived in Australia in 1994, heralding a new era in the automotive world by paving the way for the popularity of sports utility vehicles – a segment that continues to grow.
Four generations of RAV4 have sold more than six million units around the world, including more than 248,000 in Australia.
Photo Gallery: 2016 Toyota RAV4[nggallery id=707]