2013 Toyota RAV4

?Toyota?s fourth generation RAV4 is all new?

By Arv Voss

2013 Toyota RAV4 - frontToyota?s 2013 RAV4 small SUV goes on sale in January marking the start of its fourth generation. The new RAV4 is a reinvention of the world?s original crossover vehicle.

This 2013 Toyota RAV4 isn?t a radical departure from the original concept, but this latest iteration bows, displaying a dynamic exterior featuring a sleek roofline and boldly aggressive character lines and a streamlined silhouette. The form begins with Halogen projector beam headlights, a low sloping hood, boldly sculpted front and rear fenders, and the arc of the roofline leads rearward to the new prominently-styled taillamps. There?s a functional roof spoiler that not only extends the roofline, but also features a brilliant LED center brake light. It will deliver balanced performance and capability, along with impressive fuel economy, class-leading cargo capacity in a strikingly designed form, with an extensive inventory of standard features and amenities.

2013 Toyota RAV4 - rear-viewIn a significant departure from the original RAV4?s heritage, the new RAV4 moves from a side-hinged rear door to a more convenient roof-hinged liftgate and the rear door-mounted spare has been eliminated and replaced by a space-saver spare that?s stored beneath the rear cargo floor. As on other recent Toyota vehicles, the engineering team concentrate on improving the aerodynamics by incorporating small vortex generators molded into the taillight cases and near the A-pillar bases. There are also undertrays beneath the passenger cabin that aid in smoothing and controlling underbody airflow.

2013 Toyota RAV4 - Engine CompartmentThe 2013 Toyota RAV4 will be available in three levels of trim: the base LE; a more upscale XLE; and the flagship Limited model. All models will be powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with dual VVT-I and electronic Toyota Direct Ignition with sequential fuel injection. The transversely mounted front engine develops 178 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while generating 172 pound feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Motive force is delivered to either the front wheels or to all four wheels with Dynamic Torque Control, through a six-speed automatic with ECT-I and manual shift capability with two driving modes: ECO and Sport. There is no longer a V6 option.

RAV4 is tailored to meet the needs of the compact SUV or crossover market that it originally created. In addition to the fuel-efficient engine and new six-speed transmission, it offers two-row, five passenger seating and state-of-the art in-cabin technologies.

2013 Toyota RAV4 - InteriorThe RAV4?s interior now comes with a more premium appearance, showcasing soft-touch surfaces and accents along with driver-focused controls. The asymmetrical dash panel is driver-centric with both primary and secondary controls within easy reach, while on the passenger side, a smoothly flowing, scalloped dash panel creates an airy feel to the cabin. All RAV4?s will feature 60/40 split/fold second-row seats that recline, enhancing passenger comfort, along with retractable head restraints that allow for improved driver visibility.

Standard features and equipment include: Display Audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and AUX mini-jack and six speakers. The display Audio and primary as well as secondary gauges are highlighted by Clear Blue illumination. The Display Audio displays and engages HVAC settings, available Navigation and Entune? multi-media system. The Multi-information display is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel?s right side.

I was afforded the opportunity to experience seat time in both FWD and AWD pre-production prototype versions of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 during the national press preview, spending most of my time in a vehicle in XLE trim in the AWD configuration. The exterior was sprayed Graphite Gray metallic, with a light gray and charcoal interior. The base price was set at $24,290 while the final sticker came to $26,540 after adding optional features.

SUMMARY: The 2013 Toyota RAV4, while remaining true to the original in terms of concept and purpose, is a vastly improved and much more attractive vehicle entering its fourth generation.

There are those who will complain about the lack of a V6 powerplant, but in reality, the 2.5-liter four-banger delivers more than enough power, with the advantage of greater fuel economy. The ride quality is extremely stable and the handling characteristics lean to the sporty side of the equation, especially when in the Sport mode. Press the Eco mode button and power output is reined in significantly. Normal mode is, well?.normal.

The AWD system incorporates an AWD lock button that allows the driver to lock torque distribution in a fixed, 50/50 ratio (front/rear) at speeds up to 25 mph. The system reverts to Auto mode automatically above 25-mph. Front Wheel drive models feature an Automatic Limited Slip Differential that may be engaged by the driver at low speeds.

2013 Toyota RAV4 - wheelsSafety features include: Toyota?s Star Safety System, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force distribution, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, ABS and Smart Stop Technology, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats.

This latest Toyota RAV4 is a gem of a crossover that reflects the incorporation of customer input, resulting in a vastly improved vehicle over the original.


Base Price: $24,290
Price as Tested: $26,540
Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with dual VVT-I and electronic Toyota Direct Ignition with sequential fuel injection
Horsepower (bhp): 178 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 172 @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with ECT-I and manual shift capability with two driving modes: ECO and Sport
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Control
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut with 1.0? stabilizer bar.

Rear – Double wishbone, coil spring with 0.91? stabilizer bar

Brakes: Power assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, VSC, TRAC, EBD, BA, and SST
Tires: Dunlop Grandtrek P225/65 R17 -102H All-season blackwall mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels
Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
Length Overall: 179.9 inches
Width: 72.6 inches
Height: 67.1 inches with roof rails (65.4? without)
Curb Weight: 3,585 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.329
0 – 60 mph: Not tested




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