Ever since it was introduced to American car buyers in the 1996 model year, the Toyota RAV4 has been popular a popular compact SUV. The vehicle has long been known as a reliable small Ute full of convenience features and built to retain its value.
Toyota has given the public its first peek at the new 2013 RAV4, full of design changes that align the model to better take on models such as the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape. The 2013 RAV4 release date will occur in January 2013.
Taking On Its Competitors Head-On
Competition in the small and mid-size SUV segment has always been fierce, and the movement toward appeasing a larger consumer base has become a battleground. In addition to American and Japanese models, Korean and German automakers have also entered the fray with highly competitive models.
This has not been lost on Toyota, as the RAV4 was getting long in the tooth with its last generation debuting as a 2006 model. The new 2013 has a new exterior design, is built on a modified platform, and incorporates new technology into the powertrain.
Big Design Changes For 2013
Toyota debuted the all-new RAV4 at the LA Auto Show in November 2012. The model is built on a new platform. The overall size has increased and there is even more cargo storage space. The RAV4 already had the best cargo space of any compact SUV.
The new RAV4 is destined as a move in the direction of functionality as a mainstream crossover. The lines are sleeker; the front end has been redesigned with a new grille, and roofline is stretched and more aerodynamically swept backwards. And the dated spare tire hanging off the side-hinged rear door have both been ditched.
For a gallery of pictures of the 2013 RAV4, click here.
Engine and Powertrain
The big news in terms of engine choices is that the 2013 RAV4 has ditched the V6 engine option. The 2012 model offered the choice of a 4-cylinder, 2.5L engine or a larger 3.5L V6 that delivered 269 horsepower.
The 2013 RAV4 is aiming for fuel economy with merely sufficient power coming from its 4-cylinder 2.5-liter 176 horsepower engine. The big change is the jump to a new six-speed automatic transmission that helps boost fuel economy in the model to 24-mpg city and 31-mpg freeway. Even with all-wheel drive, the model comes in at 22-mpg city/29-mpg highway, which is competitive with its peers. The model also comes standard with sequential shift and Sport and Eco shifting modes.
Interior Amenities and Safety
The 2013 Toyota RAV4 comes standard with full power accessories and a 6.1-inch LCD touch screen with a backup camera and Bluetooth. The rear seats do recline several degrees for added comfort.
In terms of safety, the RAV4 is built to protect its occupants with a class-leading eight standard airbags. Optional safety features includes a rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.
Putting it All Together
The 2013 RAV will be available in LE, XLE, and Limited trim lines. The LE has a suggested manufacturer’s retail price of $24,145, including destination, which is a jump of $645 from 2012. The XLE trim starts at $25,135 and offers 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone climate control, sunroof and navigations. The Limited, with its 18-inch wheels, power lift gate, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver seat, goes for $27,855. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 option on all trim lines.
The new RAV4 is a compelling blend of modern design, utility, safety, class-leading cargo capacity, and amenities. The model goes on sale in North America in January 2013. Toyota is also selling an all-electric version of the RAV4 for the 2013 model year, which is based on the prior year’s platform. A hybrid RAV4 may also be in development.