Toyota’s fourth-generation RAV4 arrives in January, a reinvention of the world’s original crossover sport utility vehicle. The new RAV4 offers balanced performance and capability, including great fuel efficiency, class-leading cargo capacity, striking design, and a compelling array of standard features. RAV4 is available in three trim levels: LE, XLE and Limited.

RAV4 was the original crossover SUV, a design and engineering concept now widely adopted throughout the industry,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “But RAV4 is the original, the first. For 2013, RAV4 is carefully tailored to the needs of the compact SUV market it created, with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a new six-speed automatic transmission, two-row seating for five and exceptional in-cabin technologies.”

New RAV4: Dynamic exterior, sleek roofline, aggressive character lines

The 2013 RAV4 remains true to the original RAV4 concept, scaled to suit the needs of contemporary buyers.

The new RAV4’s design achieves strong proportions while conveying the agile and fun character. The dynamic exterior features a progressive silhouette, with a sleek-sloping roofline and an aggressive character line. The new RAV4’s interior has a premium look with soft-touch accents and driver-centric controls.

RAV4 pursues the design goals defined by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, with aggressively sculpted front and rear fenders, a low hood, the arc of the roofline and boldly proportioned taillights that define RAV4’s athletic presence.

In a significant break with its heritage, RAV4 will switch from its side-hinged rear door to a convenient roof-hinged liftgate with a space-saver spare tire stored under the cargo floor. Standard on the Limited grade will be a one-touch power rear liftgate with driver-selectable memory height settings.

As on other recently introduced Toyotas, RAV4 engineers paid special attention to aerodynamics, the most obvious detail being small vortex generators molded into the taillight cases and near the base of the A-pillars. Less obvious are the aerodynamic undertrays beneath the passenger cabin that help smooth and control airflow.

Halogen headlights with projector low beams give RAV4 a modern look, and provide outstanding illumination in an energy-efficient package. Brightness reduced, RAV4 high beams serve as Daytime Running Lights (DRL)that can be turned off. RAV4 XLE and Limited feature standard fog lamps that complement RAV4’s front architecture.

Following body engineering principles debuted in the 2012 Camry and 2013 Avalon, RAV4’s body structure includes high-strength steel to help achieve several significant goals, including a robust and stiff platform that enhances steering and handling precision, and a body structure that is both strong and light. RAV4 engineers used several grades of high-strength steel to form key structural components in the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and door frames. A strut tower bar links the top of the suspension strut towers to the main bulkhead at the rear of the engine, helping to increase torsional rigidity.

Spacious interior design, premium materials, class-leading cargo volume

RAV4’s “human factors” engineers and designers collaborated to create a versatile seating arrangement, class-leading cargo space, and a quiet interior with high levels of standard equipment.

RAV4’s dash panel and gauges all feature a new Clear Blue illumination, which provides crisp visibility in most ambient light conditions, and a unified, coherent appearance at night.

All RAV4’s will have driver and front passenger seats with high seatbacks and a slim back, enhancing rear-passenger knee room. The RAV4 LE and XLE driver’s seat is six-way adjustable, including seat height.

The RAV4 XLE driver and front passenger will ride in premium bucket seats with sport bolstering, providing ample support of the lower hips, lower torso and shoulders during cornering. The XLE will have premium fabric with French stitching on the seats and portions of the dash panels.

The Limited comes equipped with driver and front-passenger seat bottom and seat back heaters in two temperature settings. Limited has the same premium bucket seats found in the XLE but will also come equipped with an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory and lumbar support. All RAV4 Limited seats are trimmed in high-quality, breathable SofTex with French stitching. SofTex also covers the center armrest, and portions of the door and dash panels.

All RAV4’s will feature 60/40 split/fold second-row seats that recline several degrees to enhance passenger comfort and retractable head restraints for improved driver rear visibility.

Standard back-up camera, Entune, Display Audio with a 6.1-in. touchscreen

Standard on all RAV4 models is Display Audio with a 6.1-in. touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetoothconnectivity, USB and AUX mini-jack, and six speakers. For a uniform esthetic, the Display Audio, as well as primary and secondary gauges, features Clear Blue Illumination.

Display Audio allows the driver and front passenger to operate the audio system, display HVAC settings, engage available navigation and access the available Entune multi-media system. Available on XLE and Limited, Display Audio with Navigation and Entune includes advanced voice recognition.

The Multi-Information Display (MID) is controlled through buttons on the right-hand spoke of the steering wheel. The MID provides an array of information including: distance to empty; average fuel economy; instant fuel economy; selected gear transmission; warnings, including low fuel, battery, TPMS, and more.

New six-speed AT, dynamic torque control AWD, Sport and ECO Modes

For 2013, RAV4 will provide a number of powertrain technologies that help deliver an engaging and satisfying driving experience. RAV4 is available with Toyota’s 2.5-liter (2494cc) naturally aspirated four-cylinder, which produces 176 SAE net horsepower at 6000 rpm and 172 lbs-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. The optional V6 of the previous-generation RAV4 has been discontinued.

Replacing the previous-generation RAV4’s four-speed automatic is a six-speed transmission. First and second gear ratios are optimized for around-town performance. To enhance highway fuel mileage, fifth and sixth gears are overdrives.

Flex lock-up control can lock the transmission’s torque converter at speeds as low as approximately 12 mph, a marked difference from the previous generation’s approximately 25 mph engagement speed. RAV4’s flex lock-up control torque converter helps increase efficiency while also smoothing powertrain performance.

The all-new RAV4’s fuel efficiency is improved from the previous generation. RAV4 has a moderate compression ratio of 10.4:1 and runs on 87 octane regular gasoline, which can help limit the cost of ownership. A new Eco mode also promotes more efficient driving for maximum mpg. RAV4 front-wheel drive models have received EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drivemodels are EPA-estimated at 22/29 mpg.

When the all new Sport mode (standard on AWD models) is selected, torque transfer to the rear wheels will start from the moment the steering wheel is turned. The new Dynamic Torque Control AWD System, with the feedback from driver steering input, will adjust automatically a 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to reduce the load on the front tires.

If later, an actual understeer develops, torque transfer to the rear wheels are automatically increased by up to 50 percent, further reducing front tire loading to provide improved lateral grip.

In both front- and all-wheel drive RAV4s, Sport Mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response, and steering response. When down shifting the RAV4 six-speed automatic transmission in “S” Mode, engine revs rise with a clearly audible “blip,” adding to the driving experience.

The RAV4s new Dynamic Torque Control AWD system automatically shifts from front-wheel drive (FWD) to AWD when accelerating or when sensors detect wheel slippage.

Front-drive RAV4’s feature an Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD), which can be engaged by the driver at low speeds. Through pulsed application of the individual front brakes, Auto LSD helps direct power across the front axle, simulating the function of a limited-slip differential. Auto LSD is essentially a second layer of computer logic in the Traction Control system that can be engaged in certain low-speed situations, up to approximately 25 mph. Unlike Traction Control, Auto LSD allows a measure of controlled drive-wheel spin to help “dig” out of difficult conditions, like a sandy patch on an unpaved road leading to a campsite, or a driveway covered with snow.

RAV4 models with AWD have a single-speed transfer case that can smoothly deliver power to the rear wheels while enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing friction in the driveline. The aluminum case is a light, compact design, limiting weight at the front of the vehicle. Low-viscosity lubricant helps reduce friction and contributes to enhanced energy efficiency.

The RAV4 LE will roll on standard 17-inch steel wheels wrapped with P225/65R17 radials. RAV4 XLE comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels with P225/65R17 all-season radials. RAV4 Limited is fitted with machine-finished 18-in. alloy wheels with P235/55R18 all-season radials. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all grades.

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