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The latest generation of Toyota's versatile RAV4 small SUV has arrived, building on its solid reputation with Kiwi drivers as a capable all-rounder, suitable for recreational, family and business users alike.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell says, "Traditionally the versatile RAV4 has suited a huge variety of different lifestyles and uses. Just like previous generations, the new model's abilities don't end at the city limits.
"With a higher degree of specification, increased interior space and a sportier on-road experience for drivers, the new more refined RAV4 will enjoy similarly broad appeal as a sure-footed, go-anywhere SUV."
Boasting a stylishly aggressive exterior and a significant up-shift in standard specification across the range, the 2013 RAV4 showcases a sharp new look, with a tough, durable resin finish around the base of the vehicle not only emphasising the RAV4's muscular stance, but also providing increased off-road protection.
Under the bonnet, three engine options all delivering improved on-road performance and fuel economy give customers a greater degree of choice in matching a RAV4 to their specific requirements.
In addition to a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, there is also a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel and a new 2.5-litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine on offer.
For the first time RAV4's turbo diesel engine is also matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, incorporating a suite of advanced technologies, including AI-Control (Artificial Intelligence Control) which automatically changes shift patterns in response to road conditions and driver inputs, along with AWD Cooperative Sports Mode which is designed to extract a higher level of performance from the all-wheel drive system, EPS, engine and transmission, proactively controlling torque distribution between front and rear wheels under normal driving situations as well as when encountering more difficult road conditions.
A separate mode delivers intelligent manual-style sequential-shifting between gears, while a blipping downshift control action maximises the sportier driving experience when shifting through gears sequentially in SPORT mode. Meanwhile ECO Drive Mode regulates engine output and air conditioning (heating and cooling) operational parameters to achieve the best possible fuel economy.
The six-speed automatic transmission is joined by a seven-step Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with sequential shift M Mode function, SPORT and ECO modes exclusively available in two-wheel drive GX and GXL models.
With a reputation for providing a reassuring level of capability in a huge variety of challenging conditions, the fourth generation RAV4 also benefits from a newly redeveloped active all-wheel drive system.
Known as Dynamic Torque Control AWD, the system continuously optimises torque transfer between the front and rear wheels, from 100:0 to 50:50. Front-wheel drive (100:0) is engaged in normal driving scenarios to improve fuel economy.
On slippery roads or in snowy conditions where available traction is less than optimum, Dynamic Torque Control AWD achieves better acceleration and start-off stability. The system effortlessly enhances cornering and handling stability in a variety of situations.
AWD models also feature Downhill Assist Control and all-new SPORT Mode which, when selected, will transfer torque to the vehicle's rear wheels from the moment the steering wheel is turned. This system automatically adjusts to provide 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to reduce the load on the front tyres. The system will also modify the RAV4's power steering, throttle and transmission characteristics accordingly. Meanwhile AWD Lock can lock torque distribution at a fixed 50:50 ratio at speeds up to 40km/h.
As part of the VSC system available on two-wheel drive GX and GXL models, an Auto Limited Slip Differential (LSD) aids traction by mitigating wheel spin in similarly slippery conditions. As a result the new RAV4 meets the sure-footed expectations of any driver, whether they are tackling a rain-soaked urban incline, or a fast-flowing forest access road.
The new RAV4 also showcases a completely redesigned, refined interior that utilises high grade trim materials. All grades include an intuitive 6.1" touchscreen audio interface, while Limited models also receive satellite navigation, a Blind Spot Monitoring system, dual zone climate control and heated front seats. Bluetooth phone and audio streaming capability, voice recognition software and a combination of AUX/USB inputs are also available in every model of RAV4.
A huge array of convenience items feature in the well-proportioned boot. Cargo hooks, hidden storage compartments, a tonneau cover and a separate cargo net (that slots away under the luggage area when not needed) all come as standard with every RAV4.
With an array of active and passive safety measures onboard, the five-star Euro NCAP and ANCAP safety-rated RAV4 confidently meets the demands of a variety of lifestyle application.