The all-new 2013 RAV4 is the fourthgeneration of Toyota’s popular crossover utility vehicle. The new design features a sleek-sloping roofline, an aggressive character line, sculpted front and rear fenders and boldly proportioned taillights. The new interior has a premium, sophisticated look with soft-touch accents and drivercentric controls.
In a break with its heritage, RAV4 switched from its side-hinged rear door to a convenient roof-hinged liftgate, with a space-saver spare tire stored beneath the cargo floor. Standard on the Limited grade is a one-touch power rear liftgate with driver-selectable memory height settings. There’s two-row seating for five and a host of available in-cabin technologies.
RAV4 offers a balance of performance and all-around capability, including excellent cargo capacity, striking design, eight standard airbags and a broad array of standard features. It’s available in three grades — LE, XLE and Limited.
For power, there’s a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine mated to a new sixspeed transmission. There are several powertrain technologies, including a 2.5- liter four-cylinder that produces 176 hp at 6,000 rpm and 172 pounds-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. The optional V-6 of the previous- generation RAV4 has been discontinued. A six-speed transmission with Sequential Shift replaces the previous four-speed automatic. First and second gear ratios have been optimized for around-town performance. To keep engine revs lower at highway speeds and enhance fuel mileage, fifth and sixth gears are overdrives.
RAV4 front-wheel-drive models have an EPA- rated fuel efficiency of 24/31 mpg, while all-wheel-drive models get 22/29 mpg. A new Eco mode is designed to promote more efficient driving and enhance fuel efficiency. The new RAV4 also delivers a more dynamic drive, with new technologies like a Sport Mode with Dynamic Torque Control AWD, enhancements in suspension performance and optimized electric power steering. The spring rates have been enhanced and the shock absorbers have been optimally tuned to enhance handling characteristics. RAV4 has a MacPherson strut front suspension, double-wishbone rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The LE rides on 17-inch steel wheels, XLE on 17-inch alloys and the Limited on 18-inch alloys.
In both front- and all-wheel drive RAV4’s 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. In RAV4 with AWD, Dynamic Torque Control AWD has additional benefits. When turning into and through a corner, power is sent to the rear wheels to help enhance cornering performance, detecting steering angle and lack of yaw rate in Sport Mode (and detecting lack of yaw rate in Normal and Eco Mode). The MSRP on the 2013 Toyota RAV4 ranges from $23,300 to $28,410. Grant Miller is the publisher of Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, or by addressing email to <Grant@communitynewspapers. com>.