2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The Toyota RAV4 is considered to be the founder of the SUV segment. Twelve years after the first birth, the third generation should bring the off-roader back to the top of the class.
By Thomas Flehmer, Cascais
Toyota is sending the third generation of the RAV4 into the race with high expectations. The grandson of the grandfather of the SUV segment, who founded the new class twelve years ago, is supposed to restore the honor of the predecessor. With changes to the design, bodywork, seat concept and engine, the new RAV4 should once again take over dominance in the class that the BMW X3 holds in Germany. "The new RAV4 offers the best prerequisites for underlining the leadership claim," said Toyota Product Manager Felix Büttner at the presentation in Cascais, Portugal.
Tamer gasoline engine
That is also necessary, because the RAV4 is, along with the Corolla, the entry-level model for new customers of the Japanese automaker. So far, the RAV4 has been sold two million times worldwide, with 120,000 buyers in Germany over the past twelve years. Toyota is now giving the former market leader in the segment time to catch up with the German competitor and regain the top spot. 18,000 units of the SUV, which will be available from dealerships from March 4th, are to be sold this year; BMW was able to sell 22,000 units in 2005.
At least the petrol engine still needs a little time. The 2.0 VVT-i received 112 kW / 152 PS and a maximum torque of 194 Nm. But not only off-road, but also on the Portuguese coastal roads, the horse power of the 1.6-ton vehicle was hardly noticeable. The performance got going a bit slowly.
2.2 D-Cat the bearer of hope
Speaking of gears: the gasoline engine is only equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. At a faster pace, the sixth gear is badly missed. This is also noticeable in the interior. The VVT-i is louder than the top model, the 2.2 D-Cat diesel. But Toyota will not give the gasoline engine a sixth gear. Those responsible assume that only around 15 percent will opt for the gasoline engine anyway.
While the gasoline engine hardly intervenes in the battle for market leadership, the responsibility lies with the 2.2 D-Cat. And here Toyota can score fully. The 130 kW / 177 PS come into their own. A top speed of 200 km / h and a torque of 400 Nm at 2000 rpm are good values. However, the Nm curve quickly drops again at higher engine speeds. But an off-road vehicle shouldn't really shine on the autobahn, although the sprint from zero to 100 in 9.3 seconds is quite decent.
Variable all-wheel drive
But the D-Cat, which is already used in the Avensis and Corolla Verso, not only promises a lot of pleasure in terms of engine power. According to Toyota, the standard particulate filter is the cleanest in its class. And consumption is also impressive. Toyota speaks of seven liters. This is made possible by an integrated driving dynamics system that connects all safety and driver assistants with one another.
So the all-wheel drive works variably. Depending on the road situation, it distributes the drive between 100: 0 and 55:45 percent in favor of the front axle. The electric power steering, which also steers the new Prius, helps out in complicated situations. Hill start and hill descent controls are particularly important for off-road drivers. ESP and anti-slip regulation are a matter of course, a whiplash protection system is helpful. "The third generation is more than just a new RAV4," says Büttner rightly, "the new RAV4 picks up where the current one left off."
A lot has changed in the interior compared to its predecessor. Here the materials are more valuable. And the new RAV has grown further after twelve years: 130 millimeters in length, 80 millimeters in width, five millimeters in height. The wheelbase, which has grown by 70 millimeters to 2.56 meters, offers more space. Entry was also made easier because the three-door model was dispensed with.
The Easy-Flat-System also offers a flat loading area of up to 1.50 meters and thus up to 1752 liters of storage space. The backrests in the rear can be folded back up to 30 percent so that a trip can be started comfortably there too. Only the seats provide a little too little lateral support for an off-road vehicle - it is sufficient for the motorway, as the occupants are shaken a lot off-road.
Price approach to BMW
Even so, the new RAV4 is well equipped to regain dominance. In terms of price, however, the off-roader is approaching the competitor from Bavaria. The starting price of 25,700 euros for the petrol engine is only cosmetic, since Toyota relies on the powerful diesel, which should make up 60 percent of all sales.
The “Sol” equipment variant starts at 29,600 euros, while the “Executive” version of the 2.2 D-Cat already costs 33,800 euros. There are also a lot of extras there, including keyless entry and starting. The tires are equipped with emergency running properties so that there is no need for a rear spare wheel. As an option, Toyota offers a reversing camera that helps both when parking and off-road and makes the battle for market leadership exciting for the next six years up to the age of majority.
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