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The new-generation Toyota RAV4 has been revealed ahead of its Australian debut in early 2019, with the revamped mid-sized SUV bringing a far more robust design to the Toyota SUV stable.
The all-new model is the fifth-generation model of the RAV4, and for the first time it will be offered with a hybrid drivetrain in Australia. In fact, it’s the first time Toyota has offered a hybrid SUV locally, ever.
The Japanese brand’s local arm has confirmed the new model will be offered with both a regular petrol version and a petrol-electric hybrid model, both of which will make use of a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine.
The petrol will use an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid version will use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto.
Petrol versions will also come with the option of a Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which Toyota says can send “50 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels and distribute it to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling”. It’s expected lower-grade versions will be front-wheel drive.
The new-generation model not only sports more aggressive styling than its predecessor, it also rides upon a more sophisticated platform - Toyota’s New Generation Architecture (TNGA) which also underpins the new Camry, Corolla, Prius and C-HR.
That platform brings with it a revamped suspension setup, considering of a new multi-link rear suspension layout and improved chassis rigidity to “contribute to improved handling, minimum interior cabin noise and excellent ride comfort”.
The new platform is also said to aid a more enjoyable drive by way of an improved driving position, plus with a lower centre of gravity than its predecessor to make it more fun in corners.
As for the design, it’s a dramatic departure from what we’ve seen from Toyota’s SUV line to this point - while the C-HR is eye-catching, the new RAV4 could be a bit polarising.
According to Toyota, the company’s designers had a couple of keywords they worked towards - “adventure” and “refined”. As a result, it is wider, lower and roomier - Toyota says the back seat has better legroom than before, and that’s despite the fact it isn’t any bigger than the fourth-generation RAV4 that preceded it.
In fact, the length of the RAV4 is 4595mm (-10mm), while the width is 1855mm (+10mm), and the height is 1700mm (-10mm). The extra legroom comes by way of a longer wheelbase, now 2690mm (+30mm).
Alongside the regular RAV4, a RAV4 Adventure model made its debut, with a bulkier look than the regular model incorporating high roof-rails, wheel-arch extensions, a more aggressive grille, fog-light surrounds and model-specific wheels.
Toyota has confirmed every single 2019 RAV4 sold in Australia will come with an extensive safety equipment package consisting of a pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection and auto emergency braking (AEB), radar cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, and auto high-beam headlights.
According to Toyota Australia vice-president for sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, the addition of the hybrid RAV4 is an important move for the brand - it’s the first hybrid SUV it has offered in Australia.
“The combination of Toyota’s latest hybrid system and a new Dynamic Force petrol engine will deliver impressive power output and exceptional energy efficiency,” Mr Hanley said.
“Toyota’s hybrid technology will perfectly complement the work of engineers who have dialled-up the fun-to-drive factor by advancing every aspect of RAV4’s performance, handling and ride comfort.
“Together with the robust exterior styling and sophisticated interior, the new RAV4 will offer even greater appeal to people with active lifestyles who want to explore the city, make a weekend trip to the country or head onto off-road trails.”
We’re awaiting more information like Australian pricing and specs for the new-generation model, so stay tuned for additional info as it comes to hand.