Charge of the new RAV brigade

Buyers can tailor their car's features to suit their needs

The all-new RAV4 has a more aggressive profile than its somewhat playful-looking predecessors. Photo / Supplied
The all-new RAV4 has a more aggressive profile than its somewhat playful-looking predecessors. Photo / Supplied

The fourth generation of Toyota's RAV4 mid-size SUV has been revealed ahead of its New Zealand launch early next year.

The RAV4 was reviewed this week at the Los Angeles auto show, highlighting new exterior styling, significant upgrades to interior refinement and an expanded line-up.

Toyota New Zealand has sold 17,370 RAV4s since the first generation model debuted here in 1994.

Toyota NZ general manager of Product Planning, Neeraj Lala, says, "Not only does the new RAV4 have a striking new look, but we're also expanding the line-up to give customers the ability to match a RAV4 to suit their lifestyle.

"Kiwis will be able to choose from three different engines, including 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrols and a 2.2-litre turbo diesel available for the first time with a six-speed automatic transmission. Customers will have a choice of eight different variants in the extended RAV4 line-up including both all-wheel and front-wheel drivetrains."

The new RAV4 features a modern exterior design with a more aggressive, sportier silhouette. In a significant break from RAV4 heritage the side-opening rear hatch, which incorporated the spare wheel, is replaced with a practical, roof-hinged tailgate and under-floor spare wheel. Inside, the dashboard has been fine-tuned toward the driver, while the roomy cabin showcases increased specification and higher grade materials throughout.

The all-new fourth generation RAV4 range is expected to arrive in New Zealand showrooms in early 2013.

Toyota's head office also expects it to produce its best sales in the US in four years, and will boost deliveries of the vehicle by 18 per cent.

As it takes on the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape (known as the Kuga in NZ) and Mazda's CX-5, Toyota expects to sell 200,000 in the US next year, up from about 170,000 in 2012.

Meanwhile US sales of Toyota and its Lexus and Scion brands rose 30 per cent this year through October, more than double the industry-wide 13.8 per cent increase, matching the largest Japanese automaker's full-year target.

- NZ Herald

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