2013 Toyota RAV4 Trades V6, Third Row for Attractive Styling, Sport Mode

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2013 Toyota RAV4 Trades V6, Third Row for Attractive Styling, Sport Mode
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Sporting a bold new look and even a “sport mode”, with the 2013 RAV4 Toyota is looking to win over customers with a little excitement rather than slog it out in the fuel economy war.

That’s not to say fuel economy isn’t a big part of the 2013 RAV4, with a new six-speed automatic replacing the old four speed unit. The result is improved fuel economy up from 22/28 mpg to a new 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway rating with a 22/29 rating for AWD models. Still, those numbers are not class-leading.

Power continues to come from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder though output is actually down three ponies to 176 hp, while torque stays even at 172 lb-ft. As for the more fuel-thirsty V6, it’s been dropped entirely.

Of note, AWD models get three drive modes: Auto, Lock and Sport. In auto mode power is sent to the front wheels, with the rears being given torque when slip is detected. Lock mode can be engaged at speeds below 25 mph and engages a full-time AWD system, with up to 50 percent of the power headed to the rear wheels. Above 25 mph the system reverts to Auto mode. And finally, there’s a Sport mode where up to 50 percent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels, while other car characteristics are heightened, including faster shifts as well as more immediate throttle and steering response. Front drive models also get a sport mode with similar, steering, transmission and throttle changes. In addition, sport mode will even “blip” the throttle on down shifts.

SEE MORE: 2012 LA Auto Show Coverage

While full exterior dimensions have yet to be released, the new RAV4 has dropped its available third row, while cargo room has gone up slightly to 38.4 cu-ft behind the 60/40 split (and reclining) 2nd row seats, while total cargo room is rated higher again at 73.4 cu-ft – which Toyota claims is best-in-class.

Access to the trunk area now comes via a roof-hinged liftgate, not a side-swinger, with a spare tire located under the cargo floor. A power rear liftgate is also available.

All RAV4 models will come equipped with steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, and a 6.1-inch display audio screen with a back-up camera, plus 8 airbags. Optional extras include a Blind Spot Minor that includes a Rear Cross Traffic Alert feature to alert the driver if another vehicle is approaching from the sides, when traveling at speeds below 15 mph.

Available in LE, XLE, and Limited trim levels, the 2013 RAV4 will go on sale early in 2013 with pricing to be announced closer to that date.

GALLERY: 2013 Toyota RAV4

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  • G978

    Attractive? I think the consensus is that this is ham fisted at the front and pinched at the sides and back. They did the right thing getting rid of the V6 and the third row – they have followed all the other offerings in this class.

  • Brian Sullivan

    I have a 2011 LE with a V6 and it is great.  I am disappointed it is not an option.  The V6 is fantastic for my business when I am carrying equipment and some passengers.  The mileage figures were not that different from the 4 cylinder.  How is getting rid of the V6 the right thing to do?  All  it does is improve Toyota’s CAFE numbers.

  • Bing

    I am an owner of the 2010 v6 Awd and am upset at the elimination of the V6.  This is a fantastic vehicle with the V6 and despite what Toyota says,  it gets better REAL World mpg than the 4cylinder Rav4 in my personal experience.
    Now it will be slower than the Scion XB and twice the price.
    I will be looking at the 2013 Acura RDX awd V6. 

  • Tom

    I have a 2012 RAV4 Sport with the V6. I’m happy to have bought a RAV4 V6 before the V6 was dropped.

  • GregM

    Why on Earth would Toyota drop the V6?? The fuel economy argument doesn’t hold water. I own a 2007 AWD V6 and it’s gas mileage is nearly identical to the 4. One of the main selling points for me was the optional V6. The V6 has great power and it’s super smooth. The extra power is fantastic, especially when passing or when loaded down. Also, the V6-equipped RAV4’s have a smoother ride over the 4’s due to the additional weight. I’ve driven both and there is a noticeable difference. Dropping the V6 is a bad move.
    Also disappointing is moving the spare tire to under the cargo floor. On the 2007-2012 models there is a large, underfloor storage compartment in the back. That area will surely now be consumed by the spare tire in the new model. So despite what Toyota claims, the overall cargo area will be less in the new model.
    As for the new styling…..I don’t mind the rear, as it sorta mimics the rear of the Highlander. The front however looks and feels forced.
    If I were in the market for a new vehicle of this type, I’d run out and grab up a 2012 V6 before they’re gone.

  • TmEdmonton

    Dropping the V6 is a mistake, this car is underpowered with just the four, especially with more a family and luggage. My wife has an 08′ sport with the six, she was 100% going to go with another Rav, now not so much.