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.
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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.