The vehicle that created the small sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment is making its fifth-generation debut at the New York International Auto Show this week. During the last five years, Toyota RAV4 volume has doubled – demonstrating the segment’s attractiveness via growth to all automakers.
RAV4 currently ranks as the number-one-selling vehicle in the Toyota lineup, as well as the best-selling non-pickup-truck in the U.S.A. Gen 5 RV4 appears at the end of 2018, with hybrid models in early 2019), we predict that the all-new RAV4 will stay at the forefront for the Toyota brand and perhaps the overcrowded segment.
The use of the emerging TNGA platform – Toyota New Global Architecture, a modular unibody – allows a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks to provide a stable driving. For off-road driving, the shorter front and rear overhangs will aid in RAV4’s ability to overcome rugged terrain or Michigan public highways.
Toyota says the unibody chassis is 57% more rigid than the outgoing version. RAV4 has a multi-link rear suspension. Ground clearance has been increased by more than half an inch, yet RAV4 is able to achieve improved aerodynamics.
The relocated side mirrors are now positioned lower on the door for increased forward visibility around the A-pillar. Side visibility is increased thanks to a lowered beltline and the redesigned and enlarged rear-quarter glass assists with rear-diagonal visibility.
There are two powertrains: a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with VVT-iE and an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission, for the the five gas models; and a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) engine with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT), for the four hybrid models.
The engine it’s claimed has a high-speed combustion technology and a variable control system for greater thermal efficiency output, which reduces energy losses associated with exhaust and cooling systems and the movement of mechanical parts, among other factors. With a 40% thermal efficiency (41% for hybrids), the 2.5-liter cylinder is said to be responsive yet fuel efficient. The Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides lock-up from gears two through eight to eliminate power loss from the torque converter.
The claimed Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect allows non-texting drivers to steer the vehicle as intended, even on the toughest of roads. Standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect can send 50 % of engine torque to the rear wheels, plus distribute it to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling.
When AWD isn’t required (highway driving, eg), RAV4 can achieve better fuel economy thanks to its Rear Driveline Disconnect system. The disconnection features the world’s first ratchet-type dog clutches on both the front and rear wheel shafts. These clutches stop the driveshaft’s rotations, thus transmitting the driving force to the front wheels when AWD isn’t required, significantly reducing energy loss, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing rotational vibration making for a smoother ride.
This all-new AWD system is one of three available on the all-new RAV4; it joins the AWD-i system available on hybrid grades and the (non-Dynamic Torque Vectoring) AWD system available on core gas grades.
When paired with the new All-Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), RAV4 Hybrid increases the total torque to the rear wheels—which is electronically driven—by 30% compared to the current generation AWD-i system. By adopting a new control system that optimally distributes torque to the rear wheels based on the driving conditions, the new AWD-i system is said to have high off-road performance, handling, and ability.
XSE is an all-new addition to RAV4’s Hybrid family in Toyota’s unending quest to move from frumpy but reliable to sporty. Black accents across the front end, mirror caps, fender arches, and lower rockers set the stage for XSE Hybrid’s sporty appeal that harkens back to, what, the 1970s as a performance marketing garb. Unique to RAV4 Hybrids, there are projector-beam LED headlamps on XLE and higher trims) for a brighter, and sharper illumination.
Performance-wise, XSE Hybrid has enhanced power and acceleration. When paired with its sport-tuned suspension with more aggressive shock absorbers and springs, RAV4 XSE Hybrid is the quickest and best-handling – at least on paper – RAV4 in the lineup. In any RAV4 Hybrid, Toyota boasts that drivers can look for anticipated class-leading fuel efficiency and increases in horsepower and acceleration, respectively.
RAV4 comes standard with TSS 2.0, the second generation of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). The updated safety package adds new active-safety technologies and capabilities that enhance protection.
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD):
Capability to detect a preceding vehicle or pedestrian in daytime or with better low-light recognition capabilities, or daytime bicyclist (new), and alert the driver (audible and visual warnings) and/or apply brakes to help mitigate or avoid the collision in certain cases (using Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Brake Assist (BA), and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)).
Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC):
For highways/freeways only – an adaptive cruise control that functions at speeds between 0 to 110 mph and enables low-speed speed matching, stopping, and acceleration/deceleration relative to a preceding vehicle traveling at a slower speed. Speed, cut-in, and distance control enhanced, as well as Turn Signal Linked control added, for a more natural response.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA):
Newly added to LDA w/SA is the capability, under some circumstances, to detect the road’s edge, in addition to the pre-existing capability to detect visible lane markers and the vehicle’s position in the lane. If unintentional lane deviation is detected, the system alerts the driver with audible and visual warnings. Steering Assist can provide small corrective steering inputs to help the driver prevent the vehicle from unintentionally leaving its lane.
Automatic High Beam (AHB):
Capability to automatically activate and deactivate high beams based on driving environment and preceding vehicle’s lights.
Lane Tracing Assist (LTA):
For highways/freeways only and can be enabled when using DRCC – Capability to recognize white or yellow lane markings or the path of a preceding vehicle if lane markers are temporarily unavailable; to identify and actively track the center of the lane by providing steering assistance to the driver (hands-on, driver-assist system). Reduces driver burden and supports safe driving, especially in traffic congestion or long highway trips. The LTA system can be turned on/off.
Road Sign Assist (RSA):
Capability to identify certain Stop, Yield, Do Not Enter and Speed Limit signs and display a warning (visual and audible alerts). Alerts vary based on sign type and are displayed on the Multi-Information Display.
Eight airbags come standard as well as Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Available safety technologies include Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Bird’s Eye View Camera, Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), and Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) system. RAV4 comes equipped with a standard backup camera and standard Electronic Parking Brake (EPB).
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states, hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles except for the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.
Standard ToyotaCare covers complimentary normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Two years of roadside assistance coverage is also provided with each new purchase.