This is the fourth generation of the RAV4 and, at 4570mm long, it’s 205mm longer than the previous model and is identical in length to the new Honda CR-V. This includes a wheelbase that’s 100mm longer.
The all-new version follows the brand’s ‘keen look’ design language that made its debut on the new Toyota Auris. The RAV4 gets a low-mounted Toyota badge, angular lines and narrow headlights. There’s also a more muscular bumper with squared-off edges for a much more rugged look.
Just like the new Auris, Toyota says there’s a greater focus on driving dynamics, too. It has 10mm less ground clearance than before for a lower centre of gravity but maintains its off-road ability, according to Toyota.
Helping boost practicality is a new top-hinged boot that replaces the side-opening tailgate of the old car. The spare wheel is no longer mounted on the tailgate, either, so together the changes make it a lot easier to load in confined spaces.
The boot itself is big, too, with 547 litres of space – a massive 137 litre increase over the previous model. There’s also an electronic tailgate on mid-spec versions and above, which can be set at a specific height, say, just below you garage roof.
The interior is now higher quality and features a centrally-mounted touchscreen that will be standard across the range. Safety kit includes seven airbags and optional Blind Spot Monitor and Lane Departure Alert. Toyota is confident that the new RAV4 will score a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
The RAV4 will be offered with a 122bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, which has stop-start and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s expected to be the biggest seller and, with 58.6mpg and 127g/km, it’s also the most efficient. A second diesel, a 148bhp 2.2-litre, is available along with a 149bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine, which is only available with a CVT automatic gearbox.
The new RAV4 goes on sale in early 2013 and is expected to be slightly cheaper than the current car, which has a starting price of around £22,000.