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Bolder Toyota RAV4 unveiled at New York show

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The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 has been unveiled at the New York Auto Show – in a market where the SUV is the best-selling car.

Expected on UK sale early in 2019, the new RAV4 is the first model built on the brand’s Toyota New Global Architecture platform. This has a lower centre of gravity and more effective weight distribution than its predecessor, leading to improved economy and handling through the more rigid body construction.

Another aspect of the new platform is the wheelbase, extended by 30mm to free up more interior space. Combined with shorter front and rear overhangs, this produces a length of 4.6m, almost identical to the outgoing car. The new RAV4 is slightly wider and Toyota says luggage space is also increased, though by how much is yet to be revealed.

Significantly different is the styling, the new RAV4 given a distinctly bolder look designed to emphasise its credentials as an off-road SUV – the higher ground clearance evidence of this.

Toyota adds that both of the powertrains in the RAV4 will be new, a 2.0-litre petrol unit and a 2.5-litre hybrid. A diesel option is not expected to be offered, and it’s possible that UK buyers will only be able to choose the hybrid – performance and economy figures for which are yet to be released.

The hybrid uses a newly-developed electric motor drive that employs two electric motors, one on each axle. This format cuts energy losses which aids fuel economy, while offering an effective all-wheel-drive system. A front-wheel drive variant could also be offered.

When the new RAV4 goes on sale its biggest rival will be the Nissan Qashqai, British built and currently the UK’s best-selling SUV.

Toyota RAV4 The Car Expert

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.