Getting in first for the New York Motor Show, Toyota have just released details of their 5th generation RAV4.
Now, anyone who know me knows that I am a Subaru man. I have owned a Subaru Forester since the very first Forester was released in Australia around about 1990. I love Subaru's. They have never let me down. We have four Subaru's in our driveway right now—my son's, his fiancée's, and my two Foresters (my daily drive Gen 3 Forester that I take to work which has 271,000 klms on it, and my Gen 4 Forester).
But, I have to say, looking at the new RAV4, I might just be having a very good look at it when it makes it to Australia before I leap into the new Forester.
The Gen 5 RAV4 is lower, slightly longer, and slightly wider, than the model it is replacing. It will also have Toyota’s new 2.5-litre Dynamic Force DOHC low-bed in-line four-cylinder engine with VVT-iE from the Camry. This should give the RAV4 some much needed extra power. When I last test drove a RAV4 I found it somewhat under-powered.
This engine manages 133 kw in the Camry—which is somewhat underpowered for car the size of a Camry. But in the lighter RAV4 it might be a really nice match.
Another possible upside is that this engine runs on 91 RON petrol. If it turns out to provide the required performance, then you don't need to buy the highly over-priced 95 RON petrol—which used to be 4c dearer per litre than 91 RON when it first hit the pumps, but is now 12c dearer per litre.
The Gen 5 RAV4 is also likely to have the eight-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission from the Camry in place of the current—much unliked (sic)—Gen 4 model's CVT. Unlike many modern automatic transmissions, Toyota's eight-speed Direct-Shift transmission does use a torque converter; however—as I understand it—the converter only operates during the change and then each gear has almost instant direct-drive lock-up (excepting the the first gear). This is likely to provide improved economy and, possibly, some additional improvements in performance.
Like Subaru, and unlike BMW or Mercedes, Toyota are in the Top 10 most reliable cars in the world based on distance travelled so, if I wear to move over to the RAV4, I should still expected to get the awesome reliability I have experienced with my Subarus.
[Images are from the Australian Motoring site (here)]