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LA 2012: Toyota’s new 2013 RAV4 revealed

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Toyota-This is the new Toyota RAV4, making its debut at the 2012 LA Auto Show. There’s a lot riding on the Japanese manufacturer’s new compact 4x4 – the car basically invented the sector in the mid-‘90s, but the current incarnation has been lagging behind the competition for a while. With the new vehicle though the firm is looking to be more lifestyle and less utilitarian.

Toyota-The visuals certainly seem to suggest so, too. The latest iteration RAV4 is much sleeker and less boxy looking than its predecessor, sporting some rakish, angular lines and styling cues taken from the latest Auris hatchback – including the “keen-edged” LED running lights. It’s still a bit generic Japanese 4x4 though

Toyota-The fourth generation RAV4 is larger than before – a whopping 205mm longer than the previous short wheelbase model – so practicality and space inside the cabin should be improved. Toyota’s Easy Flat system makes an appearance, meaning quick folding of the rear seats and a maximum 547-litre load space. The Ford Kuga better watch its back

 Toyota-European markets get a 149hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, while two turbodiesel units will also be offered: a 122hp 2.0-litre and a 148hp 2.2-litre. Expect performance to be on a par with the car it replaces, with a range-best 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds for the most potent diesel.

The new lower-powered diesel will be the most efficient engine option in two-wheel drive guise. Equipped with stop-start it’ll emit 127g/km CO2. The more powerful diesel will emit 149g/km CO2, while the petrol’s emissions stand at 167g/km CO2. Toyota is yet to release any fuel economy figures.

All engines will be mated to either a standard-fit six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. Two- and four-wheel drive variants will be available, with the new RAV4 getting Toyota’s latest Integrated Dynamic Drive all-wheel-drive technology.

This latest system controls the car’s new Dynamic Torque Control feature. It monitors grip levels and meters out power to the front and rear axles, aiding progress when the going gets tough – as much as 50% can be sent to the back wheels. Under normal road conditions, the system sends all the power to the front, helping improve efficiency.

Toyota has also equipped the new RAV4 with Down-hill Assist and Hill-start Assist Control. When descending steep gradients on a loose or slippy surface, the car will brake for you, keeping all four wheels pointing in the same direction.

Toyota is also showing a RAV4 EV concept at Los Angeles. With the firm’s affinity for petrol-electric drive systems, don’t rule out a possible RAV4 hybrid at some point in the future, borrowing technology from the Prius.

The new car’s cabin is more luxurious than the plain-Jane insides of the current RAV4. Swathes of leather envelop the dash, while a big, clear touchscreen sits in a central position. The asymmetric spar sweeping from blue backlit instrument cluster to the base of the centre console is a nice driver-focused touch, too.

Toyota wants to capture the “sporty drive” of the original in the new car. A 30mm increase in width not only makes it look more substantial but should help stability, while Toyota’s new ‘Integrated Dynamic Drive System’ – combining the Dynamic Torque Control, stability system and electric power steering – should also improve agility.

The latest RAV4 off-roader should be safer than ever. New anti-whiplash seats and seven airbags come fitted as standard, while lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring systems are available as options for the first time.

Toyota-Expect more equipment options, too. Toyota’s ‘Touch & Go’ multimedia system will make an appearance, featuring Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and phone, sat-nav and a rear-view camera.

The new car will go on sale next year, although Toyota is yet to confirm exactly when.

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