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Toyota’s big faith in new RAV

Posted on: March 14, 2013 by Platinum Direct

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Toyota has launched what many consider to be its most important vehicle of the year here in Australia: the fourth-generation RAV4. The vehicle is vital as the maker strives to regain top spot in the booming compact SUV market segment. The overall market leader is targeting record sales of more than 220,000 this year and RAV4 will be very important as it competes in a segment that was up no less than 22 percent last year.

All part of Toyota’s strategy is a much-expanded RAV4 range, including diesel power for the first time in RAV in Australia. The range is being asked to successfully compete with the Nissan X-Trail and Mazda CX-5, which both jumped significantly last year to the top of the sales chart.

Starting at $500 less than the previous model at $28,490 plus on-road costs for the base front-wheel-drive manual, some prices have fallen by up to $1500, despite an increase in standard features. However, choosing an automatic RAV4 now adds $2500 – which in some cases is a $500 slug over the equivalent superseded version.

Following Honda’s lead with the latest CR-V, all front-drive RAV4s have less power and torque than before, making do with a 107kW/187Nm 2.0-litre four- cylinder petrol engine, the first of this size in a RAV4 since 2003. (The previous 2.4 litre unit had125kW/224Nm.)

Toyota has replaced the old four-speed automatic in four-cylinder models with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven preset ratio steps in FWD versions, or a six-speed torque converter auto in AWD models. The manual gearbox now has six speeds instead of five.

The introduction of a diesel-powered RAV4 GX AWD from $35,490 is very competitive. Interestingly, there is no 3.5-litre V6 petrol offered in the new model range.

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