The ravolution of the Toyota Rav4

All-new 5th generation

25 March 2019 | Motors
In 1994, Toyota’s launch of the original RAV4 introduced a new kind of car to the world, one that combined the go-anywhere performance and rugged stance of an SUV with compact dimensions and handling more akin to a hatchback.

The same pioneering spirit is witnessed in the all-new fifth generation RAV4, which takes the SUV into a new era of performance, capability and safety - advances that are underpinned by the first use of TNGA (Toyota New Global) Architecture in a Toyota SUV and a powerful new design.

With its low centre of gravity and significantly increased body rigidity, the new RAV4’s GA-K platform directly contributes to superior handling, ride comfort, a spacious interior, class-leading load space and the freedom to produce a strong, eye-catching design with lower roof and bonnet lines and higher ground clearance. As well as providing more space and comfort, the cabin displays exceptional quality and finish throughout.

At the same time, RAV4’s all-wheel drive systems have been comprehensively improved to achieve a “drive-on-any-road” capability.

The inclusion of Toyota Safety Sense features on selected models introduce advanced technologies to help prevent accidents and provide greater driver assistance, including systems that introduce a degree of automated driving.

Global platform

The foundation of the new RAV4’s dynamic qualities is its all-new TNGA programme. This gives the car the core strengths of a low centre of gravity, light weight and a strong, rigid and balanced chassis that delivers exceptional handling, stability and driver rewards.

For the customer this makes the car more fun to drive, while at the same time enabling design freedom inside and out, enhanced safety performance that gives greater peace of mind and more comfort for everyone on board.

The lowest possible centre of gravity is achieved by making every component lighter and locating it lower down in the vehicle – everything from the engine to the seats in the cabin. The platform also allows for a 57% increase in body rigidity, which contributes to a stable, flat ride with superior handling.

The TNGA platform underpins the “confident and natural” driving quality Toyota has sought for the new model. Beyond the benefits of the chassis itself, further detailed measures make important contributions to its overall quality, with Toyota’s top engineers leading the development of the new RAV4’s dynamic performance, fine-tuning the handling and drivability.

Response from the electric power steering has been improved by moving the assist motor from the column to the rack. The RAV4’s TNGA platform also distinguishes itself in its use of a double wishbone rear suspension system. Thanks to the low centre of gravity and high body rigidity, the suspension does not have to be rendered stiffer to meet dynamic targets. Handling is thus agile, faithful and neutral, giving the driver confidence with accurate responses to the driver’s use of the steering wheel and throttle pedal as well as optimised shift patterns.

Concept, design

The RAV4’s dynamic new design boasts assertive and angular features with a bold bumper, grille, LED headlights and tail lights creating a broad, athletic build that tapers towards the back to provide an all-round muscular appearance.

This strong build isn’t just for show, with its increased ground clearance and shorter front and rear overhangs, the all-new RAV4 can take on tough terrain with ease, as well as maximising the available space. A strong polygonal theme (as seen in the FT-AC concept) runs throughout the interior and exterior – creating a cohesive design.

The cabin is characterised by high sensory quality throughout and precision execution. Soft-touch surfaces abound, including the dashboard and door panels. Switchgear is new, too, with cleanly integrated buttons and pleasingly tactile controls, such as the soft-touch knurling on the audio and air conditioning controls. Brushed-aluminium trim adds a premium feel and highlights the interior’s stylish design.

The low-set instrument panel – a further benefit of the TNGA platform – has powerful horizontal lines that flow into the door panels, emphasising the cabin’s generous width and giving the driver a clearer view of the road ahead. A larger, open centre console between the front seats is in keeping with a welcoming, functional SUV interior. Special attention was paid to providing plenty of useful and easily accessible storage for the driver and front passenger.

The TNGA platform helps secure impressive cabin space, best-in-class load space and all-round comfort. Reducing the front and rear overhangs by a combined 35mm (-5mm front, -30mm rear) means the new model is shorter overall by 5mm (4,600mm) and retains its agile manoeuvrability, yet the wheelbase has been increased by 30mm (2,690mm), securing a more spacious cabin.

To add to the new model’s purposeful, wide stance, overall width has grown by 10mm (1,855mm) and the front and rear treads have been increased. At the same time, overall height has been brought down by 10mm (to 1,650mm).

Comfort, versatility and convenience

Securing better all-round visibility was a key consideration in RAV4’s design process. The TNGA platform allows the bonnet to sit 15mm lower, the front pillars to be slimmer, whilst the belt line has been lowered and the rearward view from the driver’s seat has been improved.

The new TNGA chassis allows for a more engaging driving position, without detracting from the commanding view of the road that’s a defining quality of SUVs.

Both the driver’s hip point and range of steering wheel adjustment have been improved. This, together with a generous seat adjustment range and precise positioning of the pedals and armrest, ensures more customers are able to find their ideal position when driving.

Comfort for rear seat passengers has been improved with increased seat width, more spacious rear footwells and increased opening-angle of the rear doors.

The load space behind the rear seats has been made larger and more user-friendly, notably thanks to a fully flat floor and a length extended by 60mm to secure best-in-class capacity of 580 litres (79 litres more than in the current RAV4). Flexibility is integrated so that the space can easily be adapted to gain more cargo room when required: with the rear seats folded down, the new RAV4 can accommodate a 29-inch mountain bike without any wheels having to be removed.

There is a height-adjustable, two-level deck board that can be reversed when dirty items need to be carried. The rear seats have a 60:40 split-folding function and there are storage nets on each side of the boot. Clever details include a hand grip on the tailgate that can serve as a hanger and a power-operated tailgate with hands-free function.

Efficient engines

The new RAV4 is offered with a choice of two petrol engines, a 2.0-litre or 2.5-litre four-cylinder unit. The ‘Dynamic Force’ engines, both fitted with intelligent variable valve timing, deliver improved performance and a more responsive and fuel-efficient drive.

The 2.0-litre engine delivers a maximum power output of 127 kW @ 6600 rpm and peak torque of 203 Nm between 4400 and 4800 rpm, while also offering a fuel consumption of between 6.5 - 6.8 l/100km and C02 emissions as low as 147 g/km. The flagship 2.5-litre engine produces 152 kW of power at 6600 rpm, and peak torque of 243 Nm between 4000 and 5000 rpm, while offering fuel consumption of 7.3 l/100km and C02 emissions as low as 166 g/km.

All RAV4 engines achieve high output and world-class combustion efficiency through the newly introduced Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system (VVT-iE). It controls the intake of fresh air, fuel, combustion gases, and adjusts the timing of the valves to match the operating conditions of the engine, delivering an enhanced driving experience.

All-wheel drive

Toyota is introducing improvements in the all-wheel drive technology in the new RAV4 to deliver enhanced performance, capabilities and control in all driving conditions. The mechanical all-wheel-drive system is equipped with Toyota’s first dynamic torque vectoring system with Rear Driveline Disconnect. This manages torque distribution between the left and right rear wheels using twin couplings on the rear axle to give stable performance and accurate response to the driver’s steering inputs when cornering, both in dry and slippery conditions.

Safety and security

Befitting Toyota’s occupant safety ethos, the new RAV4 is equipped with a raft of safety features. A full suite of Airbags - including knee and curtain types - are fitted to all models, with electronic driver aids in the form of ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC) and Trailer Sway Control all catered for.

The VX model introduces Toyota Safety Sense for the first time on RAV4, which encompasses Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Control, Blind-Spot Monitor (BSM) and Pre-Crash System (PCS). The Adaptive Cruise Control and LDA systems thereby lend a level of autonomous driving to the VX models by offering steering assist as well as radar-controlled braking in conjunction with acceleration functions. - MotorPress

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