Toyota unveiled its new RAV4 SUV at the New York motor show with a promise from their chief engineer Yoshikazu Saeki, “it is more and more replaced by a proper SUV” than the car it.
Despite the fact that the current RAV4, a rival for the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai, the best-selling car in North America, beaten only by pick-up trucks in the sales charts, Saeki-San is setting his goals even higher. “I don’t think that the current car was very successful in all. I’ll check to have a car, was successful, and if they are it will make no further progress.”
The new car is based not only on Toyota’s new TNGA platform, but within that, he up a size and now sits on the basics now more closely with the great Camry sedan than a Prius. Two engines are available for the market introduction of a 2.0-Liter gasoline engine and 2.5-Liter hybrid-although only the latter is confirmed for the UK, when sales start in about a year.
No figures were available for the new hybrid engine, but it sure seems to be near identical to the same unit in the Camry, where it produces 204bhp, with a 10 percent increase over the old engine. In the Camry the fuel consumption improves over its predecessor by between 20-30%, depending on how you measure it. Either way, this should ensure that Toyota is able to claim that fuel consumption for the RAV4 close to 70mpg with a sub 100g/km CO2 emissions, the current type of measurement.
A second hybrid powertrain is expected to be offered with the RAV4, but it is not yet known whether it is the 1.8-Liter or 2.0-Liter capacity. Both of these engines are offered with the recently unveiled new Auris.
In the absence of a diesel model (Toyota to exit from the oil-burners has to close before the year), the car is likely to be with a smaller petrol engine variant, possibly a relative of the 1.8-Liter hybrid Assembly already in Auris rear. Both front-and all-wheel drive will be available.
Compared to the current car, the new RAV4 is larger and sits on a longer wheelbase to improve the handling characteristics and the interior, but is shorter and lower. The cabin has a far more luxurious atmosphere, a wide range of additional sensor-and radar-based active safety systems, and a bigger boat.
Whether that’s enough to displace, the Nissan Qashqai as Britain’s best-selling compact SUV, it remains to be seen: much will depend on, Toyota bet that the diesel will soon cease to be major players in the market. The brand is so set on this plan, that he has ditched several diesel models in recent months, including the slow-selling Auris diesel.
Q&A Yoshikazu Saeki, Toyota RAV4 chief engineer
What was your top priority in the design of this car?
My biggest Problem was to get to go back to a real SUV. I would like to focus on a SUV -, anyone can rely on, wherever they live, whatever the conditions you find. It may be that very few customers use it off-road, but it is important to me that you know that you could, and the car would be heavy, and capable enough to cope with it.
What do you tell customers that still want an SUV with the engine characteristics of a diesel?
The new hybrid has a great fuel-consumption and does not respond perfectly to driver inputs, this is possible with normal gasoline engines.
It is a plug-in hybrid version?
We are currently working on a plug-in for the RAV4, since we have to consider the power, Performance, and pricing of a car and how it fits in this class. I don’t think the balance. But the technology is easy to convert, so that, if the conditions are right you can easily it quite.
The new RAV4 more fun?
Of course! With our Takumi master-system, our drivers have not developed the car’s driving behaviour based on data, but people feel: the steering feel and chassis feel are very important for us, and this is a philosophical shift from the last car.
The car is lighter than the previous RAV4?
It’s 4% lighter despite a Packed with additional features and functions that were not available in the previous car.
It is a high-performance version in the future?
Now we have our new hybrid and combine it with a sports chassis, we may in the future develop the car further in that direction.
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