Fourth-gen RAV4 gets more polished on-road dynamics, bigger body and more efficient powertrain
There seems to be a family look forming at Toyota...
Yes, and you can see such a face in many other Toyotas now on sale, particularly those in Europe like the Yaris and Auris.
And the latest model to get it is the RAV4, unveiled in fourth-generation form at this year's LA motor show. We hear the next-generation Corolla and Vios will get the same treatment when launched in Thailand next year.
Such a cosmetic trait helps give Toyota's new compact SUV a fresh appearance to rival the likes of the Honda CR-V, which was just launched in Thailand in fourth-gen form this year.
But it's not coming to Thailand anyways...
Probably not, and only in the Thai grey market if you want one. Although the first-gen RAV4 was officially imported to Thailand in the mid-1990s, the succeeding generations weren't.
Why? Because Toyota wants to offer the Fortuner mid-size SUV (preceded by the Sport Rider that came into life before 2000) instead because it can be priced in the same territory as the RAV4 (if assembled in Thailand) between 1 and 1.5 million baht.
That's why Chevrolet, Ford and Mitsubishi try to focus more on pickup-based SUVs rather than car-based variations in Thailand due to the special 20% excise tax given to the Trailblazer, Everest and Pajero Sport.
But car-based SUVs are better to drive...
The interior design looks more car-like than ever.
Yes, if you're talking about on-road driving. That's also why some people simply opt for the CR-V, or the soon-to-be-phased-out Chevrolet Captiva and Ford Escape.
Which is really a pity because there's so much to like about car-based SUVs. Take the latest RAV4, as an example. It now comes with the Camry's 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic for refined and economical driving. There's also a new clever 4WD system to optimally split torque between the front and rear axles under varying road conditions.
The other improvement in the RAV4 is the bigger cabin, thanks to a 100mm increase in wheelbase length to 2,660mm, which also sees a flat floor when the rear seats fold down.
Seems like Honda Thailand can chill out...
Yeah, it would have been nice if a player as big as Toyota could offer more products in the Thai line-up. The decision by Honda to refrain from equipping the CR-V with the latest fuel-saving tech in Thailand could possibly be because Toyota Motor Thailand is still ignoring official sales of the RAV4 (our Malaysian friends have always been getting it).
So much for competition, you could say.
RAV4’s wheelbase has grown by 100mm to 2,660mm.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor