LOS ANGELES, USA - Back in 1994 Toyota arguably created the compact SUV market with the launch of the first-generation RAV4. Three generations and 4.5-million sales later the RAV remains a runaway success for the Japanese automaker. Now Toyota has revealed the fourth-generation RAV4 at the 2012 Los Angeles auto show - and while it has remained true to its heritage it has new engines, freshened styling, a tweaked interior and enhanced performance.South African fans will have to wait until the second half of 2013 for its arrival. FRESHENED DESIGNThe new RAV4 is longer (+205mm over SWB model without rear wheel carrier), wider (+30mm) and lower (-25mm) than its predecessor. The exterior has signature elements of Toyota’s new design language. The new “face” sees more assertive elements such as a lower grille, new diode headlights and fresh detailing.The rear lights have been redesigned and the boot is now top-hinged with a spoiler on top. The new model offers more interior space than the outgoing model and Toyota has added refined materials to the cabin.The new dashboard has a metal finish with soft padding and leather trim. Instrumentation has blue back-lighting.ENGINE CHOICEEuropean markets have a choice of a 111kW 2.0 petrol (AWD, CVT), a new 90kW 2.0 diesel (FWD, six-speed manual) and a 110kW 2.2 diesel (AWD, six-speed manual or auto). The 2.0 petrol has a emissions rating of 167g/km, the diesel 127g/km. The 2.2 diesel manual emits 149g/km, auto 176g/km.The new RAV4 has enhanced suspension, revised steering and a "dynamic drive" system with Sport mode to modify control of the AWD, stability control and steering. Downhill braking and hill-start assistance are options. Dynamic Torque Control monitors and controls the transfer of drive torque between the front and rear axles. The torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, front to rear. Front-wheel drive (100:0) is automatically engaged in normal driving conditions.IMAGE GALLERYTorque transfer using data from a series of sensors monitoring vehicle speed, steering angle, throttle angle and yaw rate control torque transfer to the rear wheels. In Normal mode (when neither Sport nor Lock is activated), torque is transferred to the rear wheels only when loss of front-wheel traction is detected. The AWD will automatically adjust to a 90:10 front/rear torque transfer to reduce the load on the front tyres.Should understeer occur, torque transfer to the rear wheels will be increased by up to 50%.Sport mode also reduces steering assistance, increases throttle response and the auto operates with higher revs to give a sportier driving experience.The system has a 4WD Lock button for off-road driving, allowing the driver to lock torque distribution in a 50:50 ratio at speeds up to 40km/h.NEW TECHThe new model has increased rigidity and earned five stars in Euro NCAP rating, helped by new anti-whiplash head restraints and seven air bags. Lane departure alert and a blind spot monitor have been added to the RAV4 for the first time. The driving position has been lowered by 5mm and seat height range increased by 15mm; steering wheel angle is 2.3 degrees lower and the A pillars are thinner and further apart.At 4.5m long and with a wheel base of 2.6m, Toyota says, the new RAV offers significantly more room for passengers and cargo. The front-to-rear seat distance is 970mm.The rear seats have been made more comfortable by increasing the cushion’s length and increasing its surface angle while Toyota’s Easy Flat system allows the rear seats to be easily folded flat. The seats divide 60:40 and each can be reclined independently.The loadspace is longer (now 547 litres) and an extra 49 litres of storage has been added to the undertray (100 litres).