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SPIED: Next Toyota RAV4

2012-07-18 12:16

NEXT-GENERATION RAV4: The compact-crossover segment is a heavily contested market and despite its age, the RAV4 still is one of the most popular offerings. The new model (above) will sport a radical change in terms of interior and exterior de

Toyota’s current RAV4, first debuted in 2006, is at the end of its life cycle with a new EV version launched in 2012.

The Japanese automaker is testing the next-generation version of its popular SUV and images of camouflaged prototype have been captured.

The RAV4 was updated in 2009 but it’s ripe for a redesign. Spy photos show that the next RAV4 is going to change drastically from its current form and move closer to contemporary crossovers.

RADICAL CHANGES

When the RAV4 first went on sale in 1996, it was a quirky little SUV powered by a tiny four-cylinder engine. Each successive generation of the RAV4 has grown larger and heavier.

Image gallery!


Based on these spy-photos, don’t be surprised if the new RAV4 arrives on a modified version of the current model’s platform. In addition to drastic stylistic changes it looks like a size increase may be in store for the 2013 model.

Although most of the vehicle is covered up, the sweeping roofline and windshield make it clear that the new RAV4 will abandon its off-road styling and embrace its crossover roots.

The prototype lacks a tailgate-mounted spare tire, the RAV4 and Daihatsu’s Terios are the last small SUVs to retain such a feature.

The front end derives its inspiration from the Camry and peeking through the camouflage, you can spot changes to the headlights and grille.

The changes to the RAV4’s powertrain should be much more evolutionary than those made to the crossover’s styling.  The next iteration of the crossover, will need to compete with the new Ford Kuga, the Mazda CX-5, as well as the venerable Honda CR-V.

That means it will need to retain a roomier cabin but deliver the fuel economy buyers expect.


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