With the official reveal of the next-generation RAV4 crossover just weeks away, Toyota is offering a first teaser image of what it promises will be a more aggressively styled crossover picking up on the brand’s dynamic new styling direction first signaled with the new Toyota Avalon.
The RAV4 has routinely been one of the better sellers in the compact CUV market but it is facing increasing competition from a variety of sources, including the recently redesigned Ford Escape – which migrated from a classic SUV platform to a new car-based “architecture.”
The maker has little more to say about the new model, other than to suggest, “The 2013 RAV4 is a new generation rewriting the rules of style, embodying sophistication and strength – a dynamism that adapts to the changing pace of life.”
Toyota, in general, is promising a company-wide shift in styling, President Akio Toyoda promising to put more “passion” into the brand. That has been most apparent with the all-new Avalon, the full-size sedan abandoning the traditionally bland and boxy shape for a look that is more angular and expressive.
The teaser image suggests the face of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 will adopt a similar new look, with a strong upper grille split by a single crossbar and a lower, trapezoidal grille that might also draw comparisons to the new look of the 2013 Ford Fusion.
Industry sources hint that the 2014 RAV4 will adopt a more expressive and refined interior, as well, and likely will eke out a little more cabin space while maintaining the same basic exterior dimensions of the existing model.
Toyota, meanwhile, is anticipated to refine – but not replace — the existing powertrain line-up to counter competitors who have been delivering significantly better mileage, notably Ford with the new EcoBoost engine it is offering in the redesigned Escape. Expect to see a new six-speed automatic gearbox for 2014 paired with the current 178-horsepower 2.5-lliter inline-four and the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6.
Whether Toyota will add a conventional hybrid to the line is a matter of speculation. The maker does have a new battery-electric crossover, though the RAV4-EV that TheDetroitBureau.com tested a few months back will continue to be based on the outgoing version of the crossover – something that might disappoint buyers who were hoping for a more stylish vehicle for the EV premium, especially when it comes to the old model’s less than lavish use of low-end interior plastic panels.
(For a review of the Toyota RAV4-EV, Click Here.)
One of the more iconic details of the outgoing RAV4, the outside-mounted spare tire, meanwhile, is expected to be dropped with the 2014 redesign. It will likely be replaced by a mini-spare, a move more and more competitors have opted for in recent years.