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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota RAV4’

First Drive: 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

New addition rounds out compact ute line-up.

by on Nov.18, 2015

Toyota continues to grow its hybrid line-up with the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. The new sport-ute arrives at dealers early next year.

Over the years, Toyota has invested an enormous amount of resources in developing its diverse line-up of hybrid vehicles, which continues to expand in new directions.

One of the newest additions to the hybrid line-up is the 2016 RAV4 hybrid, which Toyota expects will be able to be the most fuel-efficient compact sport-utility vehicle in the hyper-competitive segment, which has drawn a flock of technically sophisticated competitors, such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue in the past couple of years.

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The RAV4 is already a formidable competitor in the growing segment. (more…)

Toyota Pulling Plug on RAV4-EV

Maker shifting focus from battery-electric to hydrogen power.

by on May.16, 2014

Toyota only planned to sell 2,500 RAV4-EVs.

Toyota is pulling the plug on the RAV4-EV, the battery-electric version of the soft-roader it introduced two years ago with the help of electric vehicle start-up Tesla Motors.

This year’s phase-out of the RAV4-EV comes as the Japanese giant gets ready to launch its new hydrogen-powered FCV, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show last autumn. While it has been the most successful manufacturer of conventional hybrids, Toyota has repeatedly expressed its concerns about pure battery-electric vehicles relying on advanced lithium-ion batteries.

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The move also comes as Tesla gets ready to launch its own, first battery-electric SUV, the Model X due to market something in 2015.

“Our contract called for Tesla to supply approximately 2500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4 EV.  We anticipate that volume will be achieved this year,” noted John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of advanced technology communications.

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Toyota Designs RAV4 to Help Triathletes Shower Anywhere

Maker creates vehicle to help athletes perform at top levels.

by on Nov.04, 2013

Toyota is taking the LifeTime Fitness RAV4 to SEMA where it can show off the in-vehicle shower.

After spending hours pushing themselves to their physical limits, Toyota knew that the first thing professional triathletes would want to do is hop in their RAV4 and…take a shower.

Toyota-sponsored triathletes Sarah Haskins, Andy Potts, and Hunter Kemper designed a RAV4 with all of the “options” they felt would help them perform optimally during their events.

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The LifeTime Fitness RAV4 is one of the vehicles going on display Monday at the big SEMA aftermarket car products trade show in Las Vegas. The SUV was created by the Motorsports Technical Center in Torrance, Calif., with input from Haskins, Potts and Kemper. (more…)

Speeders Pay – at the Pump, Anyway

Magazine says driving 75 mph instead of 55 costs $30 more.

by on Jul.11, 2013

Consumer Reports found that driving 75 mph compared with 55 mph costs drivers an extra $30 on a 1,000-mile trip.

So you dodged the speed traps and cut an hour off your drive from New York to Boston, but you’re still going to pay for that lead foot.

The faster you go the worse your fuel economy, studies have routinely demonstrated, but just how much may come as a surprise. A new study by Consumer Reports magazine suggests that the penalty of driving 75 rather than 55 can add up to as much as 14 miles per gallon – which can add up to an extra $30 in fuel costs over a 1,000 mile trip.

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In fact, on long drives, the increased fuel consumption may have an unintended consequence. By burning more fuel you’re likely to stop more often to fill up, the magazine notes, and that means you may lose much of the extra time you hoped to save by speeding in the first place.

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New Toyota RAV4 Grows Up

Big changes in a little package.

by on Nov.29, 2012

Toyota's new RAV4 adopts a more expressive design - and a number of other changes.

Toyota helped define the “cute-ute” segment with its original RAV4. And it is hoping that the all-new crossover making its debut at this year’s LA Auto Show will help redefine the increasingly popular compact CUV segment.

But there’s no question that competition is getting tougher – no surprise – as sales soar to record levels.  Americans have purchased 1.7 million compact crossovers since the 1994 RAV4 debut, and a flood of new models has been entering the market, including an all-new version of the Ford Escape that has been transformed from classic, truck-based design to a car-based crossover for 2013.

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The basic design is likely to catch eyes and reflects a new emphasis on styling at Toyota, which has long been faulted for its plain vanilla approach.

The new Toyota is roomier, sportier and offers more luxury than its predecessor. According to Bill Faye, Group vice president and general manager Toyota Motor Sales, the RAV4 also is at the forefront with respect to handling, equipment, ergonomics and cost of ownership.

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Toyota Offers 2014 RAV4 Tease

More aggressively styled crossover coming to LA Auto Show.

by on Nov.15, 2012

Look for the 2014 remake of the Toyota RAV4 to pick up on some of the more aggressive design cues introduced with the new Avalon sedan.

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.

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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.”

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First Drive: 2013 Ford Escape

The hands-free tailgate is a real "kick."

by on May.08, 2012

Ford's new 2013 Escape shares the same underlying platform as the maker's latest Focus line.

The compact crossover segment is today one of the biggest and most competitive segments in the American market, with entries ranging from the Toyota RAV4 to the Chevrolet Equinox.  Ford’s offering, the Escape, has always been a solid and reliable performer, and one of the segment’s best-sellers.  But if you were looking for refinement, charm and comfort, well, you’d be advised to look elsewhere.

Until now, anyway.  The maker has an all-new version of the Escape in the pipeline for 2013, and after spending a full week behind the wheel we’ve discovered that it maintains the flexibility and functionality that buyers have long expected while delivering the sort of creature comforts and driving dynamics that one could only hope for.

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Better yet, the 2013 Ford Escape also scores with a new powertrain line-up that can haul and tow with the best in its class even while delivering significantly better mileage than before.

The redesigned 2013 Ford Escape is more than just an update.  The maker has redesigned the crossover from the ground up, and like the 2012 Ford Explorer, Escape has migrated to a new unibody platform that it now shares with the nimble Ford Focus and soon-to-launch C-Max people mover.

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Toyota Makes it Official With $50,000 RAV4-EV Launch

Maker promises 100-mile range, sporty performance.

by on May.07, 2012

The Toyota RAV4-EV will be sold in only 4 "select" California markets.

Toyota is charging into the electric vehicle market.  Barely two months after beginning sales of its first plug-in hybrid the Japanese giant has officially launched the new RAV4-EV, a fully-electric version of its popular “cute-ute.”

Priced at $49,800 — before a $7,500 federal tax credit – the Japanese maker plans to use the RAV4-EV to test market interest in battery-electric propulsion which got off to a slow start in 2011.  Significantly, the battery-powered ute was developed as part of an unusual alliance between Toyota and California electric vehicle start-up Tesla Motors.

(For more on Toyota’s increasing reliance on joint ventures and alliances, Click Here.)

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The RAV4-EV is expected to get “approximately” 100 miles range and Toyota estimates it will be able to recharge in as little as six hours using a high-power charger. It will meanwhile deliver similar performance to that of the conventional, gasoline-powered RAV4 crossover-ute, according to the maker.

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New RAV4-EV Shows Toyota No Longer Willing to Go it Alone

Japanese giant increasingly dependent upon alliances.

by on May.07, 2012

Toyota will build the RAV4 EV on the same Ontario assembly line producing the conventional version of the crossover.

Toyota today launched its all-new battery-electric vehicle, the RAV4-EV, at the annual International Electric Vehicle Symposium, in Los Angeles.  Based on the maker’s conventionally powered compact ute, the vehicle is intended to test the U.S. market’s interest in electric propulsion.

But it will also be a test of the budding relationship between the Japanese giant and the small California start-up Tesla Motors.  The guts of the RAV4-EV, its lithium-ion driveline, will come from Tesla, a company in which Toyota has so far invested more than $50 million and dangled millions more in contracts like the new electric vehicle.

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More broadly, it’s a test of a significant shift in strategy by the Japanese maker.  For most of its existence, the company – currently the world’s fourth-largest automaker – steadfastly did things on its own.  While other manufacturers frequently partnered with erstwhile rivals to fill gaps in their product and powertrain line-ups, Toyota reached into its vast treasury to fund its own programs or worked with a very small and select group of suppliers – known as a keiretsu — in which it usually held a significant financial stake.

No longer.  Toyota is rapidly lining up an assortment of alliances with not only some of the world’s most prestigious auto manufacturers but also some of its fiercest competitors.

“No one can handle it all by themselves,” acknowledged Yoshi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America.

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Equinox Highlights the General’s Improvements

Chevy’s cute ute is a giant step forward, but small V-6 needs updating

by on Mar.27, 2012

Chevrolet Equinox

Of all the new vehicles General Motors introduced in the last four years, it could be this compact crossover where the automaker has shown the biggest turnaround.

This Equinox’s predecessor showed typical GM cost cutting. The interior was flimsy, poorly finished and full of hard plastics and lacked attention to detail. Its engines, particularly the V-6, lacked power and were coarse. And the styling was just blah. As was typical GM, it looked like a vehicle that GM had just gone through the motions to produce, so it could just get it done and into dealerships.

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Contrast that with this current version. It’s styled well enough to stand toe to toe with best small sport utes on the planet. Its base engine carries some of the most advanced technology of any engines made today. And the interior, while still mostly made of stiff plastics, is simply beautiful.

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