Toyota RAV4 is cooler than ever

Often touted as the vehicle that created the compact crossover segment, consumers care little for history and instead want a product that fits their modern needs and wants; which is why the Toyota RAV4 came to be in the first place.

Often touted as the vehicle that created the compact crossover segment, consumers care little for history and instead want a product that fits their modern needs and wants; which is why the Toyota RAV4 came to be in the first place.

Dressed to impress, the new RAV4 is cooler than ever with a new front fascia, a lower roofline, sportier alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.

With a look unseen on any Toyota products, it comes to a point with angled headlights and an under-biting front bumper.

Of course, higher trim levels deliver plenty of chrome detailing, with foglights included with XLE and Limited trims.

With the new style come new wheels with 17-inch rollers standard while 18s are fitted to the Limited trim.

Optional on LE models and standard on Limited and XLE trims are roof rails to help keep the look sporty though with a premium touch.

Among one of the bigger changes is the absence of the spare tire mounted on the rear liftgate.

Toyota has removed the identifying SUV-inspired detail, and made a much-needed change.

Now, instead of a side-swinging rear door, it opens upward. What took so long?

Changes are just as significant under the hood, where Toyota has made the bold decision to drop the V6 engine option.

The 2.5-litre 4-cylinder remains producing 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, though it gains a six-speed automatic transmission, adding two more gears for better acceleration and fuel economy. Helping compensate for the loss of the V6 engine, the RAV4 also gains a Sport mode that improves throttle (as well as steering) response.

The transmission helps improve fuel economy to 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with the front-drive and 22/29 mpg for all-wheel drive equipped models.

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you can’t ignore that for a small, cost effective vehicle, the RAV4 has some real interior appeal.

Resembling the faces of sports watches, the sleek new dash clusters are cooly illuminated with a blue-colored backgrounds and red needles gauges.

Other cabin standard features include 6-speaker audio system, a USB port with iPod connectivity, handsfree phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth.

Optional to the Limited trim is a better infotainment system with display audio, navigation, Entune, and an 11-speaker JBL audio system with a subwoofer.

Rear seat legroom is actually down by an inch, though slimmer seatbacks mean even taller passengers won’t be wanting for space. They’ll also enjoy a wider armrest with side-by-side cup holders.

One of the biggest changes is the removal of the third-row seating option. With low sales and little demand the change allows for cargo capacity to be increased to 38.4 cu-ft behind the second row and 73.4 cubic feet total.