Posts Tagged ‘RAV4’

Here’s the 2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 8th, 2015

2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Toyota has an innovative new rally racer that they will bring to several rally competitions later this year. It’s a tuned up 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE, pictured here in full racing form.

The Japanese automaker unveiled their high-performance rally RAV4 this weekend at the Monster Energy Supercross Championship finale, which took place at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Obviously, it’s not every day that you see a commercial crossover competing in pro-level races like the Idaho Rally or the Mt. Hood Rally. Toyota plans to bring their RAV4 to several of the races in the 2015 Rally America season in the 2WD-Open Class.

Ryan Millin & RAV4

The modified 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE will be driven by Ryan Millen – a seasoned Toyota racer in his own right. He recently won the 2014 Baja 1000 driving a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro series, and he has high hopes for the RAV4. “I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer,” he said. “And I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4 is tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces this season.”

What kind of modifications has Toyota made to transform their commercial RAV4 into a rally-ready machine?

One thing they did NOT change is the engine… The RAV4 rally car runs on the same stock powertrain in the normal RAV4 LE, which is a 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine. It outputs 176 hp and just 172 lb-ft of torque, and the engine is fitted to the LE’s stock transmission. So, how will the RAV4 hope to compete?

Ryan Millen & RAV4 profile

Millen’s crew stripped over 500 lbs off the small crossover to make it a much more agile vehicle. They added a roll cage and fitted the wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain DOT 215/75R15 tires. They also upgraded the unpderpinnings with a front and rear TEIN suspension.

You may be asking why Toyota would care about getting their RAV4 crossover into the motorsports spotlight; we certainly were. Turns out, they’ve got something to prove. The press release makes it clear they’re tired of the RAV4 being known “only” for its immense practicality and superiority to its “more-cumbersome” SUV brethren. Now, they want everyone to know that the RAV4’s “lighter and leaner design” makes it the perfect car for anyone who regularly makes “desert, beach and other outdoor excursions.”

Okay, Toyota, we get it. The RAV4 is an off-road vehicle. Let’s see what it can do.


New Japanese Cars to Look for at the 2015 NY Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

As one of the last large automotive events of the spring season, the 2015 New York Auto Show is most automakers’ last chance to show off their innovations to a huge international audience for several months. As you can imagine, there are will be quite a few new cars to see. So, we’ve narrowed down the list for you to the top Japanese cars to look out for when doors open later this week:

2016 Lexus RX & 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Unsurprisingly, Toyota and its sub-brands have the most new cars they plan to unveil later this week in New York. To save space, we’ve condensed these two crossovers into one slot.

2016 Lexus RX Teaser

The Lexus RX is undoubtedly the more exciting of the two… We’ve only seen a single teaser image of the new compact crossover, and it’s sporty, almost sedan-like profile has us itching to see the full body revealed in New York. As the current best-selling premium car in the US, all eyes are on the next-generation RX to see what Lexus has come up with.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid teaser

That being said, you can’t gloss over the importance of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Even if you’re not a green car enthusiast, the new RAV4 Hybrid’s design will carry over to the rest of the RAV4 lineup in 2016.

Scion iA Sedan and iM Hatch

For the first time in years, Scion is expanding their lineup with not one, but two new youthful automobiles that will be on display in New York.

In case you missed our original preview, the Scion iM hatchback is based on the Scion iM Concept from about a year ago. The Scion iA sedan is the one we’re really excited about though – it’s a sedan based on the all-new Mazda2, and we can’t wait to see what it looks like in-the-metal.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Teaser 2

We’re not exactly sure what to expect from the new Mitsubishi Outlander that’s coming to the 2015 New York Auto Show.

You can read our detailed preview if you’d like more information on what exactly Mitsubishi has in store, but the short version is that we’re HOPING to see an Outlander PHEV. Other options include a new Outlander Sport or a redesigned regular Outlander. You can see the latest teaser image Mitsubishi’s released for us above.

2016 Nissan Maxima

2016 Nissan Maxima

Finally, the last major Japanese car to be revealed at the 2015 New York Auto Show is the 2016 Nissan Maxima. We’ve put this last on the list because we’ve technically already seen the new Maxima. It originally aired in Nissan’s Super Bowl ad spot, and since then Nissan has released perfectly clear images to show what the car will look like, such as the one above.

Still, nothing replaces an in-the-metal reveal, and the Nissan Maxima is one of the most important vehicles in the second largest Japanese automaker’s lineup… Definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Either way, the NY Auto Show is set to be a ton of fun with a floor full of sweet new cars, Japan-made or otherwise. Come back later this week to start seeing some reveals!


2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Coming to NY

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 28th, 2015

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid teaser

Scion and Lexus may be getting the bulk of Toyota’s attention at the 2015 Ney York Auto Show, but today we learned that the Japanese automaker has something special planned for their primary brand too. The teaser you see below is the rear-end of an all-new 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

This will be one of the few hybrid compact SUVs on the market when it goes on sale either later this year or early next year. In fact, one of the few competitors will be from Mitsubishi, whose new Outlander will also be showing in New York. However the other really big players in the segment, such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, offer no hybrid powertrain option.

In theory, this should be a great move for Toyota. After all, how could adding another hybrid to their lineup ever be a bad idea?

Well, let’s look at the facts:

According to Automotive News, total hybrid sales fell almost 9% in 2014 despite overall growth across the automotive industry. The biggest loser from that hit to hybrid sales? You guessed it – Toyota. The Toyota Prius sold 15 percent less units than the year before and the Toyota Camry Hybrid sold 11 percent less.

That being said, sales of the 2014 Toyota RAV4 grew by a mountainous 23 percent, so it’s hard to predict exactly how well this new hybrid will do. Clearly there are a lot of RAV4 drivers to whom this might appeal, but we question whether any increase in sales would actually be a result of the new hybrid option or simply because of growth in the crossover segment overall.

2015 Toyota RAV4

2015 Toyota RAV4

Either way, Toyota says that the RAV4 Hybrid we’ll see in New York will preview the same more aggressive, sportier styling that they’ll use across the entire RAV4 portfolio in 2016. So it should be a relevant unveiling whether you’re a hybrid driver or not.

If we had to guess which powertrain Toyota will opt to use in their new RAV4 Hybrid, we’d put our money on the system that’s already in the Lexus NX 300h. This makes the most sense when you consider that the NX is actually built on the same platform as the RAV4… It would be a simple switch to make.

If this turns out to be what Toyota does, then we’ll see a 2.5L four-cylinder petrol that outputs 154 horsepower paired with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system – a hybrid configuration that uses two motors – to get the RAV4 Hybrid’s total output pretty darn close to 200 hp.

It should be noted that Toyota plans to offer a hybrid version of every high-volume commercial car in their lineup by the end of 2020, so this Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is just one in a long line of hybrids we may yet get out of the world’s largest Japanese automaker.