The Toyota RAV4, the vehicle that started the entire crossover category 15 years ago, gains added value for 2012 with the addition of new audio systems. All 2012 RAV4 models will feature a new standard audio system that’s equipped with hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, while the Limited Grade will offer an available display audio system with navigation and Toyota Entune connectivity services. This new display-type audio system incorporates today’s most popular multimedia features. These include Toyota Entune services, XM Satellite Radio capability (with 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and text-to-voice.
The available Entune™ system is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services that includes three years of complimentary access to apps and services delivered via most smartphones and some feature phones. (After three years, access charges will apply; excluding Pandora®) Once the phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth® wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune™'s features are operated using the vehicle's controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune™ is scheduled to have mobile apps for Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Pandora®. Entune™'s data services include fuel guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather. See toyota.com/entune for availability of apps and services.
The Toyota RAV4 is offered in three distinct grades – RAV4, Sport and top-of-the-line Limited – and with a choice between the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a powerful V6. Each engine can be teamed with either front-wheel drive or electronic on-demand four-wheel-drive. The roomy RAV4 offers optional third-row seating on RAV4 and Limited grade models.
Performance and Efficiency
The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 179 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Integrated twin balance shafts reduce noise and vibration. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) switches the intake tract length in two stages, based on RPM and throttle angle, to ensure strong torque across the engine speed range.
The four-cylinder engine is partnered with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. This powertrain returns EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 city/28 MPG highway on FWD models and 21 city/27 MPG highway on 4WD models. An uphill/downhill shift control significantly reduces “hunting” between third and fourth gears during winding uphill driving. Braking on the downhill automatically causes a downshift, which enhances engine braking for better control. A flex lock-up torque converter continuously controls lock-up switch slippage to enhance fuel economy.
The available 3.5-liter V6 engine generates 269 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 246 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,700 RPM. The V6 is also equipped with dual VVT-i to maximize performance and efficiency while reducing emissions. The V6 is equipped exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission. With the V6, a RAV4 can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds. The V6 models estimated EPA fuel economy MPG ratings of 19 city/27 highway for FWD models and 19 city/26 highway for 4WD models are excellent for this level of performance. All RAV4 models meet Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV II) certification.
Handling and Ride
A strong, stiff body structure, four-wheel independent suspension and Electronic Power Steering (EPS) give the RAV4 agile, sporty handling and a comfortable car-like ride. The compact EPS unit contributes to fuel economy by eliminating the traditional power steering pump and provides computer-controlled assist only when required. In addition, EPS is interfaced with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) for secure handling control under adverse road conditions.
The RAV4 grade model rides on P215/70 R16 tires with 16-inch steel wheels or available P225/65 R17 tires with styled steel or five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. The Sport grade enhances driving performance with its standard 18-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. The Limited grade rides on P215/65/R17 tires with standard six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels.
The RAV4’s available automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driver input. The system can continuously and seamlessly switch from front-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive mode, maximizing fuel efficiency. In Auto mode, torque distribution to the rear wheels is decreased during low speed cornering for better maneuverability.
A 4WD manual locking switch maximizes torque distribution to the rear wheels. When vehicle speed reaches 25 mph, the system reverts to Auto mode. Lock mode also disengages when the brakes are applied, optimizing ABS and VSC operation. RAV4 FWD models have a traction control-based automatic limited slip differential (Auto-LSD).
All RAV4 models equipped with the available third-row seat come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). HAC provides additional control for on-road and off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface; DAC is designed to enhance low-speed descending ability by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with minimal intervention from the driver.
The RAV4’s reinforced cabin integrates front and rear crumple zones and energy-absorbing materials on the ceiling and doors. Active headrests on the driver and front passenger seats move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant’s head and the headrest. The front three-point seatbelts integrate pretensioners and belt-force limiters. Second- and third-row seats also provide three-point seatbelts and height-adjustable headrests in all seating positions.
The driver and passenger advanced front airbags are designed to inflate according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor occupant classification system is designed to determine if the seat is occupied and the passenger’s weight category and then determines whether the airbag should inflate. In addition, driver and front passenger front-seat-mounted side airbags and first and second-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags are standard.
Like all Toyotas, the RAV4 comes standard with the STAR Safety System™. On RAV4, that includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). The enhanced version of VSC interfaces with the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system to influence steering assist. The integration of EPS allows the enhanced VSC system to better anticipate the onset of vehicle control loss and more effectively respond to driver operation and vehicle behavior.
Comfort and Convenience
Form, fun, function and value are plentiful in the RAV4 with a generous array of standard convenience features, including air-conditioning; a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and hands-free telephone controls; AM/FM CD stereo with MP3/WMA playback capability, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology; six speakers; USB port with iPod connectivity; auxiliary audio jack; cruise control; outside temperature gauge; remote keyless entry; engine immobilizer; ten bottle/cup holders; power windows and door locks; power mirrors with folding feature; illuminated entry system, and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.
The Upgrade Value Package available on RAV4 grade models adds 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels; color-keyed door handles; Daytime Running Lights (DRL); roof rack; privacy glass; power tilt/slide moonroof; upgraded fabric interior; and, on two-row models, a cargo area tonneau cover.
The available Appearance Package on selected Sport grade models gives the RAV4 a sleeker look. Its unique rear door design features chrome accents and deletes the spare tire and tire cover. (The package equips the RAV4 with run-flat tires.) Other external cues include color-keyed power heated outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators and folding feature; a stainless steel exhaust tip; unique badging and a clear rear step bumper protector. Inside, the Appearance Package adds chrome interior door handles; chrome parking brake tip; chrome-accented shift lever and vent trim and unique doorsills.
The Limited Grade brings a touch of luxury to the RAV4, adding dual zone automatic climate control with micro dust and pollen air filter; Smart Key system with push button start that allows the driver to open the vehicle by carrying the key fob and grasping the door handle; upgraded seat fabric; interior footwell lighting; leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls and hands-free telephone controls; leather-trimmed shift lever with metallic insert, and a cargo area tonneau cover.
An optional tow package for V6 models increases towing capacity to a maximum of 3,500 pounds. Available features on the Sport grade, in addition to those offered on the RAV4 grade, include a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar support. All RAV4 models offer a backup monitor system with rear-view camera and monitor integrated into the auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Built on a 104.7-inch wheelbase, the roomy RAV4 was engineered with a focus on quiet ride quality. For example, eliminating outer moldings from the windshield and door glass enhances aerodynamics and reduces wind noise. The grille, headlamps and distinct, sharp character lines give RAV4 a rugged yet sporty look. The rear view conveys a more traditional SUV style, with LED tail lamps and an externally mounted spare tire in a color-keyed shell (except Sport Appearance Package).
The RAV4 Sport grade stands apart from the RAV4 grade with P235/55 R18 tires on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels; color-keyed door handles and overfenders; integrated fog lights; rear privacy glass; smoked headlamp trim; sport-tuned suspension, and dark charcoal fabric seats.
The Limited grade is distinguished from the Sport grade by 17-inch aluminum six-spoke alloy wheels with P225/65 R17 tires and a unique front grille with chrome accents, roof rails, color-keyed power heated outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators and folding feature, and multi-reflector halogen headlamps with auto on/off feature.
A brushed metallic silver finish on the center cluster, door trim and steering wheel spokes gives the RAV4 interior a contemporary style. Three-tiered Optitron gauges provide an upscale look. Useful touches are also evident with the addition of a large vanity mirror with "eye-friendly" ceiling lights, illumination on two extra-large front cup holders and a cell phone holder in the center console. The Limited grade offers an additional level of refinement with an air conditioning vent dial, chrome accented air conditioning vent garnish and a chrome parking brake tip.
The RAV4 offers numerous seating configurations, spacious cargo area under-floor storage (on models without the third-row seat) and provides a 73-cubic foot cargo area with all rear seats folded down. The 60/40-split second row seat features reclining seatbacks and an armrest with two cup holders. The seats slide fore and aft to maximize room for passengers or cargo. The second row seats fold flat using convenient tilt-down levers on the side of the seatbacks; two-row models include one-touch fold-flat levers on either side of the cargo area. The optional 50/50 Split-and-Stow® third-row seat on RAV4 and Limited grades accommodates two passengers and folds flat under the rear deck.
Abundant interior storage includes a dual glovebox; front door compartments; a large center console box; front seatback pockets and a rear door storage pocket. On two-row models, two storage compartments are concealed under the rear cargo area floor by a water-repellant foldable deck board.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. RAV4 will also come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
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