Toyota is hard at work developing the new 2013 RAV4, as these spy shots suggest. Though the 2013 Toyota crossover is covered in camo, the prototype does provide our first sneak peek at one of Toyota's most popular vehicles in the U.S.

The 2013 RAV4's front-end disguise may vaguely resemble the front clip of the new 2013 Acura RDX crossover, but the actual design may prove anything is possible once the new RAV4 debuts. Instead of the current RAV4's somewhat angry-looking snout, we wouldn't be surprised to see some 2013 Venza cues displayed on the 2013 RAV4.

The slight downward slope of the side-glass windows suggests Toyota may have styling updates planned that could enhance it visually compared to the slab-sided 2012 RAV4. Around back, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 prototype has taillights that stretch into the liftgate door, unlike those of the current RAV4. This model has the license plate mounted in the center of the liftgate door though, at this point, it's unclear whether Toyota will offer any 2013 RAV4 with a sideways-opening rear door or opt for a more conventional upward-opening unit found on competitors like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. This 2013 RAV4 tester has a single exhaust outlet, suggesting it might be the volume four-cylinder model.

As we said in an April story featuring the two 2013 RAV4 renderings shown below, Toyota may choose to drop the third-row seating available on the 2012 RAV4, and the V-6 model's future is uncertain, as well. Honda offers just one engine option on the CR-V while Ford makes available three different engines on the Escape. A 2012 RAV4 with the 2.5-liter I-4 makes 179 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, with 22/28 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 19/27 mpg with all-wheel drive. We're hoping the I-4 model's four-speed automatic is the first thing Toyota removes, to increase fuel economy and the driving experience on highways.

Through June 2012, Toyota has sold 89,438 RAV4s this year, making it the automaker's most popular SUV or truck, and fourth best-selling vehicle behind the Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla, and Toyota Camry. What must the 2013 Toyota RAV4 offer to get an edge on compact crossovers like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V?