Long a major player in the compact SUV segment, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 is about to get a major redesign to give it a much more contemporary, carlike look compared with the somewhat truckish profile of the current model. New photos posted on CarStyleBlog.com show a significantly smoother, rounder appearance, highlighted by a sleeker, carlike nose, and much larger, more prominent horizontal taillights.
Two items that have long been RAV4 signature styling cues, the tailgate-mounted spare and the swing-out tailgate, appear to be relegated to the history books with the new model, with a more conventional top-hinged liftgate, and underbody or floor-mounted spare.
The interior also gets a major update, although the changes aren't nearly as radical as on the exterior. The RAV's previous bi-level glovebox appears to be replaced by a prominent upper cubby-hole and a conventional lower glovebox. The HVAC Vents move from the top of the dash to the sides of the audio headunit, with the two round outboard vents remaining in roughly the same location. The climate controls appear to have changed from a series of buttons to a combination knob/button control system.
But the biggest news of all may be the disappearance of the V-6 from the option sheet. First offered on the 2006 model, the 3.5-liter V-6 was one of the largest and most powerful engines in the compact class, and gave the RAV4 a reputation for being the closet speed demon of the compact SUV realm. With more of the RAV4's competitors going to an all-four-cylinder lineup, and increasing consumer concerns over fuel economy, this will likely spell the end of the V-6 for the new RAV4. The four-speed and five-speed automatics offered with the four-cylinder and six-cylinder models respectively, are expected to be replaced by a six-speed automatic.
We won't have much longer to wait to know, for sure, as the 2013 Toyota RAV4 will be officially revealed at the Los Angeles auto show on Wednesday.