"The trend in the segment is toward fuel efficiency," said Toyota group vice president Bill Fay, explaining the four-cylinder-only lineup for the cute ute.
A new six-speed transmission with sequential shift replaces the previous four-speed auto, helping with fuel efficiency. The four banger, meanwhile, is the tried-and-true 2.5-liter, making 176 hp and 172 lb ft. That's three fewer hp than before, done to meet emissions. Highway mileage in the front-wheel drive model goes up from 28 mpg in the old version to 31 in the new. City mileage is 24. All-wheel drive mileage figures are 22/29.
A new Sport mode increases shift speed and throttle and steering response as well as blipping the throttle on downshifts while an Eco mode helps boost mileage.
There were not a lot of packaging benefits in eliminating the six-cylinder, said deputy chief engineer Yoshikazu Saeki.
"The V6 sizewise, is very similar to the four-cylinder," he said.
The new CUV has a healthy, and class-leading (according to Toyota) 73.1 cubic feet of cargo space, access to which is now improved by swapping out the old swing-out door with a height-adjustable liftgate. The old spare tire, which formerly clung to the outside of the rear door, is now stuffed under the rear floorboard. It's a compact spare in U.S. RAVs. The new rear hatch is a power liftgate on the Limited model, the most upscale of the three models offered. The other are the LE and XLE.
The RAV4 goes on sale in January but prices won't be released until Dec 17. Fay did say that pricing would offer "great value," so there ya go.