Toyota TRD RAV4 revealed
Toyota has produced a rally-inspired version of its soft-roader that isn’t just a tinselled-up toy.
Unveiled at the Chicago motor show overnight, the off-road-ready RAV4 is the first time the model has been touched by Toyota’s tuning-shop TRD.
Said to have been influenced by Ryan Millen’s Rally RAV4, the new model will land in US showrooms later this year and sit above the RAV4 Adventure model.
Toyota Australia has confirmed a tough-look RAV4 Edge variant will launch here with the greater range in the second quarter of 2019 but is yet to comment on the new model. Given the local arm is concentrating its efforts to boost the Gazoo Racing brand here over the TRD nameplate, it would likely land under a different name if made available to right-hand drive markets.
Sharing the same 218mm ground clearance as the Adventure model, the TRD Off-Road is bolstered with lighter 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Falken Wildpeak all-terrain rubber. The suspension has been overhauled to handle bumps and crashes on rocky roads with re-valved twin-tube shocks, ‘off-road tuned’ red coil springs, new internal rebound springs and revised bump stops for better body control ‘on large bumps and dips’.
The model looks tougher outside with oversized fenders, new bumpers, a blacked-out grille and fog lights mounted underneath. Inside, there is practical synthetic leather upholstery trim and washout vinyl floors with red stitching and TRD embroidery.
The engine remains unaltered, powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated four-cylinder producing 151kW through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It connects to an all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels and features torque vectoring control to mitigate slip.
The complete Toyota Safety Sense suite is installed along with added features such as trailer sway control (for 1600kg braked towing), hill start assist and downhill descent control.
Alex Rae is Drive’s Melbourne based reporter with over 10 years’ experience in the automotive industry as a photographer and journalist. Having studied both engineering and the arts, Alex understands what makes things tick while appreciating that sometimes it’s all about form over matter…