Toyota has prepared one of its RAV4 midsized SUVs for a tilt at selected rounds of the 2015 Rally America season.
Driver Ryan Millen will pilot the Rally RAV, competing in the 2WD Open Class.
That’s no typo; a two-wheel-drive model has been selected for competition and the RAV has been prepared with surprisingly limited modifications.
The same 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that powers all-wheel-drive models in the Australian market remains as-is, producing 132kW and 233Nm.
But the Rally RAV will be quicker to 100km/h from a standing start than its road-going sibling, thanks to a 227kg weight-reduction.
The diet comes despite the addition of a roll cage, while other additions include BFGoodrich all-terrain tyres and TEIN suspension in the front and rear.
"I've driven just about everything Toyota has to offer," Millen said.
“I've been very impressed with the RAV4's tight, compact body and smooth handling. I'm looking forward to putting it through the paces this season."
Toyota’s Alex Du said the carmaker felt “it was due time [the RAV4’s] performance and handling characteristics were put on display”.
The carmaker took the opportunity to fire a shot across the bow of fellow Japanese rivals Suzuki and Subaru, reminding us that it ‘invented’ the SUV category as we know it with the original RAV4 in 1994.
Toyota’s RAV4 rally special is due to compete in its first event at the Idaho Rally, June 13-14.
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