Having attended the debut of the new RAV4 in Frankfurt, we didn't pay much attention to its North American debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. If we had we would have noticed a few additions to the U.S. version that we weren't privy to in Germany. The first is the inclusion of a third row of seating, which Toyota claims is a first in the small SUV segment. An extra 14-inches of length allow for the third row, which can be folded into the floor when not in use. The second addition is a powerful 3.5L V6 with dual variable valve timing that produces 269 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque while delivering fuel economy of 22/29 for the 4x2 models and 21/28 for 4x4 models. The new powerplant will propel the RAV4 to 60 mph in less than seven seconds.
The RAV4?s styling has grown up with each successive generation and the newest iteration is mature and upscale in
appearance. With the addition of a third row and class-leading power the RAV4 looks to become the king of small utes,
eclipsing such competitors as the Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty and even the all new Suzuki Grand Vitara. We?ll start
badgering Toyota for one to review immediately.