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The press kit for the new RAV4 starts off by referring to the original RAV4 as "An icon in motoring history." Hyperboles aside, the new RAV4 is a more refined and mature SUV than the original, but it's also much larger nearly lifting the model out of the segment of the compact SUV segment it helped create.

Europe?s best-selling SUV is now 5.7 inches longer, 3.15 inches wider and its wheelbase has grown by 2.75 inches, although the vehicle?s height still remains relatively low. The sleek new look reminds us of a de-Bangled BMW X3, and it slips through the wind with a drag coefficient of .31.

A new rear suspension and increased rear overhand have also dramatically increased the RAV4?s cargo carrying abilities. Luggage space is up 25% over the last model up to class leading levels. Cargo carrying also benefits from the EasyFlat seating system, which when actuated by a single lever near the rear tailgate folds flat the rear seats without the need to remove headrests or seat cushions.

Two diesels and one gas engine are available for the new RAV4. The gas engine is a 2.0L VVT-i four-cylinder that produces 150 hp and scoots the ute to 62 mph in 10.6 seconds. The diesels are Toyota?s new 2.2L D4-D diesel engines available with either 135 hp or 175 hp. Both are mated to a six-speed manual and the more powerful diesel will be standard on a new upscale trim level called the RAV4 X (shown).

Finally, the new RAV4 gets Toyota?s Integrated Active Drive System called VSC+ that controls the integration of the electronic four-wheel drive, power steering and vehicle stability control to help keep you from totaling your new RAV4, which will almost certainly be more expensive than your old one.
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