What was wrong with Toyota's popular little SUV the RAV4? Not enough seats apparently, so Toyota have heeded their customers' cries with this, the 7 seat Vanguard. Based on a stretched RAV4 floorpan, even some of the body panels come from the '4.

Launched today in Tokyo, the Vanguard comes with a choice of familiar engines: the 2.4liter 2AZ-FE or 3.5liter 2GR-FE, with a 7-speed "Super CVTi" attached to the former and "5 Super ECT" to the latter. Makes sense to us, as the extra torque and power of the V6 should dispense with the need for the pseudo-7-shifter's annoyingly frequent interventions.

Toyota says, "The Vanguard is a new luxury-class mid-size SUV with a high degree of mobility and power to spare." Follow the "read" link for more marketing guff, but make no mistake, they're on to another winner here, no matter how cramped that third row may be.

Prices start at around 2.7million Yen (US$23,000) rising to almost 3.5million.(US$30,000) The suits aren't saying if or when it's heading overseas though. Considering it's been labeled as a "luxury-class" model, one wonders if a glitzed-up Lexus version might be under consideration to be an Acura RDX and Infiniti EX competitor.

[Source: Toyota]

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