2009 RAV4 gets refreshened, bigger base engine

Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Toyota RAV4

Toyota has revealed the 2009 RAV4, and while the changes to its smallest CUV are modest, they are worth noting. Foremost is a refreshening of the exterior with a new grille, front bumper and restyled rear. New wheels, mirrors and fender flares round out upgrades. A new Sport Appearance Package is also available on the top level 4WD V6 RAV4 that gets a unique rear door with no spare tire and a set of run-flat tires. The SAP also gets you color-keyed exterior molding, extra interior upgrades and a new rear spoiler.

Toyota has also found a way to both increase the size and power of the RAV4's base four-cylinder engine while also squeezing out a bit better fuel economy. At an estimated 22 city and 28 highway, the new front-wheel-drive base model scores one mile per gallon higher than the '08 edition. The enlarged 2.5-liter four cylinder engine produces 179 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, an improvement of 13 horses and 7 lb-ft over the previous 2.4-liter. We have to wonder though why Toyota placed a brand new automatic tranny in the '09 RAV4 with only four ratios from which to choose.

The optional 3.5-liter V6 soldiers on unchanged and offers EPA fuel mileage ratings of 19 city/27 highway for front-wheel drive models and 19 city/26 highway on models equipped with four-wheel drive. The six is mated to a standard, and again unaltered, five speed auto. Pricing for the base RAV4 remains the same at $21,500 while the rest of the range gets price increases and a 4WD RAV4 LTD V6 will start at $27,810.

Check out Toyota's full press release after the jump and images of the 2009 RAV4 in the gallery below.

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[Source: Toyota]


Toyota Announces Prices for 2009 RAV4 SUV

TORRANCE, Calif., Aug. 5, 2008 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the 2009 RAV4 compact sport utility vehicle (SUV).

Equipped with numerous enhancements for 2009, the average MSRP for the RAV4 will increase by $224, or 0.9 percent. The 2009 RAV4 will begin arriving at Toyota dealerships in early September.

The 2009 RAV4 is offered in three distinct grades -- Base, performance-oriented Sport and top-of-the-line Limited -- and with a choice between an all-new four-cylinder and powerful V6 engines with either front-wheel drive or electronic on-demand four-wheel-drive.

The base MSRP for the 2009 RAV4 ranges from $21,500 for the Base grade front-wheel-drive with a four-cylinder engine to $27,810 for the Limited grade four-wheel-drive with a V6 engine. Prices for all Base grade models remain unchanged from 2008, reflecting RAV4's excellent value.

All models will also offer Extra Value Packages containing many of RAV4's most popular stand alone option features at substantial savings. Savings on Extra Value Packages for all three grades range from $570 on Base, $1,000 on the Sport, and $2,000 on Limited.

For 2009, RAV4 adds an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is more powerful and more fuel efficient than the previous 2.4-liter engine. In addition, all RAV4 models feature numerous interior upgrades and a stylish new Sport Appearance Package is available for the 4WD V6 model.

All RAV4 models provide enhanced safety and security with the addition of standard front seat active headrests and an engine immobilizer. Comfort, convenience and user technology are also significantly enhanced in 2009 RAV4 models. The Limited grade adds a new standard Smart Entry system that allows the driver to open the vehicle by simply carrying the key fob and grasping the door handle. The Sport and Limited grades offer an available integrated backup camera linked to an electrochromic mirror. Integrated XM satellite radio is a new feature for 2009, and the Sport and Limited grades offer a new low-cost navigation system. All RAV4 models have new standard seat fabric, and the Sport grade exclusively offers a new, unique Charcoal leather option.

Externally, the design of the 2009 RAV4 is freshened with new front and rear styling with a revised grille and front bumper, improved fog light trims and redesigned tail lamps. All models, except the 4WD V6 with the new Sport Appearance Package, include a redesigned rear step bumper with a black protector molding while the Sport Appearance Package receives a clear rear bumper protector. The Base and Limited grades feature new 17-inch alloy wheel designs, and the Limited also adds overfenders, new color-keyed power heated turn signal side mirrors and a unique grille design with chrome accents. The Sport grade adds a unique redesigned rear spoiler.

The Sport Appearance Package available for the 4WD V6 RAV4 model includes an exclusive look with a redesigned rear door featuring chrome accents and no spare tire. The package equips the RAV4 with run-flat tires. Other external cues include color-keyed power heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a stainless steel exhaust tip, unique badging, and the choice of an exclusive exterior color, Elusive Blue Metallic. Inside, the Sport Appearance Package adds a chrome accented shift knob with leather insert, chrome interior door handles, parking brake and vent trim, unique sport grade doorsills and available sport floor mats.

The Sport Appearance Package includes an AM/FM six-disc CD changer with six speakers, MP3/WMA playback capability and integrated XM(R) Satellite Radio with a one-year extended complementary service subscription.

The RAV4's standard all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is a low-friction design optimized for performance and fuel efficiency. It produces 179 horsepower at 6,000 RPM, along with 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM (versus 166 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of peak torque of the previous 2.4-liter engine). The 2.5-liter engine employs Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts (compared to the intake-only previous 2.4-liter engine).

The redesigned four-cylinder engine is partnered with a new four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that is more compact, lightweight and efficient than the previous four-speed transmission. The new transmission is not only smoother in operation than the previous one, but more responsive as well. Fuel efficiency is excellent for its class and improved over the 2008 model with EPA mpg estimates of 22 city/28 highway on 4x2 models and 21 city/27 highway on 4x4 models.

The available 3.5-liter V6 is the powerhouse of its segment, generating a class-leading 269 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 246 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,700 RPM. The V6 is also equipped with dual independent VVT-i to maximize performance and efficiency while reducing emissions. Equipped exclusively with a gated-shift five-speed automatic transmission, the V6 RAV4 models offer greater fuel efficiency compared to less powerful competitors. The V6 RAV4 can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in under seven seconds, yet has estimated EPA fuel economy mpg ratings of 19 city/27 highway for 4x2 models and 19 city/26 highway for 4x4 models. All RAV4 models meet Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV II) certification.

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