The first RAv4 V4.1 1994-2000 were a sort of Jeep/car, combining the best of both, with no pretensions of carrying huge loads or large families. It was the first of the crossover types that handled well on the streets and yet could still handle off road expeditions impressively and got fairly decent fuel economy for the time, 21 city/27 hwy. The 2 door version was about 67" wide x 65" tall x 146" long and had a respectable ground clearance of 7.7" It was grossly underpowered taking about 11-12 seconds for 0-60 mph It also only had a very limited cargo area, about 10 cu' with the back seat up. The 4 door increased this to about 27 cu' with the seat up or 58 cu' back seat down.
Over the years the RAV4 kept growing in size and weight and HP and surprisingly, fuel economy. The V4.3 2006-2012 was up to 21/27 mpg with the I4 and a quick 0-60 mph of just under 9 seconds while the amazing V6 did this in about 6.3 seconds with only a few mpg forfeit. It was about 5" wider, 1" taller and and 20" longer than the original 4 door (almost 3 feet longer than the original 2 door!) It's also gained weight over the years from about 2600 lbs in the first version to about 3400 lbs with the new 2013 (+800 lbs!)
The newest 2013 has better mpg again at 24/31 FWD and 22/29 AWD while performance has taken a hit.. 0-60 just under 10 seconds. Cargo area is still very respectable at about 73 cu' total, if you need that much.
I would like to see a new compact, sport RAV4... SS for Short Sport, a RAV4 that approaches the lineage of a Jeep and its own heritage, with sports handling of a well tuned car suspension (anti roll bars, wide wheels/tires, etc.) Enough room to carry stuff in the back, maybe a couple of bikes, hardware and grocery trips but no third row seat and long huge cargo area. If you need that much room for a large family, go buy a van or something. I want a fun to drive, fast car, under 7 seconds in the 0-60 mph is a must. Good gas mileage, should be at least 20+ in city and 30+ on the highway. AWD on demand and selectable at lower speeds and a 6 speed auto gear box... paddle shifters would be nice too.
So here is my answer, the new 2013 SS Sport. It's 75" wide, 65" high, 155" long with a wheel base of 92". Cargo area would be about 55 cu' with the back seats down. It has the new I4 176 HP/172 Lb Torque engine matched to the new 6 speed trans. It will accelerate from 0-60 in just under 7 seconds, and handles great..it's fun to drive! And this isn't hard to do since the cars curb weight is down from 3417 to about 2700 lbs (about 7-800 lb diet loss). With the available driving selection of economy or sports mode that affects the engine performance and trans gearing, mpg can easily get about 25mpg in town and 35+ mpg on the highway. This crossover will be fun to drive on the streets, and can handle moderate off road use with a 7" ground clearance. With the shorter wheelbase, like a dune buggy, it gains the ability to approach bigger bumps with ease. Easy to park and drive in the city with enough room in the back to carry a full load of groceries or other shopping needs and an occasional two people in the back seat, but probably not very comfortably.. but who would want to take long trips in this with four people anyway? It's mainly a two people car (+ dogs, etc.) and will be fun to drive, and quiet, with a great sound system and safety.
So... what do you think... is there a slot for this in the RAV4 family?
Here it is.. the 2013 RAV4 SS