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To boost sales, the RAV4 bulks up

By Royal Ford | March 19, 2006

After a week spent driving the 2006 Toyota RAV4, it's easy to conclude that the ''mini-ute's" engineers tired of having sand kicked on them and clipped a magazine advertisement promising that they, too, could bulk up.

But whether the new bulked-up RAV4 will also beef up sales is unclear. Toyota hopes to almost double last year's number -- about 70,000 sold.

Through its first three generations, the RAV4 was a benign, cute box that sold mostly to women. It did not pretend to be capable of off-road cavorting, and in seriously bad weather it often looked overmatched, even as it rolled along just fine -- sort of like a scrawny guy on the bodybuilders' beach.


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