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The following is the text from a test drive of the Japanese version by UK magazine Autoexpress... 8) Looks good so far!

Don't be fooled by the familiar look of Toyota's new RAV4 - the original 'soft' roader has actually toughened up. Rivals such as the Land Rover Freelander, Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V have forced a redesign of the 4x4. And after exclusively driving the newcomer, we can report that the effort has been very worthwhile.

The new RAV4 is bigger than the old car, measuring 180mm longer and 70mm wider, while the outgoing model's platform, drivetrain and suspension set-up have all been ditched.

Replacements for each have come from other models in the Japanese firm's family. The parts bins of the mighty Land Cruiser and frugal Prius hybrid were raided to help create the best-handling, most economical RAV4 yet. To give the new 4x4 greater stability on and off-road, engineers started with a brand new 4WD system.

Unlike the former full-time all-wheel-drive transmission, the new arrangement powers the front wheels until the car begins to slide, which causes drive to be transferred to the rear axle. Slippery conditions also force the car's traction control systems - inspired by those fitted to the Lexus RX400h - to spring into action to give limpet-like grip.

To improve off-road performance further, the RAV4 also inherits Down-hill Assist Control (DAC) from the Land Cruiser, which restricts speed to 5km/h. On the test track, our emergency braking and fast cornering manoeuvres proved that this cocktail of systems irons out body roll and offers better traction than its predecessor. The steering feels direct, precise and nicely weighted. Even through a makeshift slalom course, the

RAV4's improved stability was clear. Impressively, the Toyota's ride quality has not been compromised, and the car still feels comfortable over uneven surfaces.

While our car used the Japanese-spec 2.4-litre petrol engine and CVT gearbox combination, the European RAV4 will get an additional choice of two new 2.2-litre diesels mated to a six-speed manual, plus a 2.4 petrol version with a four-speed auto. The standard 2.2-litre oil-burner generates 148bhp and 310Nm of torque, while the high-power diesel produces 180bhp and 400Nm.

It's these two engines that promise to really set the car apart, and if they offer even a slice of the refinement and response of the petrol powerplant we tried, they will certainly prove to be very popular. But the great leap forward in the appeal of the new RAV4 doesn't end there. Toyota has really focused on interior comfort. The seats are supportive, the dash is well appointed with controls that are easy to operate, while a starter button has been fitted to add a sporty touch. Indirect lighting over the cup-holders and in the footwells also adds to the ambience, while a more compact rear suspension design means that luggage space has increased considerably.

The new RAV4 may look similar to the car it replaces, but beneath the metal, it's a different story. Loads of Toyota's latest hardware has been combined to give the newcomer the handling and performance to remain at the top. It's just that now Toyota has added some real attitude to the equation, and all for a similar price to the outgoing car. It sounds like a recipe for success to us.
 

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Fatboy said:
The new RAV4 may look similar to the car it replaces.
We're actually talking about the 2006, right? Sounds like they've never seen one. It looks nothing like the 4.2 IMHO. Still doesn't have a NAV option, so still not interested.

Wayne
 

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With the mention of front-wheel drive untill the wheels slip and then becoming 4 wheel drive,.....I don't like the sound of that. I thought that there would be an option so you could turn on and off the 4 wheel drive. :?:

Sounds like a sell out in many respects. "Sometimes 4 wheel drive" or better yet "pretend 4 wheel drive" like the CRV doesn't do it for me. We'll have to see when it comes to the dealer nearest me. I'll drive one and then make up my mind.

The way I figure it, I never buy the same vehicle twice so chances of me owning another RAV4 are pretty small. My next one will be a Highlander (hi-brid or not) or even an AWD Sienna. We want more of a highway cruiser next time so the RAV will belong to my daughters if it is still running.

Later. M. :?
 
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The Autoexpress article is full of mistakes I read it today with my sub issue. The Autoexpress review was a of Japanese Spec 2.4L with CVT gearbox has nothing in common other body and interior with European and North American model and I bet the suspension of JDM spec will be different to both European and North American 2006 RAV4's.

Yes you can lock the 4WD system to be 4WD all the time that is what the big button is for on the center console. With the 4WD lock button off as the article says the RAV4 is FWD most of the time and if it detects slippage the RWD kicks in as well.

Europe is not getting the 2.4L Petrol/Gas engine Toyota Europe are sticking with the current crappy but slightly revised 2.0L that the current 2nd Generation RAV4 has and the 2006 RAV4 2.0L Petrol engine has the choice of either 5 Speed Manual or 4 Speed auto.

[rant on]
I know diesels engines Car's/SUV's are very popular in Europe I just wished Toyota had developed an automatic gearbox for the Diesel engine. I am pretty certain they would attract even more buyers if they did offered a automatic gearbox for the diesel car's and SUV's. My folks have had various Audi's including A4 Avant (2.5L TDI) and VW Touareg (2.5L TDI) and recently got a Audi A6 Avant 3.0L TDI all have had automatic (Triptronic) gearboxes and all were diesels and they are superb engines with a very decent automatic gearbox.

If Toyota did give develop an automatic Gearbox for the Diesel engine they would be able to offer the a automatic Gearbox for loads of Toyota's (Avensis, Avensis Verso, Corolla Verso and the RAV4) and the new Diesel Lexus IS220d as they all use the same engines.

Also I wished Toyota Europe had given people the choice in Europe of a V6 Petrol RAV4. Even the Lexus IS250 engine V6 2.5L (200hp) would have been a good choice in the new RAV4 for Europe.

[/rant off] :)
 

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Wayne said:
Fatboy said:
The new RAV4 may look similar to the car it replaces.
We're actually talking about the 2006, right? Sounds like they've never seen one. It looks nothing like the 4.2 IMHO. Still doesn't have a NAV option, so still not interested.

Wayne
you have the option of placing an aftermarket one. if you don't like the one's that slide out completely you can check out the avic d1 that looks very stock. pricetag will be less than if it was offered as an oem option. something to consider.
 

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I really want to test drive one to feel this handling that they talk about. If it's that much better than the 4.2 than it must be pretty damn good.
However, I still don't like the style and size so i would never buy one.
 
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Scott Cummings said:
Yes you can lock the 4WD system to be 4WD all the time that is what the big button is for on the center console. With the 4WD lock button off as the article says the RAV4 is FWD most of the time and if it detects slippage the RWD kicks in as well.
Lock mode is likely a straight lock with no differentiation.

This is not a good thing. It is a move to a slip/catch system like the CRV/HYndai/Escape etc ....

True AWD with a center differential is a superior system (but may be more expensive and use a bit more fuel). Splitting your torque 4 ways means much less likely to spin the first place...

IMO the AWD systems in the Rav have been getting progressively worse. Speaking of the 5 speeds:

Gen 1: Center differential, true AWD with a diff lock, only use if stuck. No real wear parts (like clutches or viscous)
Gen 2: Center Differential, True AWD, with a viscous couple to limit spin in stuck situations)
Gen 3: Slip - Catch: Front wheels slip then the back will do something. Standard lame system on CRV,Escape, Matrix etc .... Addition of a lock for when stuck is improvment over CRV..

Oh wait there is no Gen 3 5spd. Another black mark.

I am sure toyota will sell more of these due to the larger size and V6, but I think the core market is gone.
 

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zoomie said:
you have the option of placing an aftermarket one. if you don't like the one's that slide out completely you can check out the avic d1 that looks very stock. pricetag will be less than if it was offered as an oem option. something to consider.
Hey Zoomie,

Thanks. I knew about those options, but I wanted

1) Stock
2) Financed as part of the car.

Neither of which an aftermarket NAV system will get you. The closest thing I can find is oemvalue.com which I DESPERATELY want to do, but it's not in my realm to spend $1600 cash right now, and I've learned my lesson long, long about about stupidly using "24.9%" (or ANY high rate) credit cards... In fact, I'm still paying off a few, nearly 10 years later.

I know you're a bit younger than I, but since 99% of all kids these days make this mistake (if I may offer such advice), it's always much, much easier to be a little patient and save than it is to spend 10+ years paying off a Credit card.

Wayne
 

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guidryp said:
Lock mode is likely a straight lock with no differentiation.
I agree this is a step back and more like the unacceptable (to me) system of the CRV. The only saving grace (for me) is the Lock button which will let me tell the car to go 4WD when I know the road may be slippery; silly to wait until the car starts to slip before kicking into 4WD. BUT Why do you think it's a straight lock? This is an electronic 4WD system, not the mechanical ones like in the 20-year-old Suzukis.
 

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Official Press Release Info on the 2006 RAV4 4WD System -
(From European Press... I'm assuming this carries over to all countries)

Both on and off-road, the new Toyota RAV4 is easy to control with enhanced active safety through the high technology Integrated Active Drive System handling and safety package. The VSC+ is a world first in this segment. In most other vehicles the anti-lock braking (ABS), traction control (TRC), vehicle stability control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) operate independently of each other.

Toyota’s VSC+ integrates these functions via the high-speed CAN communications and adds the Active Torque Control 4WD system. This interaction of all systems allows for real-time control that corresponds to driver operation and vehicle behaviour, resulting in enhanced running, turning and stopping performance.

The VSC+ works with the electric power steering (EPS) to add steering torque assistance to the conventional stability control system. It anticipates the occurrence of understeer or oversteer and assists the driver by making the correct steering action easier and an incorrect action more difficult.

It also allows a better control when braking or accelerating on road surfaces with different traction characteristics under the left & right wheels, by providing additional steering torque to compensate for differences in left-right drive force.

In addition, the interconnection with the Active Torque Control 4WD system allows the cooperation of VSC with the drive torque distribution. This results in minimizing any over-steering or under-steering reaction when acceleration on a slippery road surface, enabling excellent stability and acceleration performance.

An Active Torque Control 4WD system continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between front and rear wheels. The system allows the vehicle to switch continuously between front wheel drive and four-wheel drive mode, optimising stability under all driving conditions and maximising fuel consumption. It helps to improve driving performance in terms of stability, acceleration and cornering. The conventional centre differential is removed and the electronic sensors monitor information from throttle angle, engine torque and speed, gear ratio, vehicle speed and steering angle.
Using values calculated from the sensors, the Active Torque Control 4WD system selects one of the three control modes by switching torque from front to rear:
• The ‘Start-off control’ ensures sufficient traction and acceleration when required. The torque distribution is 55:45.
• The ‘Normal control’ allows the system to switch from 4-wheel drive to front wheel drive (100:0) to ensure sufficient acceleration and improve fuel consumption. The torque distribution can then vary between 55:45 and 100:00.
• The ‘Cornering control’ increases cornering stability by monitoring the appropriate yaw rate that should be applied to the car.

The result is greatly enhanced performance and stability under all driving conditions; allowing more precise control in corners and under heavy braking and acceleration, and also improved fuel economy.

In addition, the driver has the possibility to lock the torque distribution to the 55:45 ratio by the 4WD LOCK mode switch.
Other standard control systems are hill-start assist control (HAC) which prevents the vehicle from rolling back on steep inclines and down hill assist control (DAC) which assists the driver by controlling wheel speed during steep descents (available with A/T only).
 
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I really don't have a problem with this "part-time" system. I don't really see what is lost as opposed to a full-time system. Assuming you are on the road most of the time where you would not need full-time system. Therefore something that monitors "slippage" and transfers to full-time is ideal
 

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The only problem with this is that, at least in the CRV it does not work as expected. It does spin and you could notice the car drifting for a split of a second before catching up again while driving at high speed in the highway under snow or heavy rain situations. It is a little bit scary because it is a little bit unpredictable, and it is not even close to the "4 paws on the ground feel" the full time AWD provides. And I have tried both.

After saying this I have seen reviews for the Matrix, which was until now, the only Toyota to use a "slip-and-catch" system that praised the implementation and explicitly stated that it was way superior and totally different to the one in the CRV. According to the reviewer while driving the Matrix one would not feel-notice the previously mentioned behaviour of that in the Matrix, with a fast and seemless response to the change on traction conditions. The system was implemented differently, according to them. Now, this I can not confirm because I have not drive a Matrix for more that a test drive, so it is just what I read. Maybe someone around here could confirm/denied this.
 
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Here's my take on this:

From this press release, it is evident that this system is a carbon copy of the Acura MDX's VTM-4, which is a GOOD thing!! (see the description for "start-control"). VTM-4, which stands for "variable torque management", can vary torque front to rear infinitely as needed.....While both the CRV's and MDX's drivetrains are both "part-time-as-needed" systems, there is a DAY and NIGHT difference between the two. The MDX's 4WD setup is PROACTIVE, in that it provides the 4WD when the need is ANTICIPATED and BEFORE slippage occurs. (For example the ECU is setup to always have the vehicle in 4WD when accelerating from a standstill, and also when there is SIGNIFICANT acceleration, even while cruising on the freeway) The system can, however, switch to 4WD even when it senses slippage in a "constant-speed" cruise mode. OTOH, the CRV's subpar system is a REACTIVE system that only reacts AFTER the slippage has occured.
 
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They all seem to have that "melted cheese" look, that toyota had in the early nineties
 

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In response to the 2006 RAV's new 4WD system, it doesn't surprise me (it's what I expected). We owned a 1998 RAV 4WD and a 2003 Matrix 4WD. Although both were different, both responded well in ice and snow conditions. Since the Matrix's system was on demand (when slippage was detected) I thought it would be inferior to the RAV's. It wasn't. The Matrix's system was seemless. If the RAV's new system is as good as what the current Matrix has, I will have no problem trading my 2002 Camry XLE for one (assuming that all the information related to the new RAV is accurate). Time will tell.
 
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For myself. I was looking for a simple, effective AWD system with manual transmission. There wasn't much availlable; Perhaps just Subaru and Rav4.

Now it is just Subaru.

There is something to be said for controlling all the wheels equally under differentiation. Whether accelerating or when engine braking in sloppy conditions.

Nothing matches the control of true AWD and manual tranny.
 

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>>Or this one? This is the new Subaru B9 Tribeca.

Naaah, I think the front view of the tribeca is a good candidate for "What were you thinking???".... The designer of the Tribeca is obviously a fan of those old 1930/1940's cartoons.....

Oh by the way, I heard that Toyota already bought (at least most of the shares) Subaru anyway....

Ravon....

Philo
 
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