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Not sure if anyone noticed this, but it's apparently something only for Toyota's home market. The 2006 RAV4 comes exclusively with a seven-speed Continuously Variable Transmission in Japan! And only the 2.4L 2AZ-FE under the hood... no other engine, no other tranny (as of today anyway). They're targeting sales of 2,000 a month (I didn't know the home-based volume was so low! October was a bad month for the RAV4 in the US and they moved 4,400 of em... all-time high RAV4 US sales was Aug 2002 with 10,329!).

Dual zone electronic climate control and "automatic levelling" projector beam headlamps are standard equipment as well.

A variety of hard disk drive and DVD-based navigation systems and the "Plasma Cluster" Ion Clean thingy are optional features.

Yet another bunch of exclusive options to cry over...





Press Release:
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/05/1114.html

Translated Features and Options pages:
http://babel.altavista.com/babelfish/trurl_pagecontent?lp=ja_en&url=http://toyota.jp/rav4/spec/spec/index.html
http://babel.altavista.com/babelfish/trurl_pagecontent?lp=ja_en&trurl=http://toyota.jp/rav4/spec/equipment/index.html

Babelfish can handle most of the HTML-only text content, but can't do anything about the Flash or graphics-based text. You can get a fair amount of information clicking around some of the website's navigation links.
 

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I thought the whole idea of a CVT was that it didn't have "speeds"?
 

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The first companies to offer CVT (Audi, BMW/Mini) found that the drivers where a bit freaked out by the way the CVT worked. Apparently the fact the engine speed rarely changed caused consternation. People where too used to feeling their transmissions shift. Due to this, artificially set ‘Speeds (gear rations)’ have been programmed into most of the Belt driven CVT’s on the market. It is purely for marketing reasons they do this, as it cuts down the efficiency of the design. The CVT in the Prius is not belt driven, but is gear driven, and in that application it is truly continuous, as the market for that car is looking for different things. As for not getting it here in the US, Toyota may simply be making certain it actually works in real world driving first. I have a friend who bought a Nissan Murrano with the V6/CVT and she has had some very odd problems with it relating to the electronics that control the transmission (like shutting itself off while on the freeway). As Toyota already had some similar problems reported with the Prius, I am sure they want to avoid any more. I for one though, would be interested in a V6/CVT/AWD option for the RAV. Would do wonders for the fuel economy.
 
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