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New Zealand Autocar: RAV on the roam - Toyota RAV4

09 April 2006

Toyota's third-gen RAV4 is a totally different machine to those that preceded it. Instead of being the sporty raver of the soft-roader segment, the smallest Toyota 4x4 has adopted a more mature approach as NZ Autocar's Kyle Cassidy found out.

Growing up is a fact of life. Unless your name's Peter Pan, it's a given, and even in the automotive world, those previously thought of as small vehicles will usually upsize. Perhaps it's a new cultural value these days that bigger is better, but whatever the case, replacements are generally larger than their predecessors.

And now the once-petite RAV4 has burst out of its cute shell, becoming more mature and solid. Like its predecessor, the latest RAV4 is built on a monocoque chassis. And it's a lot bigger, up 130mm overall, with a 170mm stretch to the wheelbase, and 80mm wider. Increases to the sheetmetal have liberated room inside, which is up a claimed 20 per cent.

With increased dimensions and the funky look ditched, RAV should be able to draw customers from a wider base. Those looking to get out of their thirsty, full-size SUVs will appreciate the combination of good interior space and reduced running costs.

More to read at the full article...
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