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Truck Trend First Drive & Road Test: 2007 Toyota RAV4
Bigger and more muscular with several features no one else has in the segment.

By Mark Williams
Truck Trend, February 2006

Several years ago, when product planners were given the task of designing the third-generation RAV4, they knew what had to be done. Although the current model had sold well, the vast majority of buyers, not surprisingly, turned out to be women. Likewise, RAV4 styling was typically described as "cute" and "toylike." For others, the RAV4 was just plain small. Slightly larger models like the Escape and CR-V began hitting the sweet spot in the segment, selling two and three times as many vehicles. The solution: Make the new RAV4 bigger and more muscular and offer several features no one else has in the segment.

On a completely new unit-body platform, the 'ute has a wheelbase almost seven inches longer than the one it replaces, an overall length almost 15 inches longer, and is more than three inches wider. The result, along with some clever seating and packaging options, is a total cargo volume increase of almost six cubic feet. Exterior styling is vastly improved, moving closer to the bigger Toyota Highlander than anything else. The added width gives the RAV4 a squattier, more locked-down look and, when combined with the reshaped hood design and headlight arrangement, becomes more conventional SUV than cute 'ute.

More to read at the full article...
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