The 2013 RAV4 was introduced to America in November 2012, and it’s become quite clear that Toyota has high expectations for this completely re-designed sporty SUV. You may have gotten a chance to watch the Game Day Toyota commercial featuring the 2013 RAV4 genie and her special wish granting powers. Although the 2013 RAV4 may not be an actual genie, it’s sure to grant all that you wish for in an SUV.
In a class that has become dominated by smooth, wind-sculpted designs, four-cylinder power, and conventional packaging, the RAV4 is an SUV that stands out with its angular styling, exterior-mounted spare, and optional V-6 engine. Having undergone its first major redesign since 2006, the 2013 RAV4 has expressive styling and a roomy, comfortable interior that is decidedly refined; but with agile handling and all-weather capability, it’s still ready for adventure whenever you are.
The new RAV4’s dash panel is driver-centric and asymmetrical, with primary and secondary controls all within easy reach. On the passenger side, the sculpted dash panel creates a sense of airy spaciousness. RAV4’s dash panel and gauges all feature Clear Blue illumination, which provides drivers and passengers easy visibility in the darkest of driving conditions. A manual tilt/telescope steering column comes standard in all RAV4 models; steering wheels also feature controls for audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, and the Multi-Information Display (MID).
All RAV4 models feature driver and front passenger seats with high seatbacks and a slim back, which enhances rear-passenger knee room. The RAV4 LE driver’s seat is six-way adjustable, including seat height. The RAV4 XLE driver and front passenger will get to ride in premium bucket seats with sport bolstering, providing ample support of the lower hips, lower torso and shoulders during cornering. Seats in the XLE also have premium fabric with French stitching. The Limited model features the same premium driver and front-passenger bucket seats found in the XLE, but also comes equipped with an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, plus heaters in the front seat bottoms and seatbacks with two temperature settings and driver power lumbar. All RAV4 Limited seats are trimmed in high-quality, breathable SofTex with French stitching. SofTex also covers the center armrest, and portions of the door and dash panels.
All RAV4’s feature 60/40 split/fold second-row seats that recline several degrees to enhance passenger comfort.
The 2013 RAV4 is the most technologically equipped RAV4 yet. Standard on all RAV4 models is a Display Audio with a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen that includes a standard backup camera and Bluetooth connectivity. When shifted into reverse, the audio display will show the image of what the backup camera captures; the image will include an overlay of positioning lines representing the parking space and approximate distance to obstacles.
XLE and Limited models offer an available GPS Navigation and Entune™ multimedia system with satellite radio and advanced voice recognition. The Limited grade further offers an available JBL® GreenEdge Premium Audio with 576-Watts of maximum power and 11 speakers.
An available Blind Spot Monitor system (BSM) is offered in Limited models is a driver’s lifesaver! When the BSM system detects a vehicle in the adjacent lane, it alerts the driver with a blinking light indicator in the side mirrors. If the turn signal is on when there is a vehicle in the blind spot of the driver’s intended lane, the indicator on the corresponding mirror will warn the driver with a solid light. The Blind Spot Monitor incorporates Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which uses the Blind Spot Monitor radar sensors at the lower rear bodywork of the vehicle. When backing up, the RCTA senses vehicles approaching from either direction and provides an audible warning combined with a flashing indicator in the appropriate outside mirror.
Sophisticated and dynamic, the exterior features a progressive silhouette, with a sleek-sloping roofline and an aggressive character line. RAV4 pursues the design goals defined by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, with aggressively sculpted front and rear fenders and boldly proportioned tail lights that define RAV4’s athletic presence.
Taking a break from its heritage, RAV4 switches from its side-hinged rear door to a convenient roof-hinged liftgate with a space-saver spare tire stored under the cargo floor. Standard on the Limited model is a one-touch power rear liftgate with driver-selectable memory height settings.
As on other recently introduced Toyotas, RAV4 engineers paid special attention to aerodynamics, the most obvious detail being small vortex generators molded into the tail light cases and near the base of the A-pillars. Less obvious are the aerodynamic undertrays beneath the passenger cabin that help smooth and control airflow. Keeping in-line with the body-engineering principles debuted in the 2012 Camry and 2013 Avalon, RAV4’s body structure includes high-strength steel to help achieve several significant goals, including a robust and stiff platform that enhances steering and handling precision, and a body structure that is both strong and light.
Performance and Handling
The 2013 RAV4 provides a number of powertrain technologies that help deliver an engaging driving experience. It features Toyota’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which produces 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 ft. lbs. of torque at 4,100 rpm. Replacing the previous four-speed automatic is a six-speed transmission with Sequential Shift. First and second gear ratios have been optimized for around-town performance; to keep engine revs lower at highway speeds and enhance fuel mileage, fifth and sixth gears are overdrives.
RAV4 front-wheel-drive models have received EPA- estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 24 mpg city/31 highway, while all-wheel-drive models are EPA-estimated at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway. A new Eco mode is designed to promote more efficient driving thus helping to enhance fuel efficiency.
The new RAV4 provides its active owners with a more dynamic drive, with new technologies like a Sport Mode with Dynamic Torqu Control AWD, enhancements in suspension performance, and optimized electric power steering. The spring rates have been enhanced, and the shock absorbers have been optimally tuned to help the vehicles handling characteristics.
In both front- and all-wheel drive, RAV4’s Sport Mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response and steering response. In RAV4 with AWD, Dynamic Torque Control AWD has additional benefits. When turning into and through a corner, power is sent to the rear wheels to help enhance cornering performance, detecting steering angle and lack of yaw rate in Sport Mode (and detecting lack of yaw rate in Normal and Eco Mode).
The Dynamic Torque Control has three different drive modes: Auto, Lock and Sport. In Auto Mode, RAV4 delivers power primarily to the front wheels under most driving conditions, switching automatically to AWD only when needed. By only engaging the rear axle and delivering power to the rear wheels when needed, Auto Mode helps enhance fuel efficiency and reduce drivetrain wear. In Lock Mode at lower speeds, RAV4 essentially has a full-time AWD system with power delivered to all four wheels. At speeds below approximately 25 mph in Lock Mode, up to 50 percent of engine power is sent to the rear wheels, enhancing traction and helping RAV4 “dig” through sandy or muddy conditions. Lock Mode reverts to Auto Mode when vehicle speed passes approximately 25 mph. As on the front-drive RAV4s, Sport Mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response, and steering response. In RAV4 with AWD, Sport Mode has additional benefits. It can provide smooth and nearly instantaneous torque transfers between the front and rear wheels to help enhance cornering performance. Under certain conditions, Sport Mode can automatically deliver up to 50 percent of engine power to the rear wheels. In Sport Mode, the AWD system also can apportion power based on input from the steering angle and yaw rate sensors of the Vehicle Stability Control system. When turning into and through a corner, power is sent to the rear wheels to maximize traction available at each of the four corners of the vehicle. Under braking in a straight line in Sport Mode, power delivery to the rear wheels can be momentarily suspended to best leverage the benefits of ABS and VSC.
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