Here’s the good news for the Toyota RAV4 – the crossover market it created is growing stronger than ever before.
And as far as the bad news goes – the RAV4 just isn’t cutting it in the face of growing competition.
Everywhere you head across the land, the crossover seems to have been reborn as a firm favorite among American motorists. In fact, almost one in every five vehicles sold during 2012 was classified as a crossover of one variation or another – the market is exploding in a big way.
To give credit where due, the Toyota RAV4 pretty much launched the commercial crossover market back in the day and became something of an icon across various circles the world over. So, when talk of the 2013 Toyota RAV4 began some months ago, it would probably be fair to say that there was a fair amount of pressure on the automaker to redefine the segment it was in large responsible for first creating.
Did the 2013 RAV4 deliver? To an extent yes, but comparatively speaking, not really.
The problem is, if the 2013 RAV4 existed in a vacuum then it would by rights be a pretty excellent machine. Toyota has upped the ante in terms of performance, looks and dynamism both inside and out – efforts have been extensive and can be seen across every square inch.
However, it isn’t alone in its quest anymore and is instead facing stiff competition from the likes of the Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V to name but two – both of which have progressed so much further than the 2013 RAV4 and effectively douse Toyota’s efforts pretty comprehensively.
It’s a case of taking two steps forward and a large step back with the 2013 RAV4, which has delivered the good in some areas at the expense of others. The ride is stiffer and sportier but comes across as a little harsh. Practicality has been upped but seems to have taken precedence over comfort. Its new style twists are more striking but don’t give an upmarket impression.
All in all, the $24,145 wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t for the fact that rivals are offering so much more bang for buck, even if it means having to shell out a little more in the first instance.
Nevertheless, Toyota remains confident that 2013 sales of the new RAV4 will hit the company’s target of 200,000 units, though this isn’t exactly a lofty aim given the fact that the past-generation version moved to the tune of 175,000 units last year.