Toyota has chosen a more rugged design for its new RAV4 compact SUV in a bid to boost its sales in Europe's most popular SUV segment.
The new, global model will be revealed at the New York auto show today ahead of European sales, which will start in the first quarter of 2019.
The new European RAV4 drops the current model's sole diesel version in line with Toyota's stated aim to phase out the powertrain from its passenger cars in the region by the end of the year.
The RAV4's launch engines will be a 2.5-liter gasoline-electric hybrid and a 2.0-liter gasoline, mirroring the current car's gasoline-powered lineup. Both engines are newly developed to give the RAV4 better fuel economy and more power, Toyota said, without giving performance figures.
Like the current model, the new RAV4 will be built in Japan for Europe.
The new car is built on the larger version of Toyota's New Global Architecture, dubbed TNGA-K. The length of the car is 4600mm, which is 5mm shorter than its predecessor, but using the new platform increases interior space by adding 30mm to the wheelbase, Toyota said. The new car is also 10mm wider at 1855mm.
The more rugged, bolder design "communicates a 'go anywhere' sense of fun and adventure," Toyota said in a statement. The ruggedness is reflected in the higher ground clearance and "wider stance," the statement added.
European versions of the RAV4 will offer four-wheel drive. The hybrid includes an electrified rear axle that transmits power to the rear wheels independent of the combustion engine at the front. This allows Toyota to get rid of the propshaft, saving weight and increasing fuel economy, the company said. The current RAV4 hybrid emits 115 grams of CO2 per kilometer, a figure that Toyota says the new model will beat without being more specific.
The four-wheel-drive system on the 2.0-liter model includes a propshaft that disconnects from the engine to save fuel when the car is only driving using the front wheels.