All-wheel-drive models have a new Dynamic Torque Control system that no longer requires wheel slip before sending more power to the rear wheels. Instead, it uses an electromagnetically controlled coupling just in front of the rear differential and can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels when needed, or otherwise all of it to the front wheels to maximize fuel economy. The system includes an Auto mode, a Sport mode that sends power to the rear wheels from any start, as well as a Lock mode that will help in deep snow, mud, or wherever slow, sure traction is needed or wheel slip might be helpful. Front-wheel-drive models get an Automatic Limited Slip Differential that can be engaged at low speeds and help negotiate slippery areas like a snowy driveway.
The new RAV4 has handling that's more car-like than ever, thanks to a double-wishbone rear suspension as well as a MacPherson strut-type front suspension and, overall, a lowering of the center of mass. Speed-sensitive electric power rack-and-pinion steering provides crisp response.
Inside the new RAV4, new thin-profile front seats help maximize legroom in back and front seats are upgraded in XLE and Limited models. Limited models upgrade the seating further with French stitching on SofTex upholstery and trims. Rear-seat space has been expanded, and the seatbacks can recline somewhat when needed--or flip forward (split 60/40) to expand cargo capacity (with easy-retracting rear headrests).
Safety features include a total of 8 airbags, including a driver knee airbag, as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist. The body structure has also been completely re-engineered, with more high-strength steel than the previous version. And an available Blind Spot Monitor system with Rear Cross Traffic Alert uses radar sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles.
RAV4 LE models come with 17-inch steel wheels, plus keyless entry, cruise control, power locks and windows and air conditioning. XLE models add alloy wheels, roof rails, a moonroof, fog lamps, folding power mirrors with integrated turn signals, dual-zone automatic climate control, sport-bolstered front seats, and a tonneau/cargo cover. Top Limited models get machine-finished 18-inch alloys, plus synthetic (SofTex) seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Smart Key entry, push-button start, and a power liftgate.
All RAV4 models include new Display Audio sound systems with a 6.1-inch touch screen, as well as AM/FM, CD, a USB port, an auxiliary input, Bluetooth audio streaming and six speakers. Bluetooth hands-free calling capability is also included. Through the audio systems, you can also use the base system to control climate-control settings, use the available navigation system, or access subscription-based Entune functions--with mobile apps for services like Bing (search) and Pandora (streaming radio). There's also a multi-information display (MID) that can be navigated through buttons on the steering wheel, with easy access to trip-computer functions and other displays. The step-up JBL Premium Audio system that's available on the RAV4 Limited adds a 576-watt, 8-channel amp and a total of eleven "GreenEdge" speakers.