For 2006, the Toyota RAV4 is completely updated, as Toyota’s compact SUV moves into its third generation.

The new RAV4 will eventually be built in Woodstock, Ontario, when that new plant becomes operational in 2008.

Unlike the 2005 model, which comes only with a four-cylinder engine, the 2006 RAV4 has a choice of two powerplants: an updated 2.4-litre four-cylinder with Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) that makes 166 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque, or an all-new 3.5-litre V6 with dual VVT-I, developing 268 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. The four-cylinder uses a four-speed automatic, the V6 a five-speed auto. There is an all-new drivetrain, chassis, electric power steering and suspension.

The RAV4 also features electronically-controlled Active Torque Control four-wheel-drive, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, hill-start assist and downhill assist control on V6 models, and an optional seven-airbag system that includes dual-stage front airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag on V6 Limited models.

The base I4 and V6 models include 17-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3 player with auxiliary output jack, air conditioning, driver’s seat height adjuster, 60/40 folding rear seat, power windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, tonneau cover and cargo net, power locks with keyless entry, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, and intermittent rear wiper.

The Limited I4 and V6 models add 17-inch alloy wheels, six-CD changer, automatic dual-zone climate control, power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped wheel, privacy glass and fog lamps. The V6 model has three rows of seats.

The V6 Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, colour-keyed fender badges, soft tire cover and Sport badges.

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