NEW FOR 2008:

– New four-cylinder Sport trim line
– Base V6 available with new "B" Package option
– Sport V6 receives new titanium-coloured alloy wheels
– Third-row seating deleted on V6 Limited
– Exterior colours: Black Forest Pearl added; Nautical Blue Metallic deleted; Everglade Metallic now comes with Ash interior instead of Taupe

Now in the third model year of its complete redesign, the Toyota RAV4 receives only trim changes for 2008. The third row of seats on the Limited has been discontinued, although that is no great loss, as they were extremely cramped.

The RAV4 is available with two engines, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic, and a 3.5-litre V6 with a five-speed automatic transmission.

A version with front-wheel drive is sold in the U.S., but all Canadian models use Toyota’s "Active Torque Control" four-wheel drive system, which allows the vehicle to switch continuously and seamlessly between front- and four-wheel modes. A manual locking switch allows a maximum torque split of 55/45 between the front and rear wheels, under speeds of 40 km/h. All models come with vehicle stability control and traction control, while V6 models add hill-start and downhill assist control.

With the addition of the new four-cylinder Sport trim line, both engines come in Base, Sport or Limited configuration.

Features on the Base models include 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxillary jack, fabric seats, 60/40 folding and reclining rear seats, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, floor mats, cruise control, heated mirrors, roof rack, privacy cover, soft tire cover, variable intermittent wipers with deicer, and intermittent rear washer/wiper.

The Sport models add 18-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, cargo net, privacy glass, power sunroof, colour-keyed fender flares, black headlamp surround and fog lamps.

The Limited models add 17-inch alloy wheels, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxilliary jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped wheel, footwell lamps, and moulded tire cover.

Now offering similar appointments with both engines, the RAV4 can be somewhat underpowered in its four-cylinder configuration; the V6 is a better choice, and not that much of a step up in price. The 60/40 rear seat folds entirely to create a flat luggage space, without having to flip seat cushions or remove head restraints, making it easy to convert to cargo stowage. In 2008, production is expected to move from Japan to a new location in Woodstock, Ontario.

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