NEW FOR 2009:

– New two-wheel drive model
– New 2.5-litre four-cylinder replaces 2.4-litre four-cylinder
– Revised exterior styling
– New active head restraints, fuel economy meter, and vehicle stability control cut-off switch
– Audio auxiliary input relocated
– Base model receives colour-keyed molded spare tire cover, deletes rear cargo cover and tray net
– Base V6 model receives rear privacy glass and colour-keyed molded spare tire cover, deletes rear cargo cover and tray net
– Sport model receives 18-inch alloy wheels, Sport Grade rear spoiler, colour-keyed molded spare tire cover, automatic headlamps, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, deletes six-CD changer, rear cargo cover and cargo net
– Sport V6 model adds Sport Grade rear spoiler, colour-keyed molded spare tire cover, power sunroof, automatic headlamps and auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, deletes rear cargo cover and cargo net
– Limited models add Limited Grade front bumper and grille, revised 17-inch alloy wheels, Smart Key system with pushbutton start, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, colour-keyed fender flares and XM satellite radio-ready antenna with prewiring
– Exterior colours: Magnetic Grey Metallic, Sandy Beach Metallic and Pyrite Mica added; Flint Mica, Savannah Metallic and Everglade Metallic deleted
– Interior trim: Dark silver finish added, brushed metallic trim deleted

For 2009, the Toyota RAV4 undergoes a facelift and receives a new four-cylinder engine and revised list of standard features. A new front-wheel drive version with limited-slip differential is available on five trim levels. On the exterior, the RAV4 gets a redesigned front grille, front and rear bumper, headlamps, fog lamps and rear bumper protector; the fender-mounted antenna is replaced with one mounted on the roof, and the outside mirrors now contain turn signals. Inside, there are front active head restraints; there is a switch for the display on the steering wheel; a vehicle stability control cutoff switch and fuel economy gauge are added; and the auxiliary input for the stereo has been relocated. The APX Leather packages have also been deleted.

A new 2.5-litre four-cylinder with Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence and an Acoustic Control System replaces the previous 2.4-litre four-cylinder. The RAV4’s other engine choice remains a 3.5-litre V6. The four-cylinder is mated to a four-speed automatic, the V6 to a five-speed automatic. Driveline choices are two- or four-wheel drive, with V6 models including hill-start and downhill assist control.
Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines come in Base, Sport and Limited trim.

Features on the Base models include 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, fabric seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, power locks with keyless entry, dual vanity mirrors, power windows with driver’s side auto up/down, tilt and telescopic wheel, floor mats, cruise control, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, colour-keyed molded spare tire cover, front and rear splash guards, roof rack, rear spoiler, variable intermittent wipers, windshield de-icer, intermittent rear washer/wiper, and automatic headlight cancel feature.

The Sport models add 18-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, rear privacy glass, Sport rear spoiler, automatic headlamps, black headlamp surround and fog lamps.

The Limited models use 17-inch alloy wheels and add dual-zone automatic climate control, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, wheel-mounted controls and XM satellite pre-wiring, eight-way power driver’s seat, cargo cover, cargo net, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Smart Key system with pushbutton start.

Smoothly restyled and with several new features, the RAV4 now benefits from a new engine that improves on the sometimes sluggish performance of the outgoing four-cylinder. The V6 remains a good choice as well, as it’s well-mated to this rugged little performer. The new choice of two-wheel drive, previously available only in the U.S., should make it popular with buyers who like the RAV4’s size and practicality, but don’t need the four-wheel system. The 60/40 seats fold entirely to create a flat cargo space, increasing its capability; overall, this is a well-done little utility vehicle. Later in the model year, production will switch from Tahara, Japan to the company’s new plant in Woodstock, Ontario.

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