rav4

Toyota RAV4 crossover adds high-tech toys for 2012

The RAV4, Toyota's premium crossover vehicle, adds new audio systems for 2012 that provide occupants with hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth. The next step up from the base, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 Limited Grade, adds an optional display audio system with navigation and Toyota Entune connectivity services.

The Limited edition of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 also includes XM satellite and HD radio.

Entune is a collection of mobile applications and data services that gives RAV4 owners three years of free access to apps and services delivered via most smartphones. After a smartphone is connected to the 2012 Toyora RAV4 using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Entune's features are operated using the crossover vehicle's controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune apps for 2012 include Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, and Pandora.

The 2012 Toyota RAV4 starts at around $23,000 and is offered in RAV4 base, Sport and Limited grades and a choice of two engines: A 2.5-liter 4 cylinder engine or V6. Each engine can be teamed with front-wheel drive or electronic on-demand four-wheel-drive. The RAV4 offers optional third-row seating on base and Limited models.

The standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine produces 179 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is partnered with a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The RAV4 with this powerplant delivers 22 mpg city / 28 mpg highway on front-wheel drive models and 21 mpg city / 27 mpg highway on 4-wheel drive models.

An uphill / downhill shift control significantly reduces “hunting” between third and fourth gears when driving uphill. Braking when going downhill automatically causes a downshift, enhancing engine braking for better control. A flex lock-up torque converter continuously controls lock-up switch slippage to boost fuel economy.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine is an option thar generates 269 horsepower and 246 lb.-ft. of torque. The V6 has a 5-speed automatic transmission. The V6 lets the RAV4 rabbit from 0-to-60 mph in under 7 seconds. The V6 has EPA estimates of 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models and 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway for 4WDs.

Standard on the 2012 Toyota RAV4 are Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology. Standard convenience features include air-conditioning, a tilt / telescoping steering wheel with audio and hands-free telephone controls, AM / FM CD stereo with mp3 / WMA playback capability, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth, six speakers; USB port with iPod connectivity, auxiliary audio jack, cruise, an outside temperature gauge, remote keyless entry, engine immobilizer, 10 bottle / cup holders, power windows and door locks, power mirrors with folding feature, illuminated entry system and three 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.

A stiff body, 4-wheel independent suspension and power steering give the RAV4 agile, sporty handling and a car-like ride. The base RAV4 has P215 / 70 R16 tires with 16-inch steel wheels. An option: P225 / 65 R17 tires with styled steel or 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. The Sport raises performance with standard 18-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. The Limited rides on P215 / 65 R17 tires with standard 6-spoke aluminum alloy wheels.

The RAV4’s available automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions and driver input. The system switches effortlessly from front-wheel-drive to 4-wheel-drive mode, maximizing fuel efficiency. In Auto mode, torque distribution to the rear wheels is decreased during low speed cornering for better maneuverability.

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The driver and passenger advanced front airbags are designed to inflate according to collision severity.

The Upgrade Value Package available as an option on base RAV4s adds 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels, color-keyed door handles, a roof rack, privacy glass, a power tilt / slide moonroof, upgraded fabric interior and, on two-row models, a cargo area tonneau cover.

The available Appearance Package on selected Sports gives the RAV4 a sleeker look. Its unique rear door design features chrome accents and deletes the spare tire and tire cover. The package equips the RAV4 with run-flat tires.

Inside, the Appearance Package adds chrome interior door handles, chrome parking brake tip, chrome-accented shift lever and vent trim and unique doorsills.

The Limited brings a touch of luxury to the RAV4. It adds dual zone automatic climate control with micro dust and pollen air filter, interior footwell lighting, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls and hands-free telephone controls, a leather-trimmed shift lever with metallic insert and a cargo area tonneau cover.

An optional tow package for V6 models increases towing capacity to a maximum of 3,500 pounds. All RAV4s offer a backup monitor system with rear-view camera and monitor integrated into the auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at hawkefracassa@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Toyota