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Toyota releases details of 2014 RAV 4

The second year of the 2014 Toyota RAV 4 does not offer any power or safety improvements. Will that slow the tremendous sales surge the vehicle has had?


Toyota released the full specifications of the 2014 RAV 4 today. Using the Toyota Media Site, Toyota placed the full specifications for the media with no summary. The basic news is that Toyota has not upped the horsepower of the RAV 4 and has not announced any new chassis changes that might help it pass the small frontal offset crash test conducted by IIHS.

The RAV 4 dropped the mighty 3.5 liter V6 option when it was redesigned. Since there is room in the engine bay some had hoped the V6 option might make a comeback for 2014, but at least as far as this announcement, it will not. Instead it will offer just the base 176 horsepower four cylinder. The Ford Escape, which leads the segment in sales, does offer a powerful 240 horsepower engine.

Toyota was also one of many compact CUVs that did poorly on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new small frontal overlap test. Thus, Toyota cannot market the RAV 4 as having the Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest safety rating. Embarrassingly, Toyota’s rival (of which it owns a substantial stake) the Subaru Forester aced the test.

The 2013 Toyota RAV 4 is all new and presently on-sale. The crash test failure and the lack of a powerful engine seem to have had no detriment to sales thus far. Since its release early this year the RAV 4 has simply leaped in sales. Comparing last August, at which time the older RAV4 was on sale to this August we can see a 50% increase in sales based on volume. At present the car is slated to hit an annual sales number of nearly a quarter million units.

The RAV 4 beats all Toyota/Lexus/Scion models except Prius, Corolla, and Camry. The 23,502 units of RAV 4 sold in August rivaled the segment leading Ford Escape which sold 26,714. Interestingly, the Ford Escape lost ground last month compared to 2012. By comparison, most other competitors in the segment, such as the Subaru Forester which sold 13,163 units, do about half the volume of the RAV 4 and Escape.

Because Toyota's RAV 4 is currently in synch with its model year and the calendar year, we would expect that 2014 models will not be available until late this year, or possibly January 2014.