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Toyota joins SUV competition with all-new RAV4

Toyota has strengthened its lineup by launching the all-new RAV4 in South Korea to meet the growing demand for sport utility vehicles.

With RAV4, short for Robust Accurate Vehicle 4 Wheel Drive, is Toyota’s first fully changed model in six years and the Japanese carmaker aims to hit a monthly sales target of 3,000 units, officials said during a launch event Thursday.

“The all-new RAV4 was developed to offer the joy of driving in any given environment,” said Toyota Korea President Takemura Nobuyuki.

Toyota’s all-new RAV4 sport utility vehicle. (Toyota Korea)
Toyota’s all-new RAV4 sport utility vehicle. (Toyota Korea)

“We expect the RAV4 will help boost sales (in Korea) this year, as customers have been waiting for the new SUV model,” he added.

Currently, Toyota sells five models in the local market – the Prius hybrid, Camry, Avalon sedans, Sienna van and the RAV4.

The RAV4 is the only SUV model from Toyota that is being sold in Korea, while Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus sells three SUV models, UX, NX and RX.

According to the carmaker, the latest model is built on Toyota New Global Architecture platform, which allows a lighter car body and low-centered car balance for stable driving.

Its exterior was designed based on “cross octagon” concept by developing bold, masculine vehicle lines along with sharp-shaped LED headlamps and an angularly wheel arch.

The RAV4 comes in three different types: a 2.5-liter gasoline version, as well as two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive gasoline hybrid versions. The two hybrid models are equipped with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

Toyota has newly added a “Trail mode” to its three existing driving modes -- normal, eco, sports -- for better experience on bumpy roads.

Safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, dynamic radar cruise control and lane tracing assist have been incorporated in the latest model, the company said.

The price for the standard gasoline model begins from 35.4 million won ($29,000). Hybrid versions start from 39.3 million won and go up to 45.8 million won depending on the options.

By Kim Da-sol (