Toyota Motor Philippines has just launched the 2019 RAV4, marking the 5th generation of the model that really started the crossover trend.
What surprised us the most about the all-new RAV4, beyond the new look, the specs and the fact that only 4x2 models will be offered, is the amount of work Toyota put into developing it.
Speaking to product specialists from Toyota Motor Philippines, they said that it is the first Toyota production model that used the expertise of “takumis”.
They said that the research and development of the RAV4 involved a takumi for the suspension development and a separate one for the powertrain, specifically the new gearbox. Both of these takumis were involved with Toyota Gazoo Racing, particularly with their Dakar-winning rally raid team.
In the Japanese auto industry, a takumi is a highly specialized engineer; effectively a master craftsman. Previously, only Lexus models in the Toyota fold made use of such experts.
But perhaps the most major claim of Toyota is the fuel economy: they say that the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is can achieve up to 30% better fuel efficiency than the previous model.
The claim from the RAV4 product specialists were determined by a fuel economy test in the US under a United Nations ECE (UNECE) fuel economy/emissions test (UN Number 101). Under that test, Toyota's product specialists say that the RAV4 was able to achieve better fuel economy that was better by up to 30% under the exact same conditions.
Much of the gain appears to be owed to the new powertrain: the new Toyota 2.5-liter four cylinder and the 8-speed Direct Shift gearbox. The new engine makes 203 horsepower, a big jump from the previous model’s 179. Also, the RAV4 uses a new, lightweight platform called TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture), allowing Toyota to add more features (i.e. more airbags, etc.) without affecting overall vehicle weight.
What was made clear is that the 30% was achieved under consistent conditions that involve putting the previous and current RAV4 models on a rolling road, and performing the same series of motions like accelerating, braking, and stopping.
They wouldn’t say exactly what the numbers are from that actual test, but we can make a reasonable guess: if the typical local urban fuel economy of the older RAV4 is around 6-7 kilometers per liter, could we expect the all-new RAV4 to achieve around 8-9 kilometers to a liter?
Does it sound too lofty? We’ll find out soon enough.