2013 Toyota RAV4 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Nov 30, 2012
  • Completely redesigned
  • Better fuel economy
  • Increased rear seat room
  • Increased cargo room
  • Spare tire moved under cargo floor
  • Top-hinged liftgate
  • New 6-speed automatic transmission
  • New AWD system
  • Electric steering
  • More air bags
  • Optional blind-spot monitoring system
  • Optional rear cross-traffic alert system
  • V-6 engine cancelled
  • Sport trim level cancelled
  • Third-row-seat option cancelled
  • LE, XLE and Limited trim levels


The redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 is a 5-passenger crossover SUV offered with front- or all-wheel drive (2WD or AWD) in LE, XLE and Limited trim levels.

Exterior Features

One significant difference between the new 2013 RAV4 and the old RAV4 is that the spare tire has been moved from its perch on the rear of the vehicle to a new location under the cargo floor. This change allowed Toyota to install a top-hinged liftgate in place of the previous side-hinged tailgate. This is a key difference, because the old cargo door opened from left to right, making it very difficult to access the cargo area when parallel parked at a curb.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch steel wheels, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, and power exterior mirrors.

Interior Features

The redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 is equipped with a new slim-back front seatback design that improves leg room for rear-seat occupants. Toyota says it has added soft touch materials to the cabin of the new RAV4, and the crossover SUV offers Clear Blue gauge and control illumination at night. The new RAV4's cargo area is also larger than before, measuring 38.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 73.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

The RAV4 LE trim level is equipped with air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and a Display Audio system with a 6.1-inch touch screen. The driver's seat is height-adjustable, the 60/40-split rear seat reclines and folds, and the RAV4 LE includes Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio capability.

Optional Features

The 2013 RAV4 XLE is equipped with aluminum wheels, upgraded interior fabric and seat designs, dual-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, fog lights, and heated exterior mirrors with embedded turn signal indicators.

The Limited trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, SofTex leatherette seats, heated front seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a power tailgate with driver-selected memory height settings. It rides on 18-inch aluminum wheels.

Under the Hood

With the cancellation of the formerly optional 269-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the only power plant offered for the new 2013 RAV4 is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder generating 176 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm.

The engine is paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission, which drives the front wheels. The transmission offers an Eco driving mode designed to maximize fuel economy, and a Sport mode that improves shift and throttle response, and adjusts the new electric steering for a sportier feel, according to Toyota.

According to preliminary estimates from Toyota, the 2013 RAV4 will get 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway with all-wheel drive.

The new Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive system is optional, and offers three driver-selected settings: Auto, Lock and Sport. In Auto mode, power transfers to the rear wheels only when the front wheels slip. In Lock mode, which works at speeds under 25 mph, the system splits power evenly and continuously between the front and rear wheels. In Sport mode, power is variably distributed between the front and rear wheels as driving conditions and behavior warrant, such as when taking a corner at a brisk pace.


The new 2013 RAV4 is equipped with 8 standard air bags, traction and stability control, 4-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and a Smart Stop system that is designed to prevent the SUV from accelerating if the brake pedal is pressed. A reversing camera system is also standard for 2013, while new safety-related options include a blind-spot monitoring system and a rear cross-traffic alert system.


Toyota offers a navigation system and its Entune multi-media connectivity and telematics service for the 2013 RAV4 XLE and Limited trims. The Limited is exclusively available with an 11-speaker JBL Greenedge premium audio system.

2012 Toyota RAV4 Ratings
Toyota Car & Truck Ratings

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