Toyota has yet to announce details or reveal images of its all-new RAV4, though CarAdvice understands the V6 will not form part of the engine line-up as Toyota instead opts for two four-cylinder engines.
CarAdvice sources say there will be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, replacing the current 125kW/224Nm 2.4-litre four, with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel effectively replacing the V6 as the engine option with more torque, but crucially better fuel efficiency.
There has also been big demand from customers for a Toyota RAV4 diesel, particularly in far north Queensland where such compression engines are popular for the low-down torque that makes them effective engines for off-roading.
Toyota launched the V6 in the current RAV4 in 2007 despite six-cylinder sales in the compact SUV segment – now labelled mid-size SUV – falling from 29 to 16 per cent of the market over five years, from 2001 to 2006.
The release was accompanied by a humorous TV advertising campaign where a neighbour causes suburban panic after mishearing a Toyota RAV4 V6 owner boasting about the engine’s power output of 200 kilowatts.
The Toyota RAV4 3.5-litre V6, used in other Toyota models such as the Aurion large car, Tarago people-mover and Kluger large SUV, produces 201kW of power exactly in the outgoing model.
The Toyota RAV4 V6, which was all-wheel drive only, was aimed at buyers looking for extra performance, as well as extra towing capacity.
With 333Nm, the V6 offered nearly 50 per cent more torque than the four-cylinder, increasing the RAV4’s towing capacity by 400kg to 1900kg.
The Toyota RAV4 V6 is one of the thirstiest compact SUVs on the market, however, with an official combined fuel use of 10.5 litres per 100km. The current, 2.4-litre four petrol has also fallen behind in the efficiency battle, with even the most frugal model, the front-wheel-drive RAV4 rated at 8.4L/100km.
The two new four-cylinders will aim to make Toyota more competitive in terms of fuel efficiency in this highly popular segment.
The new Mazda CX-5 uses as little as 6.4L/100km in four-cylinder petrol form, lowering to a combined figure of 5.7L/100km with the more expensive 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine.
Toyota’s RAV4 has consistently been one of the most popular SUVs on sale in Australia, and the latest car sales figures show it is currently the second-best-selling mid-sized SUV in 2012 behind the Nissan X-Trail.
The Mazda CX-5 is threatening to overtake both models after posting in excess of 1400 sales for each of its first two full months on sale.
The diesel RAV4 is another sign of Toyota listening intently to its customers as it aims to further extend its lead as Australia's most popular brand.
In February CarAdvice reported exclusively on a Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series dual-cab version that will be introduced in response to demand from mining companies.