Chunkier mid-size SUV on the way

The next-gen Toyota RAV4 has been snapped for the first time, providing a fleeting glimpse at what will likely be a chunkier and more rugged-looking design for the popular mid-sized SUV.

Heavy camouflage makes it tricky to discern styling specifics, but the bluff nose and gaping grille are more in keeping with the Tundra and Tacoma pickups than the current RAV4.

The headlamps are well concealed, but we can tell they're bigger than on the current model, and appear to wrap around in a similar fashion to those on the FT-AC concept from the Los Angeles motor show.

Although the prototype appears to have a relatively flat roofline – no coupe-style malarkey here – the rear hatch does look less upright than before. Toyota has stuck with horizontal tail-lights, while a twin exhaust suggests this is a sporty variant (okay, or sporty-looking).

Once again, most of these cues appeared on the FT-AC. Sensing a theme here?

Under the skin, the car is expected to adopt the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) currently underpinning the C-HR, Camry and Prius. Expect to see a range of four-cylinder and hybrid powertrains, including the new Dynamic Force tech revealed in 2016.

Toyota sold 21,077 current-generation RAV4s in Australia last year – a 7.9 per cent improvement on 2016, but off the pace of the Mazda CX-5 (25,831) and Hyundai Tucson (23,828).

Click on the gallery tab for more images of the next-gen RAV4.