Toyota has whipped the covers off a new RAV4 TRD Off-Road model at the Chicago Auto Show in the United States, giving its fresh-faced, fifth-generation SUV an updated suspension set-up, new wheels and bespoke tyres “engineered specifically for trail driving”.
The latest addition to the RAV4 family is fitted with what the Japanese brand describes as “a full array” of special Toyota Racing Development engineering and design features for “greater trail-driving capability and standout style”.
This US-spec model is powered by Toyota’s familiar naturally aspirated 2,5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (offering 132 kW and 250 N.m), which directs oomph to all four corners via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Thanks to its standard “Multi-Terrain Select” system, the RAV4 offers various tailored settings: “Mud & Sand” mode for beach driving, “Rock & Dirt” mode for trails and “Snow” for wintery conditions, for instance. The RAV4 TRD Off-Road furthermore boasts hill-start assist control, trailer sway control and downhill assist control as standard.
Exterior design cues include “high-rise” roof rails and large over-fenders, plus the more aggressive bumper and grille designs used by the so-called “Adventure” grade.
Toyota says the special TRD-tuned suspension has been “engineered to enhance body control and small-bump isolation” to help smooth out trails. Model-specific red coil springs, meanwhile, bear an off-road focus, while the twin-tube shocks have been re-valved and feature new internal rebound springs. In addition, new bump stops ostensibly help improve body control over large bumps and dips.
Lighter and “more rigid” flow-formed 18x7-inch matte black TRD alloy wheels – wrapped in Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail rubber – are also included. Interestingly, the all-terrain tyres feature a unique tread pattern and compound “developed to TRD technical requirements”.
Offered in the US in Magnetic Grey metallic with an Ice Edge roof, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road features dark grey front and rear lower facias, as well as front LED foglamps. Midnight Black and Lunar Rock body colours are also available (both with the option of an Ice Edge roof), along with Ruby Flare Pearl and Super White.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of red stitching and red trim accent. Seat surfaces are covered in “SofTex”, a material Toyota says is “lighter than leather yet highly durable”, while the front pews have “TRD” lettering stitched onto the headrests. TRD all-weather floor mats and a rear cargo protector are also included.
The new RAV4 is scheduled to launch in South Africa in March 2019. While the local range will include a GX-R derivative (similar to the Adventure variant offered in the US), this TRD package in unlikely to feature.