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Car News : 2012 La Auto Show

New Toyota RAV4 Teaser: LA Auto Show Preview

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2012 Toyota RAV4

author photo by Jeffrey Archer
  • Toyota to show all-new RAV4 in LA
  • Styling to be updated inside and out
  • Video teases changes ahead of debut

A new Toyota RAV4 is coming. Toyota released a teaser video announcing the crossover, which will be revealed in full later this month at the LA Auto Show.

Several changes are evident from the video. For one, the new RAV4 gains new headlights. They're long and narrow, like several other recent Toyota models. They also appear to be integrated into the RAV4's grille design, just like the new Camry and Avalon sedans and the Venza crossover.

The RAV4 will also gain new taillights, though the video shows them only briefly. The video also includes one blurry shot of the RAV4's exterior, which shows a window line that tapers off near the back of the crossover. That style is similar to the Honda but different from today's RAV4, which has an upward kink in its rear side glass.

Aside from brief video snippets, we're not sure what to expect from the new RAV4. The SUV will likely again offer 4- and 6-cylinder engine options. Today's RAV4 offers a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four and a 269-hp 3.5-liter V6, both borrowed from the Camry. Fuel economy reaches as high as 28 mpg with the 4-cylinder, or 27 mpg with the V6. Those numbers will likely improve as a new 6-speed automatic transmission is expected to debut.

We also expect the RAV4 to retain its basic size and Camry platform. That makes it Toyota's smallest crossover, positioned below the midsize Highlander. We're not sure if it will retain its optional third-row seat, which is not offered in many rivals.

Once changes are announced, the new RAV4 will have to fight hard for sales. Many rivals--including the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V--were recently redesigned. Indeed, the compact SUV segment is now among the most competitive, with dozens of challengers from many brands. We'll see if the RAV4 is up to the challenge when Toyota pulls off its cover in LA.

What it means to you: If you're shopping for a small SUV, you may want to wait for the Toyota RAV4's LA debut.

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New Toyota RAV4 Teaser: LA Auto Show Preview