Toyota is updating its RAV4 crossover SUVs for the 2012 model year, and some models will receive Toyota's new Entune multimedia system.

Every 2012 RAV4 will now come with hands-free phone capability, phone book access and Bluetooth music streaming. The higher-end Limited Grade RAV4s will go one step further with an audio system display, navigation and the Entune connectivity service.

In order to get the most out of the Entune system, you really need to have a smart phone with a data connection.

The car itself isn't able to connect to the Web, so in order to access all of the new RAV4's features, an owner has to download the Entune App from either iTunes, Android Marketplace or the Blackberry Appworld.

Once the car syncs with the phone (Either through Bluetooth, or a cable), owners will be able to use things like Pandora internet radio, OpenTable, and Bing.

Entune also provides data services. A fuel price finder works with the GPS system to sort through local gas stations by location or price. The stock service keeps track of current stock prices and daily market changes. A sports app will track the scores of your favorite teams. It can monitor traffic incidents in the area and display where they are in relation to the car's position. Finally, a weather screen can show current weather, a five day forecast and even a radar map of your location.

The Entune system will be a pay based service not entirely unlike the way OnStar worked on new GM cars. A new RAV4 purchase comes with three years of free access to Entune apps and services. After that there will be a charge to access everything but Pandora.

The RAV4 isn't the first Toyota to feature Entune. The 2012 Prius V, Camry and Tacoma will also be available with the new system.

The current version of the RAV4 has been around since 2005 and the little SUV got some other changes to update it for 2012. A new front bumper and grill set the RAV4 apart for the new year.

author photo

J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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