Toyota is updating the insanely popular RAV4 for the 2019 model year, which means it may be able to leave the shadow of the much newer Honda CR-V. That’s not a knock against Toyota, as the company offers a serviceable compact crossover that people seem to really love. In fact, the brand sold 407,594 RAV4s in the United States last year while Honda only moved 377,895 CR-Vs.
But the high-volume RAV4 is getting on in years. When Honda introduced the updated CR-V, the Toyota was already five years old and beginning to look a little dated. Fortunately, a fifth-generation model is being readied for the 2018 New York Auto Show. Toyota even issued a shadowy teaser image to whet our appetites.
While the shape doesn’t appear to be radically different from the current crossover, it’s much more SUV-like overall. Toyota is definitely moving the model’s styling in a new direction. Sadly, the backlit image obscures much of the vehicle’s finer features — making a detailed assessment next to impossible. Fortunately, we’ve utilized high-end photo manipulation software to boost the brightness and give you a better look at the upcoming RAV4.
Whoops. It would appear Toyota’s media department employed some photo trickery of its own by blocking out everything but the top edge of the crossover’s silhouette. As a result, all we’ve managed to achieve is a depiction of how the new RAV4 might look in the opening microseconds of an atomic blast. It seems as if the car companies have caught on to our digital tricks.
That’s okay. We already have camouflage-clad spy shots of the fifth-generation crossover, which prove Toyota’s FT-AC Concept has had a major influence on the car. The new RAV4 should have a blunted face, imposing grille, sharper angles, fewer curves, and squared-off wheel arches. It will also swap to Toyota’s New Global Architecture — a platform already used by the Camry, Prius, CH-R, and (eventually) nearly every high-volume compact-to-midsize vehicle in the brand’s lineup.
Will the aggressive new styling decisions turn off prospective RAV4 customers? We highly doubt it. However, even if it does, those opposed will undoubtedly be treated to bargain prices on the outgoing version after the 2019 model year makes its debut in New York at the end of the month.
[Images: Toyota; Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]