2009 RAV4 gets refreshened, bigger base engine

, Posted by Sports Cars Fans at 11:50 AM

2009 RAV4

Toyota has revealed the 2009 RAV4, and while the changes to its smallest CUV are modest, they are worth noting. Foremost is a refreshening of the exterior with a new grille, front bumper and restyled rear. New wheels, mirrors and fender flares round out upgrades. A new Sport Appearance Package is also available on the top level 4WD V6 RAV4 that gets a unique rear door with no spare tire and a set of run-flat tires. The SAP also gets you color-keyed exterior molding, extra interior upgrades and a new rear spoiler.

Toyota has also found a way to both increase the size and power of the RAV4's base four-cylinder engine while also squeezing out a bit better fuel economy. At an estimated 22 city and 28 highway, the new front-wheel-drive base model scores one mile per gallon higher than the '08 edition. The enlarged 2.5-liter four cylinder engine produces 179 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, an improvement of 13 horses and 7 lb-ft over the previous 2.4-liter. We have to wonder though why Toyota placed a brand new automatic tranny in the '09 RAV4 with only four ratios from which to choose.

The optional 3.5-liter V6 soldiers on unchanged and offers EPA fuel mileage ratings of 19 city/27 highway for front-wheel drive models and 19 city/26 highway on models equipped with four-wheel drive. The six is mated to a standard, and again unaltered, five speed auto. Pricing for the base RAV4 remains the same at $21,500 while the rest of the range gets price increases and a 4WD RAV4 LTD V6 will start at $27,810.