Fifth-generation RAV4 – ready for anything that the future holds

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By Victor Adar

In this era of cutthroat competition, one of the ways to warming the hearts of potential buyers while making profits is finding solutions. Once you find what is missing and fix it, buyers will come in droves.

Take a close look at smartphones; certain brands are usually sold out immediately they are launched. Online pre-orders of some well-known gadgets would run out in split seconds.

For others, a product launch could even lead to more losses. What is that market phenomenal that is often ignored?

Knowledge of a product you are planning to buy, or upgrade to is vital in today’s increasingly changing environment. As a consumer, you have to look towards the horizon so that you do not have to keep upgrading each and every year.

Well, various industries are embracing innovation and creativity and transport sector is not left behind.

There is a new Toyota Rav4 in town, a fresh model that is expected to change driving experience big time. It was launched at Toyota Kenya’s Uhuru Highway branch mid-May.

If ‘shape’ is your problem, the all-new vehicle, which is seemingly more premium design paired with better performance and capability, there is little doubt that this new model can be your darling.

Speaking during the launch, Toyota Kenya managing director Arvinder Reel said that the new RAV4 aims at stimulating the curiosity of customers, inspiring their desire to try something new and to experience the joy of driving anywhere, anytime, and as far as they want.

Toyota Kenya managing director, Arvinder Reel (left) and chairman, Amb. Dennis Awori, explore the features of the fifth generation RAV4 during its launch at the motor dealer’s showroom along Uhuru Highway.

“The RAV4 has been a long-time market leader in the urban passenger SUV market and it remains one of our key mass production models,” says Reel. “With the fifth generation of our RAV4 model, the vehicle has come full circle and we can confidently say that the all-new RAV4 is indeed evolved and ready for anything that the future holds.”

Based on creating what Reel calls “Robust Accurate Vehicle with 4 Wheel Drive,” the car’s development concept blends the power and sophistication of an SUV, improved performance, capability and safety in the automobile industry. Other top features include the vehicle’s generous rear cargo space (bigger compared to the previous version) and outstanding driving performance realized by a new 4WD system.

Going by the fact that this is the same vehicle that debuted at the New York Auto Show towards the end of last year, Mr Reel says that there are huge expectations especially from local consumers. The car not only comes in two versions of 2.0litre and also a 2.5litre engine that produces 207 horsepower.

Despite its enhanced power, the vehicle is fuel-efficient compared to previous versions. The new engine plus a lighter curb will really help the new vehicle achieve the most fuel-efficient performance among its peers.

According to a top executive at the firm, the new models will cost from Sh3 million to about Sh6 million. He says the next generation of consumers are not bothered about the price but the value. The perception that new cars are expensive is being buried. There is even a lot that will make a switch to the fresh product. This may surprise you, but given how consumers are wired, it is clearly happening.

Since customer safety plays a major role in the business, Mr real points out that the vehicle comes equipped with dynamic torque vectoring all wheel drive system which automatically senses what the terrain the vehicle is on and how much torque is needed to ensure stability, achievement of high 4WD handling, stability, and off-road performance resulting in improved fuel efficiency. It also has stability control, which automatically senses when the vehicle’s handling limits have been exceeded and reduces engine power and/or applies select brakes to help prevent the driver from losing control.

For passenger safety, the vehicle comes with front-impact airbags, side impact airbags and overhead airbags as well. It also has a security system thanks to an ignition disable device that will prevent the engine from starting if the correct original manufacturer key is not used.

Launching when a majority of players are afraid that a recent motor vehicle age limit directive (which the authorities are now quiet about) will make the industry tremble, you wonder how risk reluctant Toyota is – or perhaps the car dealer must be having some smart people on payroll.

As much as Mr Reel believes that this is a “robust accurate vehicle with 4 wheel drive”, generating revenue in the short term may be a tough a fair. Clearly, it has been tough to cub the rise of second hand vehicles in Kenya. Last year alone, the bulk of the more than 102,000 vehicles registered in Kenya were imported.

While Car Importers Association of Kenya, through its chairman Peter Otieno, rejected the five-year age limit that the government proposed based on the fact that it would push up the price of vehicles and lead to a declining trend in sales, Toyota’s managing director is still upbeat on transport industry. He takes great pride in their achievement and dwells more on what he believes will generate revenues. In one or two years time, the industry will have changed and gone miles.

“Redesigned to reflect our futuristic vision,” says Reel, “the new Toyota RAV4 comes with a variety of updates including a stylish new look, a new engine and added safety and technology features.”

The first-generation RAV4 debuted in 1994, when body-on-frame four-wheel drive vehicles were positioned as off-road vehicles. Since then the RAV4 brand has played a pivotal role in the development of a new market for the passenger-friendly sport utility vehicle (SUV/crossover SUV). Today, a new one is with us. This new version is compact and styled with a sportier design. The RAV4 allows the driver to bravely take on the exciting roads at any time.

“The launch of the 2019 model is a show of Toyota Kenya’s continued efforts towards changing the SUV landscape in Kenya with better technology and increased driver comfort,” says Reel.