Words by Rico Soriano
2012 is a big year for Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP). Apart from setting an all-time sales record in the Philippines last July, they also launched all-new models and revised versions of their existing product portfolio, starting from the smart Prius C, to the familiar Fortuner-Hilux-Innova IMV models, and the all-new Camry. These further cement Toyota on the top of almost any car buyers’ wish-list.
However, if there’s a market segment where Toyota seems to languish, it’s the compact SUV segment where the aging and pricey RAV4 is surpassed by new players in the market with the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru XV.
In other markets, the Recreational Active Vehicle with 4WD - more commonly known as the RAV4 - received a Camry-esque facelift as a final refresh, but that model didn’t officially make it to our shores. With the current RAV4 now due for a complete makeover, rumors have spread that an all-new model, based on the Camry's platform, will start production by the third quarter of this year.
Toyota is tight-lipped on how the next generation RAV4 will eventually look like, but some spy shots show that the front fascia will look a bit like the new Camry and the rear mimicking the Previa minivan. Still, the side profile evokes the RAV4's own unique character. The Philippine market will probably get the long wheelbase model, known as the Toyota Vanguard in Japan, as with the previous RAV4. It might also come with the new 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine fitted in the new Camry.
According to a very reliable source, the Fortuner-Hilux VNT update isn’t Toyota's last launching activity for 2012. And with almost every model in their line-up receiving an update or an all-new version, it's highly possible that the all-new RAV4 will hit our shores by the end of 2012.
With the compact SUV segment growing more and more competitive, we can't wait to see how the all-new RAV4 will fare against its competitors, especially in terms of pricing.