Toyota hints at rally-inspired RAV4

Toyota hints at rally-inspired RAV4

More than a few motorsport enthusiasts were surprised when Toyota announced plans to go rally racing with a soccer mom-friendly RAV4. Raising our eyebrows even higher, the Japanese car maker has revealed that the rally-bred tech could find its way to a limited-edition version of the RAV4 in the not-too-distant future.

“You might just find some of that TRD racing magic trickle down to a special production RAV4 model,” explained Bill Fay, Toyota’s general manager, in an interview with Automobile Magazine. “That would be awesome,” he added.

Fay stopped short of confirming what the TRD-tuned RAV4 will look like. The crossover built to compete in Rally America (pictured) is based on the entry-level LE trim, but Toyota has removed about 500 pounds by gutting the interior and replacing the front windows with Plexigas units. It rides on 15-inch alloy wheels wrapped by BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, and it gains a custom-designed suspension setup that’s lower and firmer than stock.

TRD hasn’t made any major mechanical modifications, meaning the rally car uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft. of torque. The RAV4 was built to compete in the 2WD-Open class, so it’s fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. Performance specifications haven’t been published.

We’ll hear more about the Toyota RAV4 TRD in the coming months. When it lands, it’s expected to carry a base price of about $30,000.

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