05/28/2013 05:13 pm ET Updated Jul 28, 2013

The 2013 Rav 4 is the Original Crossover

Only one vehicle can tout the title of the world's "original crossover sport utility vehicle." That is the RAV4, which was first introduced in 1994. Now, almost 20 years later the Toyota RAV4 is introducing its fourth generation offering up its latest reinvention of the world's original crossover sport utility vehicle for 2013.

"RAV4 was the original crossover SUV, a design and engineering concept now
widely adopted throughout the industry. But RAV4 is the original, the first," says Bill Fay, group vice president & general manager, Toyota Division. "For 2013, RAV4 is carefully tailored to the needs of the compact SUV market it created, with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a new six-speed automatic transmission, two-row seating for five and exceptional in-cabin technologies."

The 2013 RAV4 offers balanced performance and capability, including great fuel efficiency, class-leading cargo capacity, striking design and a compelling array of standard features.

Competition sits with the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

The 2013 RAV4 offers nine exterior color palette shades from which to choose and there are three trim levels; LE, XLE and Limited.

On the LE with a price tag starting at $23,300, the standard features include privacy glass, color keyed door handles, 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, a color keyed rear spoiler, and a 6.1-inch display audio unit with integrated back-up camera. There is also the option of roof rails or a tonneau cover.

On the XLE trim you get about $2000 worth of additional standard equipment, but for only $24,290 or $25,320 if you add the single option XLE navigation with Entune. Standard you get 17-inch alloy wheels, tilt/slide power moonroof, fog lamps, dual zone automatic climate control, and premium bucket seats with sport bolstering, just to mention a few. A Display Audio with Navigation and Entune is the only option on the XLE.

For the top-of-the-line premium Limited the price tag is $27,010 and there is a height adjustable power liftgate, Premium SofTex seating, eight-way power driver's seat with memory, and heated front seats. Options include Display Audio with Navigation and Entune, Display Audio with Navigation, Entune and JBL and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

On all the RAV4 trims expect a Display Audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetooth® connectivity, USB and AUX mini-jack, and six speakers.

All RAV4s also have standard Toyota Care, which provides two years complimentary maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Under the hood the 2013 RAV4 has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a new six-speed automatic transmission with 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque.

The 2013 RAV4 comes in both Front- or All-Wheel Drive with the front-wheel drive models coming in at 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway and the all wheel-drive models slightly lower at 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

For safety, the Toyota RAV4 offers a list of standout features like backup camera viewed through a 6.1-inch display audio screen, eight standard airbags and four-wheel disc brakes. There is also the Star Safety System with Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

The body structure is designed to help absorb collision-impact forces and help minimize impact deformation to the passenger cabin. High-strength steel is used in the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and door frames to help manage overall body deformation in the event of certain side collisions.

On the Limited trim there is also the Blind Spot Monitor system (BSM) that operates when RAV4 is traveling at approximately 10 mph or above, but it can be turned off with a switch on the dashboard.
On the inside, the angles and lines mean a more streamlined dash and everything just feels user-friendly. With the class-leading 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space, even if you don't opt to fold down the second row seats you still get 38.4 cubic feet.

With more than 1.7 million RAV4s sold since introduction, a surprising 80 percent are reportedly still on the road today, which means you can bet that buying into the Toyota RAV4 family will mean dependability and durability for years to come.