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Toyota RAV4 now greenest SUV on sale

New 2009 RAV4 has economical 2.2 diesel

Toyota RAV4 1

2009 RAV4 has been updated with new bumpers, grille, lights and alloy wheels

Toyota has announced a raft of improvements for the 2009 model year RAV4 4×4, including a revised turbodiesel engine that emits just 154g/km of CO2.

This makes the 2.2-litre RAV4 D-4D 150 the lowest emitting currently on sale – despite retaining its four-wheel-drive system. Until now, the greenest 4×4 was the , which manages 159g/km in front-wheel-drive form. The four-wheel drive Kuga emits 169g/km at best.

But the RAV4 diesel not only sees CO2 fall from 173g/km to 154g/km (an 11% drop) and fuel economy improve from a 42.8mpg official average to 48.7mpg (a 14% gain), the happy side effect is a boost in power. The D-4D now produces 148bhp and 250lb ft of torque (pulling power), a 10% increase in both cases.

The revised RAV4 is also available with an automatic gearbox for the first time – though you pay a substantial efficiency penalty for choosing the auto – CO2 emissions rise to 189g/km and fuel economy drops to 39.2mpg.

New 2.0 petrol engine

Toyota RAV4 2

New 2.2 diesel returns nearly 50mpg (claimed) on the combined cycle

Toyota’s new 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol engine, which made its debut in the new Avensis late last year, replaces the previous 2.0 VVT-i unit. This results in a 4% power increase to 156bhp.

More significantly, it also sees a 16% reduction in CO2 emissions from 212g/km to 177g/km, and a 20% improvement in official average fuel economy, from 31.4mpg to 37.7mpg.

In addition, the conventional automatic gearbox fitted to the previous petrol RAV4 has been replaced by a new Multidrive S continuously variable transmission (CVT), which helps optimise power delivery for economy and response.

Two-wheel drive RAV4

Toyota RAV4 3

Dual-zone climate control and a six-CD changer are fitted as standard

Toyota has also  introduced a two-wheel drive RAV4, following growing market demand for 2x4s. This also uses the new 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Toyota is yet to release the data for this version, but with fewer wheels to drive, it should prove more efficient than the four-wheel-drive petrol automatic.

Styling changes for 2009

Toyota has altered the look of the 2009 RAV4 with new bumpers, grille, lights, mirrors and alloy wheels. There are just four RAV4 variants, three are offered in XT-R trim, while the diesel automatic is only available in SR.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, six-CD changer, aux-in socket, folding mirrors and auto-dimming rear-view mirror. All except the entry-level two-wheel-drive petrol version also get leather, keyless go, and heated front seats. The SR adds such luxuries as a reversing camera – the display screen being conveniently built into the rear-view mirror.

Prices start at £18,995 for the two-wheel-drive petrol, rising to £25,295 for the diesel automatic. The diesel manual with that headline CO2 figure comes in at £22,795.

The new RAV4 is available to order now, with first deliveries in September.

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