The all-new Toyota RAV4 unveiled last week at the New York Auto Show is a little bit shorter than its predecessor, but the switch to the TNGA platform has improved packaging and the wheelbase is actually 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) longer than before. Does this stretch between the axles make the cabin spacious enough to accommodate a third row? Maybe.
Australia’s GoAuto had the opportunity to chat with Toyota Motor North America group vice-president and general manager of the Toyota division, Jack Hollis, about what the future has in tow for the newly launched RAV4. While he did not rule out the idea of a seven-seat version of the crossover, he suggested it’s unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future:
“I think RAV4 in its compactness holds a certain space. But I will say there is always room for growing SUV entries. So whether we decide to bring one in a seven seater or something different, that is something that I will keep you waiting for those answers.”
He motivated this decision by saying Toyota already offers its fair share of seven-seat SUVs, so a three-row RAV4 isn’t exactly a high priority right now. It could happen further down the line, but for the time being, the fifth-generation compact crossover will be offered exclusively with five seats. Let’s keep in mind that Toyota did sell a three-row RAV4 in North American and Japan some years ago, with the rearmost seats only suitable for kids.
During the same interview, Hollis hinted the new RAV4 could be further electrified beyond the already announced hybrid models scheduled to arrive in the U.S. early next year. While he did not go into many details, the Toyota representative said we’ll have to “stay tuned” to learn more about how the company’s electrification plans involving more plug-in hybrids and pure EVs will also impact the new crossover.
As a final note, RAV4 fans will remember there was a short-lived fully electric version as part of an agreement between Toyota and Tesla. The RAV4 EV was built in only 2,600 examples and was discontinued at the end of 2014 after just two model years.