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Could New 2019 Toyota RAV4 Get Three Row And EV Variants?

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Toyota executive says anything is possible with new platform.

When an automaker as large as Toyota pulls the cover off of one of its most important models, there are bound to be probing questions from the press about where that model can go in the future. Such was the case with the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4, the company's top-selling vehicles in America. After Toyota revealed the new crossover to the world, media members in attendance naturally asked about Toyota's plans for the model in the future. Could the new RAV4 spawn a three-row variant? What about a new EV?

After speaking with Toyota Motor North America group vice-president and general manager of the Toyota division, Jack Hollis, Australia's GoAuto reported the new RAV4 could still have more in store. "I think we have different options for seven seats, we have the Highlander, we have growth of Sequoia and Land Cruiser and different options," Hollis told the Aussie publication. "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."

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While the RAV4 competes against smaller three-row entrants, namely the Tiguan and Rogue, it has only once offered a third row in its 24 year history. Meanwhile, Toyota has offered the RAV4 twice as a full-fledged electric vehicle for sale in California. "Of all electrification vehicles, Toyota owns 70 per cent of that market. We are going to continue to show and have more and more offerings, whether it is plug-in or pure EV," Hollis said. "We are going to have that in our line-up. Whether that comes to RAV4 and how soon, that is a 'stay tuned' moment." Toyota could easily modify the RAV4 for EV duty if it hasn't already done so.

"The TNGA platform has given us abilities for just about anything. Added features, more styling, bending sheet metal differently, there is a lot of different opportunities that TNGA gives us. EV, plug in, all of those are still very viable," explained Hollis. The Toyota RAV4 was offered as an EV twice in its history: in 1997 during the model's first generation and again in 2012 at the end of the third-generation RAV4's production run. The last EV was developed in conjunction with Tesla. The new 2019 RAV4 will go on sale later this year powered by an upgraded 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A hybrid version will follow in early 2019.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the RAV4 has not ever been offered with a third-row option, but it was an option on 2012-2016 RAV4s. The article has been corrected to reflect this. Thanks to Michael Turner for showing us the way!