The same people who built the Supra have now pumped up the RAV4.
If you live in the United States, you've probably heard of Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Toyota's performance brand responsible for building sporty and off-road versions of the company's vehicles. Toyota has recently expanded the TRD lineup with new models while also introducing the US to its other performance arm, Gazoo Racing. Gazoo Racing is Toyota's performance arm in other markets and the racing division played a major role in developing the new Supra.
Toyota has already confirmed to CarBuzz that the GR branded models are not coming to the US but a recent rumor from Japanese magazine Best Car has us hoping the company will change its mind. According to Best Car, Toyota is currently working on a sporty GR version of the RAV4 crossover.
Best Car says the RAV4 GR would abandon the base model's off-road focus to increase on-road performance. As seen in the rendering (pictured above), this would involve lowering the ride height and changing the appearance with body-color fenders rather than grey plastic ones. The rendering also depicts a GR-specific front end, new wheels, a rear spoiler, and plenty of Gazoo Racing badges, making the already attractive RAV4 look even better.
Information out of Gazoo Racing hints that development of the RAV4 GR has already begun with a release set for 2021. Japan already receives the Harrier GR Sport - a smaller crossover below the RAV4 - so a RAV4 GR makes a lot of sense in that market.
Whether Toyota would bring the RAV4 GR to the US is up for debate. Toyota already sells the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, but that model places a heavy emphasis on off-road performance rather than on-road handling. Since the RAV4 is the best-selling crossover in the US, we feel there would be room for two special performance versions, whether they come with a TRD or GR badge.
The RAV4 GR isn't expected to see a power increase and will instead focus on handling improvements. This has been the same philosophy taken with recent TRD models like the Camry and Avalon, so perhaps we could receive the RAV4 GR in the US badged as a TRD Sport.