Why Does Europe Get to Have All the Fun? We Want a Toyota RAV4 GR Sport, Too!

Let’s put our heads together and figure out how to convince Toyota that we need this special edition of the Toyota RAV4 in the U.S., too. For Europe, Toyota has launched a new Gazoo Racing tuned sporty version, of the RAV4. It’s called the RAV4 GR Sport and, thanks to the Gazoo Racing folks, it handles better and has a better interior. What’s the difference with the Toyota RAV4 GR?

Why not give the Toyota RAV4 the Gazoo Racing treatment?

2022 RAV4 Gazoo Racing in white
The European RAV4 GR Sport | Toyota Europe

The Supra, and GR86 and Corolla got the GR Sport trim in the U.S., why not the RAV4, too? Well, if we’re being honest, nobody in their right mind would take their RAV4 to a racetrack and hot lap. But, that didn’t stop BMW from making an hot-rodded M version of its pedestrian X3, and Lexus from making F-Sport versions of its SUVs.

Fun Fact: If you get a GR vehicle in the US, you get a free NASA, or National Auto Sport Association, membership, which gets you one free high-performance driving experience.

What’s different on the Toyota RAV4 GR Sport?

2022 RAV4 GR SPort interior
The interior of the RAV4 GR Sport gets special trim | Toyota Europe

The RAV4 GR Sport gets updated 19-inch rims, and some badges, according to Toyota Europe. Inside, you get sport seats, and GR trim. The touchscreen is updated to 12.3 inches, from 10.5. Also, Gazoo updated the suspension. It has the same engine choices as the regular RAV4, and will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Other than that, the European RAV4 is the same as the U.S. RAV4.

The RAV4 GR Sport gets updated 19-inch rims, and some badges, according to Toyota  Europe. Inside, you get sport seats, and GR trim. The touchscreen is updated to 12.3 inches, from 10.5. Also, Gazoo updated the suspension. It has the same engine choices as the regular RAV4, and will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Other than that, the European RAV4 is the same as the U.S. RAV4.

That’s not much, compared to the GR cars from Toyota. But, when you want to go faster, every bit of kit helps.

What is Gazoo Racing?

It seems like every manufacturer has an in-house tuner, or engineers that work to make the cars ride smoother, go faster, or go around turns better. BMW has M, Hyundai has N, Mercedes has AMG, and now Toyota is making a bigger deal of its Gazoo Racing, for GR, engineers. Of course Toyota has leaned on its TRD, for Toyota Racing Development, team for years to make hot trucks (and some cars).

Gazoo, however, is a special project for Toyota President Akio Toyoda. He’s an avid race fan and an accomplished driver. He’s taken the Toyota team to, for example, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, and some Japanese endurance racing. Now, the Gazoo engineers are working to make every-day Toyotas special.

What special edition RAV4s do we get in the U.S?

2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road compact crossover SUV in white driving through a city
2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

It makes more sense that we will get the TRD Off-Road version of the RAV4 in the U.S., instead of the GR. Here, more people are likely to try to tackle some back roads, not the back straight at Muslanne. The TRD Off-Road package gets some special TRD accessories and, like the RAV4 GR, a special suspension. It’s similar to the Woodland edition.

Instead of a GR suspension tune, we get a TRD suspension, which is unique to the TRD Off-Road. That means it gets MacPherson struts up front with a stabilizer bar, and then a new multi-link rear with a stabilizer bar. Instead of larger wheels, the TRD version gets a different set of 18-inch tires designed to tackle trails. It comes standard with the 203-horsepower gas motor. It starts at $37,195.

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