Published on February 2nd, 2023 | by Sounder Rajen0
2023 Toyota RAV 4 GR Sport Unveiled, Will It Finally Be CKD In Malaysia?
Will the GR Sport Trim make the Toyota RAV 4 popular enough to finally be CKD?
The Toyota RAV 4 was arguably always one of the Japanese automaker’s more sporty cars but never had anything to show for it. Well, that’s about to change with Toyota introducing a new GR Sport trim for the car in 2023, the question is, will this finally make the RAV 4 popular enough to be fully locally assembled (CKD) in Malaysia?
So by now most of us should already be rather familiar with the Toyota RAV 4 but since I see very very few of these cars on the road, let me briefly explain this crossover. This crossover debuted in 1994 in Japan and was meant to be a compact form factor which offered great utility and versatility.
Moreover, the name RAV 4 is actually an abbreviation of “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive” and basically tells you all you need to know about the car. Either way, with the original few generations having larger displacement engines the car was never sold in Malaysia until the current fifth generation in 2020.
The fifth generation Toyota RAV 4 ditched the larger displacement engines in favour of 2.0 and 2.5 petrol and diesel options and finally made its way to Malaysia in 2020, however due to being a fully imported (CBU) model, the car was pretty hard to justify especially with its main rival being cheaper as a result of being locally assembled.
Sadly, eagle eyed Toyota fans would have noticed that the Toyota RAV 4 was quietly removed from the brand’s official website less than two years after being launched here but I do not think this is permanent and that Toyota is simply doing this until it can work out assembling the new GR Sport version locally here in Malaysia.
Could this just be wishful thinking? Absolutely, could it also be true? Definitely. After all, if Toyota can locally assemble the RAV 4 here with the GR Sport trim as the hero trim, then Toyota would see a lot of profit as its main competitor the Honda CR-V is also locally assembled and that car practically sells itself.
On top of that, with the Toyota Yaris proving to be a popular choice among many Malaysians and the sheer number of riced out sport add-ons we see on all sorts of cars on the road, we know that there is a demand for sportier trims in cars and the GR Sport trim may just be the defining factor that makes the RAV 4 popular in Malaysia.
Either way, this remains to be seen and perhaps Toyota may have just decided to pretend that they never ever tried to bring the RAV 4 to Malaysia, but I am doubtful of that. After all, Toyota is a brand that never gives up and always moves forward.