Now this is an unlikely contender: Toyota has introduced the RAV4 rally car at the Monster Energy Supercross Championship finale this weekend at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
The muscled-up RAV4 will be driven by Ryan Millen at various rally events, including some of the 2015 Rally America 2WD-Open Class season. Millen won the 2014 Baja 1000 in a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
Toyota admits that a RAV4 competing within a professional racing series is rare, as the unibody-construction, Small-Sport Utility Vehicle (SSUV) will have to go head-to-head with Rally America’s modified street cars.
As you can imagine, the RAV4 rally car is not entirely stock. Based on a 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE, the vehicle sports a stock transmission and a stock 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, double-overhead cam engine that produces 176hp and 172lb-ft (233Nm) of torque.
However, it is more than 500 lbs (227 kg) lighter than the stock car, despite getting a roll cage. Other modifications include the addition of BFGoodrich all-terrain DOT 215/75R15 tires and a front and rear TEIN suspension.
“I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer. And I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4’s tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces this season,” Millen said.
Toyota says the RAV4 rally car’s purpose is to demonstrate the off-road capabilities of the stock car, which performs and handles “quite effectively for desert, beach and other outdoor excursions.”