Toyota replaced the four-speed transmission of the third-generation RAV4 SUV with a six-speed automatic and restyled the vehicle's exterior in the most recent redesign of the RAV4 as of 2015. This redesign occurred in 2013 and represented the transition from the third-generation RAV4 to the fourth-generation model.
The transition from a four-speed transmission to a six-speed automatic transmission improved fuel economy and responsiveness and was the major mechanical change in the RAV4's latest redesign. Another significant revision improving the new RAV4's usability was the replacement of the third-generation's side-hinged rear gate with a top-hinged liftgate. The older side-opening design swung open to the right, making loading the vehicle from a curbside parking spot inconvenient in many cases. The spare tire was also relocated from the liftgate to under the cargo mat to reduce the weight of the liftgate in the new model. Toyota offered a powered version of the liftgate on some 2015 models
A number of features of the third-generation RAV4 were dropped entirely in the fourth-generation vehicle. Toyota cited a lack of demand for the V-6 engine, so the RAV4s offered for 2013 on are only powered by four-cylinder engines. Toyota also discontinued the third-row seating option for the fourth-generation RAV4.