Alan Ohnsman
Bloomberg News

Headed for its best U.S. sales in four years, Toyota wants to boost deliveries next year of its RAV4 by 18 percent as it pits a restyled version of the crossover against rivals Honda and Ford.

The goal for the 2013 RAV4 model, with a sleeker exterior and improved fuel economy, is 200,000 unit sales in the U.S. next year, up from about 170,000 in 2012, said Bill Fay, group vice president of U.S. sales.

The new sport utility vehicle, which goes on sale in early January, is available only with a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine and won’t have an optional V-6 engine, he said.

“Primary competitors are everybody in that small SUV segment,” Honda’s CR-V, Ford’s Escape and Mazda’s CX-5, Fay said.

“I’m not so sure there’s going to be a V-6 left in that segment,” as competitors move away from larger engines, he said.

Sales of the current RAV4 jumped 36 percent this year through October as Toyota accelerated production at the Woodstock, Ontario, plant after a slowdown last year related to an earthquake and tsunami.

Honda’s CR-V, revamped last year, is the top-selling SUV in the U.S. with sales up 30 percent to 233,586 through October, followed by Escape at 219,907.

The new RAV4 delivers an estimated 24 mpg (city) and 31 (highway), Fay said.