The Toyota RAV4 has been in the United States since 1994, and it – along with (arguably) Honda’s CR-V – is considered the first crossover SUV when it debuted. While other SUVs were being built on truck platforms, Toyota built the RAV4 on a car-like unibody platform. Spanning 25 years and five generations, Toyota is about to debut an all-new design for 2019.
I got a chance to test drive the new 2019 RAV4 at the 2018 Texas Truck Rodeo. While the MSRP, mileage, and driving impressions are embargoed until the end of November, there are important design features you should know before it goes on sale at the end of this year. (Hybrid RAV4 goes on display in Arizona car shows in January.)
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure comes with an array of what were previously optional features, now made standard. These include:
Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, which is a first for Toyota. The 2019 RAV4 Adventure will also offer Multi-Terrain Select, giving drivers different driving modes for various weather conditions. Powering the new-generation RAV4 will be a Dynamic Force (!) 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder engine connected to an 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission.
Standard infotainment will be the Entune 3.0 with Wi-Fi Connect, powered by Verizon, and will be compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay. The second generation of Toyota Safety Sense will also be standard, which is a pre-collision system that uses radar and cameras to scan for pedestrians – rather than hit them. It alerts the driver with audio and visual warnings before giving automated braking assistance. (With that, my editor prefers drivers simply return to paying attention!)
Others standard visual and/or functional features on the RAV4 Adventure trim level include high-rise roof rails, large over-fenders, unique grille design, fog light surrounds and an available white roof.
INTERIOR: The wider wheelbase on the 2019 RAV4 provides more room on the inside. Rear cargo space is equipped with a rubber floor mat, rear seating is ample and gives plenty of headroom for hats or tall heads. Orange highlight accents decorate the interior to give it more athletic vibe, while I do hope they decided to offer different colors. The door handles and certain knobs on the dashboard are layers with a rubber pattern, which feel like bicycle grips to the touch, but supply plenty of traction if you’re wearing gloves during cold winter days.
EXTERIOR: An all-new design for 2019, the front grille is inspired by the Tacoma and gives the RAV4 a more aggressive face, while the arched headlights reminded me of the first generation RAV4 from the 1990’s. Flared arches and sharp edges give the RAV4 a completely different look from the previous generation. Walking around it I kept wondering how the 2019 RAV4 would look with off-road tires and a snorkel exhaust. It’s a crossover CUV but it looks the part for what the Adventure badge is implying.
Presumably, you can take it from the driveway to the camp site – we need to make that reservation.