Hybrid/Electric, Reviews, Toyota
Nov23

2019 Toyota RAV4 First Drive – Choose Adventure Time

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2019 Toyota RAV4

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 wouldn’t, at first look, be my first selection for a run down famed California Freeway 1 from simply south of Monterey to the famed Bixby Bridge and again.

It in all probability wouldn’t be yours, both.

So I used to be pleasantly stunned when a mid-morning coastal experience within the RAV4’s Adventure trim confirmed me one thing I’d not seen from a RAV4 earlier than — a character. To not point out on-street manners that have been fairly good by crossover requirements. I already had the review written in my thoughts earlier than I even swapped seats with my drive companion. Earlier than lengthy, nevertheless, I used to be reminded that snap judgments are sometimes improper.

(Full disclosure: Toyota flew me out to Monterey, California and put me in a lodge room that was uncomfortably near my apartment in size. The corporate additionally fed me a number of nice meals, and the 2020 Corolla was unveiled throughout one among these meals).

This era of the RAV4 is the fifth (makes me really feel previous; I nonetheless keep in mind the primary-gen trucklets), and it’s modified quite a bit. The styling not features mild curves, as an alternative going for a extra macho look. The powertrains are new, and an eight-velocity automated transmission replaces the six-velocity. An all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring is now out there.

A hybrid model goes on sale in March 2019. Non-hybrid fashions get a 2.5-liter 4 that makes 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, whereas hybrid fashions generate 219 internet system horsepower and be all-wheel-drive solely.

2019 Toyota RAV4

If all-wheel drive is your jam, you have got two techniques to select from. Each will let you decide drive modes that match the terrain, however the greater-zoot choice features torque vectoring and disconnects the rear driveline throughout mild cruising in an effort to enhance fuel financial system.

You will get your RAV4 in one among 5 trims if you choose the regular, non-hybrid powertrain, or 4 trims if a hybrid is extra your velocity.

I began my day within the Adventure trim, which is the second-highest within the pecking order and presents orange interior accents to go together with exterior styling that features bigger fenders, a special bumper and grille, and totally different fog-mild encompass. It additionally has 19-inch wheels with 5-spoke wheels that gained’t be seen on different trims, and eight.6 inches of floor clearance (zero.2 inch greater than different trims).

2019 Toyota RAV4

That floor clearance and the aggressive styling might make it appear to be an off-street trim, and whereas the Adventure proved succesful on a comparatively straightforward-peasy off-street course, it actually shined on street. The steering felt pure and properly-weighted, the engine snarled a bit beneath energy, acceleration was faster than anticipated (if not what I’d name quick), and the experience was sporty with out being stiff on California’s principally pristine roads. I’ll word that the Sport mode didn’t actually make a lot of a distinction.

After that, I hopped in an XLE Premium. Regardless of having the identical wheels and steering ratio because the Adventure, and even though non-hybrid RAV4s all have the identical unbiased MacPherson strut with hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar (entrance) and trailing wishbone multilink suspension (rear), the XLE Premium didn’t really feel as partaking to drive. The steering felt extra distant and synthetic, the experience softer, the dealing with additionally softer. As soon as once more, Sport mode didn’t make a lot of a distinction. I yearned for Adventure.

I took two turns in a hybrid – one in an XSE HV, and one in an XLE HV. The XSE has a sportier tune to its suspension (the hybrid suspension provides a rear stabilizer bar and loses the entrance shocks, however in any other case is identical as on non-hybrid fashions), and the distinction is delicate however noticeable. That stated, the hybrid drove very similar to the earlier-gen mannequin, with steering that’s a bit synthetic in really feel however not too far within the incorrect path (it felt just a little extra pure than what’s on faucet within the non-hybrid XLE) and a experience that may sometimes get slightly too tender. The most important distinction is that it feels lighter on its ft underneath acceleration than earlier than, though it nonetheless might use extra oomph.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Like earlier than, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder fuel engine combines with the electric motor, and a CVT stays the one transmission out there. Gasoline financial system is listed at forty one mpg metropolis/37 mpg freeway/39 mpg mixed.

Whereas management format modifications a bit relying on trim, the RAV4’s cabin is a pleasing place to be. The entrance seats are all-day snug, and rear-seat room is sufficient even for my taller body. A wheelbase extension of simply over 1 inch could also be answerable for this, although general size shrinks barely. Visibility is a lot better than it was earlier than, and I dug the digital speedo on the Adventure trim whereas nonetheless liking the extra conventional gauge cluster on the opposite trims.

The radio knobs and drive-mode selector knob are adorned with a cool rubber-like materials, however as per regular, I’m irritated with an infotainment display that stands above the middle stack as an alternative of being built-in. Inside storage trays abound – you’ll have loads of locations to place your cellphone when you attempt to keep away from calls out of your boss.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Additionally pleasing is the aggressive exterior styling. I mocked the subsequent-gen RAV4 a bit after first seeing one months in the past, however I’ve come round … considerably. It’s not fairly, precisely, nevertheless it makes a stronger assertion than the earlier RAV. A minimum of it seems to be rugged, even when few RAV4s will ever see a very difficult off-street state of affairs.

We acquired to “off-street” a RAV4 – certainly one of every powertrain – however the course was fairly straightforward; it was principally meant to point out off the vehicle’s hill-descent management, which features an in-sprint graphic displaying you which of them wheel is slipping and by how a lot (that graphic might be helpful within the Snow Belt).

Function-clever, there’s an excessive amount of to listing right here – we’re speaking about 9 trims, for Pete’s sake. The listing is LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, and Restricted on regular fashions, and LE, XLE, XSE, and Restricted (all of which get a HV tacked on) for hybrid fashions.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Key out there or standard features embrace Apple CarPlay (however NOT Android Auto), a number of USB ports, premium audio, fog lamps, twin-zone local weather management, energy moonroof, energy liftgate, navigation, in-car Wi-Fi, heated entrance seats, cooled entrance seats, heated rear seats, and panoramic sunroof. Obtainable wheel sizes are 17- and 19-inch on regular fashions, with hybrids providing 17-inch or 18-inch wheels.

Out there safety tech consists of digital rearview mirror, lane-departure alert with lane-maintain help, rear cross-visitors braking, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision system, and rear-cross visitors alert. The digital mirror works properly, projecting a transparent picture, however the lane-departure alert irritated. No less than the lane-maintain help system wasn’t too intrusive.

Gasoline financial system numbers for non-hybrid fashions ranges from 24 to 27 mpg metropolis, 32-34 freeway, and 27-29 mixed. Costs begin at $25,500 for a non-hybrid LE and work as much as $33,500 for a Restricted. All-wheel drive tacks on $1,four hundred, and the AWD-solely Adventure hits at $32,900. Hybrid pricing ranges from $27,seven hundred to $35,seven hundred, and all have AWD. D and D provides on one other $1,045.

2019 Toyota RAV4

If my cash have been on the road, I’d choose the Adventure trim with out hesitation. It was probably the most partaking to drive, and whereas a number of the fashion parts are cheesy – I appreciated the orange accents nicely sufficient, however I might take ‘em or depart ‘em – it does look somewhat bolder than the others within the lineup.

The remainder of the RAV4 line leaves me feeling combined. I nonetheless like the general exterior look, and I recognize the higher visibility from contained in the cabin, however the driving dynamics are an incremental enchancment, at best. The content material combine is ok, however Toyota stays behind the occasions by not having but made Android Auto obtainable.

Toyota has taken an opportunity with the 2019 RAV4. It appears totally different from any that got here earlier than (no extra cute ute), and I give the notoriously conservative firm credit score for opening up the playbook a bit. Toyota has additionally confirmed lately that it CAN make its automobiles partaking to drive – I usually really feel good issues concerning the present Camry, Corolla hatch, and even the most recent Avalon. That doesn’t imply there isn’t room for enchancment, however the “equipment” label is being shed bit by little bit.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Sadly, from a driving standpoint, the RAV4 hasn’t absolutely shed its commuter previous. The Adventure will get there, and the XSE hybrid hints at it, however there’s nonetheless work to be carried out.

Give me an Adventure or don’t give me a RAV4 in any respect. Okay, high-quality, that’s not precisely true, and it doesn’t have the identical ring as that extra well-known phrase. Nonetheless, if the RAV4 tickles your fancy and also you fancy your self somebody who cares about driving, that’s the trim to go for.

Let the soccer mother and father who think they’ll take their RAV to the Rubicon scoop up the remaining. Based mostly on earlier gross sales numbers, you recognize they’re going to.

[Images: © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

– 2019 Toyota RAV4 First Drive – Choose Adventure Time –

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