Toyota has debuted its all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 compact crossover at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The new model marks the RAV4’s fifth generation of a long legacy dating back to 1994. The RAV4 is largely credited with starting the compact crossover craze and has become a moneymaking machine for Toyota in recent years thanks to the segment’s explosion in popularity. In fact, the RAV4 is Toyota’s best-selling model and the best selling non-truck in America, averaging roughly 35,000 sales per month in the U.S. alone.
Needless today, Toyota has to get the RAV4 right.
Thankfully, it seems Toyota’s four years of design and development work have paid off with the 2019 version. The new RAV4 rides on Toyota’s new TNGA platform and enjoys a 1.2-inch increase in wheelbase length while remaining within 0.2 inches of the same overall length as before. The TNGA chassis is 57 percent stiffer and ground clearance has increased by half an inch while aerodynamics have improved.
The RAV4 remains a front-engine, front-wheel-drive, unibody crossover with AWD and a hybrid powertrain being optional. Toyota has not announced horsepower or pricing at this point, but the 2019 RAV4 will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2018 followed by the hybrid model in early 2019.
Toyota didn’t just redraw the RAV4 for 2019 – rather, the crossover now borrows its more muscular appearance from the 4Runner and Tacoma while offering different appearances with its various trim levels. New for 2019 is a sporty XSE Hybrid and a more rugged version of the Adventure trim. Both get a distinctive look that set them apart from the other trims.
The 2019 RAV4’s grille, especially on the Adventure trim, is heavily inspired by the Tacoma pickup. The Adventure also gets fog lights and a faux skid plate along the lower fascia. Fatter fender flares and unique wheels finish off the Adventure’s look.
All RAV4s now have a more angular shape. The D-pillar is kinked with a prominent character line molded in and the roofline is of the floating variety. A two-tone paint job is also optional that separates the roof from the body.
Toyota has greatly improved the RAV4’s interior for 2019. The dash is placed low and forward for more a visually larger interior. The materials and trim pieces appear more high-end and the driver enjoys a new digital gauge cluster in the Limited trim. Best of all, Toyota has finally introduced a new Entune infotainment system. Entune 3.0 comes with Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hotspot courtesy of Verizon. It’s all wrapped in a high-resolution 7.0-inch touchscreen. Naturally, navigation is optional.
The RAV4’s longer wheelbase undoubtedly offers more legroom for second-row passengers and more cargo room behind the 60-40-split bench, though Toyota doesn’t specify the numbers.
Other niceties include a Qi wireless phone charger, more USB and 12-volt outlets, dual-zone climate controls, and on the range-topping Limited trim, heated and vented front seats and heated rear seats. A power liftgate makes loading cargo a snap. New for Toyota is a digital rearview mirror, offering unobstructed view behind the vehicle.
The RAV4 gets a new pair of powertrains for 2019. The foundation is an updated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s said to have more power yet offer better fuel economy. Optionally, the RAV4 adds a hybrid system to the 2.5-liter. As mentioned, power ratings and fuel economy are still under wraps at this time.
Moreover, the standard 2.5-liter comes mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the six-speed automatic from the outgoing generation. An all-new AWD system is optional called Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive. It includes torque vectoring for improved handling in dry conditions and traction in sloppy ones. When traction isn’t an issue, the AWD system will disconnect the rear driveshaft from the transmission for improved highway fuel economy.
The RAV4 Hybrid can be optioned with AWD, too, but uses it own unique system. Known as the AWD-i system, this version uses electric motors to drive the rear wheels. Toyota carries over the standard AWD system from the outgoing model. This system is a full-time AWD version that lacks torque vectoring and disconnecting rear driveshaft. It will undoubtedly be a less-expensive alternative.
Impressively, Toyota now includes its Multi-Terrain Select system on all AWD models. The system allows the driver to choose between different terrain types. The system then dials in the best settings into the AWD for the best traction possible. The modes include Snow, Mud, Sand, and Rocks.
Toyota has improved its active safety system, Toyota Safety Sense, as well. The RAV4 comes standard with TSS 2.0 and includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. Two new systems make their debut. Lane tracing assist centers the RAV4 behind the vehicle ahead should the road marking lines disappear while using the adaptive cruise control. Road Sign Assist helps the driver keep track of signs. Should they miss a stop sign or “Do Not Enter” sign, an audible alert will sound.
Toyota has clearly done its homework with the 2019 RAV4 and will surely sell millions over the next few years.