NYIAS 2018 – All-New 2019 Toyota RAV4 Takes the Stage in New York
Rugged Styling, Stiff Corporate Platform, and Added Trims Broaden Compact SUV’s Appeal
Totally redesigned for 2019, the new Toyota RAV4 offers a more rugged take on the popular compact SUV. Debuting a day before the 2018 New York International Auto Show, the RAV4 takes lots of inspiration from Toyota’s FT-AC concept from last year, with a chiseled front end, available contrast-color roof, and sloping rear roofline.
Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA)—the same platform found under the C-HR subcompact crossover and Prius hybrid—the new RAV4 rides on a 57 percent stiffer platform than the model it replaces. Wheelbase is up 1.2 inches to 105.9, overall length and height drop slightly to 180.9 inches and 66.9 inches respectively, and width is up 0.4 inches to 73. Thanks to the new dimensions, the RAV4 has a much more grown-up stance, with wheels pushed further to the corners and a wider, more planted stance. The stiff new structure also improves visibility, as Toyota lowered the 2019 RAV4’s beltline and widened its windows.
Powering the gasoline-engine 2019 RAV4 down the road is a direct-injected 2.5L I-4 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission (up from six on the 2018 RAV4). The engine, which hails from Toyota’s Dynamic Force engine family, should provide a useful increase in power and torque. The company didn’t specify power outputs, but according to Toyota’s global press release on the engine, it makes 151 kW and 250 Nm of torque (or 202 hp and 184 lb-ft). If that’s the case, the new engine will boast 26 more ponies and 12 more units of torque compared to the mill in the outgoing RAV4.
As before, the 2019 RAV4 will get a hybrid powertrain, starting with the same Dynamic Force 2.5L I-4 and adding the Toyota Hybrid System II and a continuously variable transmission. Expect about 220 hp from the new RAV4 Hybrid, along with what Toyota claims is class-leading fuel efficiency—for comparison, the current crossover fuel economy champ is the Nissan Rogue Hybrid, at 34 combined mpg. Curiously, the sportiest new RAV4 will be the XSE Hybrid model, which gets sport-tuned shocks and springs, enhanced power and acceleration, and the lineup’s best handling.
The Adventure (as well as the gas-powered Limited) gets sophisticated Dynamic Torque-Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, setting it apart from the less impressive current Adventure. The system, which is able to send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels, can also portion that energy between the right and left rear wheels for better handling in corners and more secure traction off-road. Toyota also says that on long stretches of highway in clear conditions, the rear axle disconnects thanks to unique ratchet-type dog clutches, improving fuel economy and reducing driveline vibration.
In addition to the unique powertrain, the Adventure model also gets a more aggressive grille, tougher foglight surrounds, and a unique wheel design, along with standard high-rise roof rails and larger fender flares. Shared with all other gas-engine RAV4s with all-wheel drive, the Adventure also gets Multi-Terrain Select, which optimizes traction for snow, mud, sand, and rocks.
An all-new interior joins the RAV4 lineup, with standard Entune 3.0 infotainment, Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and Wi-Fi provided by Verizon. The standard display is a 7-inch touchscreen, while an 8-inch screen bundled with SiriusXM satellite radio is available (with or without embedded navigation). A redesigned center console with electric parking brake improves in-cabin storage space, while rear-seat passengers benefit from added legroom and shoulder room.
Fitting for one of Toyota’s most popular family cars, the 2019 RAV4 also gets an expanded suite of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 technologies. The new suite now includes Lane Tracing Assist, a feature that watches for lane lines and follow-vehicle tracking to center the RAV4 in its lane. A new road sign detection feature can identify stop and yield signs, speed limit signs, and do-not-enter warnings to provide the driver with more information. These features come in addition to carryover forward collision monitoring, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, lane departure monitoring and mitigation, and automatic high beams.
Interested in the new RAV4? Be prepared to wait till the end of 2018 to secure a gas-powered model, while folks courting a RAV4 Hybrid will have to wait until the beginning of next year.