2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

2019 Toyota RAV4 - Toyota determined to keep RAV4 in first place


 For the 2019 model year, Toyota's fifth-generation RAV4 receives a radical new "lift up" exterior design; smarter all-wheel drive, more powerful four-cylinder engine, smarter hybrid system, and new multimedia technology.

Perhaps it's Toyota's cutting-future philosophy that keeps the RAV4 attractive to buyers.

Proof is that currently, RAV4 leads the competition in sales in the compact sport utility vehicle (crossover) market.

It will continue to do so if the 2019 Adventure model has a say in the matter.

The Adventure features a unique all-wheel-drive system that employs two clutches to guide the half-shafts at the rear axle. When employed these clutches give independent traction to the left or right side wheels. If there is no need for AWD, the propeller shaft to the rear can be disengaged and the RAV4 will be a front-wheel-drive SUV, resulting in enhanced fuel economy. Toyota calls its new AWD system "dynamic torque vectoring".

In addition, a knob controls settings on how the four wheels will operate. The settings are for mud-sand, rocks-dirt.  A button can be pushed for another setting and that is for snow. Besides these settings for abnormal terrain, a driver can choose from three drive modes for normal city and highway driving. The modes are Eco, Normal and Sport. Those modes dictate, to some extent, fuel usage efficiency. Other factors contributing to efficiency are weather, vehicle maintenance, road conditions and driver habits.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the fuel usage of RAV4's 2.5-liter, 203-horsepower four-cylinder Adventure model at 25 miles per gallon city, 33 highway and 28 combined. During a week of driving the RAV4, the average was 28.6 mpg. There were two adults aboard, weather was good and travel was split evenly between the Interstate system and suburban roadways.

Another reason the RAV4 will remain on top of the compact SUV market is safety. Like the competitors, the RAV4 has the normal safety features. The RAV4, though, also has a lengthy list of advanced safety technologies which are standard on some but not all seven of the RAV4 trim levels. Included in the 2019 RAV4 is the second generation of the Toyota Safety Sense system (TSS 2.0), with pre-collision automatic braking system with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, automatic high beams and lane departure alert with steering assist. Competitors might include one or more of these advanced technologies in an option package.

RAV4 prices range from $25,500 (LE) to $36,745 (hybrid Limited). Somewhat in the middle is the $32,900 Adventure model. Power inclusions are express windows, door locks, heated exterior mirrors with turn signal and blind spot warning indicators, height-adjustable liftgate with jam protection and heated front seats. Besides outside mirrors, the four door handles are color-keyed.

Remote entry, pushbutton start, variable intermittent wipers with rear window wiper, 120-volt outlet, seven-inch multi-information display with customized settings and door handles with touch-sensor lock/unlock feature make the Adventure more advanced in amenities from models costing less.

Unique to the Adventure is color for exterior trim and the interior stitching for leather seats, door panels and dashboard. The stitching is orange, which stands out against the gray color of the leather. Also there are orange surrounds for front console cup holders and a sizeable storage bin centered beneath the dashboard. Plus, the rubber mat for a storage area above the glove compartment is colored a bright orange.

Toyota marketers call the exterior color of the tested Adventure "lunar rock." If lunar rocks are bluish-gray, that is the color. Other bright metallic colors are available.

Entune (Toyota's information, entertainment system), Bluetooth with hands-free calling and music streaming, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi connect service, expanded sound system with satellite ratio and three extra USB quick-charging ports are in a $1,620 option package.

Toyota introduced the first four-wheel Recreational Activity Vehicle in 1996. Since then it has become the country's favorite compact SUV. Changes are made annually and 2019 is no different. Toyota officials are dedicated to staying on top of that compact SUV market.


Vehicle:  Adventure all-wheel-drive model of 2019 Toyota RAV4

Type: four-door, five-passenger compact sport utility vehicle

Price: $32,900

Delivery: $1,045

Engine: 2.5-liter, 203-horsepower double overhead cam four-cylinder

Transmission: eight-speed shiftable automatic

Tow: 3,500 pounds

Payload: 1,090

Length, height, ground clearance in inches: 180.9, 68.6, 8.6

Wheels (split five-spoke alloy), tires (235): 19-inch

Weight: 3,615 pounds

Brakes: ventilated discs 12-inch front, 11.1-inch rear

Cargo area in cubic feet: 69.8 rear seat flat, 37.5 rear seat upright

Leg room: 41 inches front, 37.8 inches rear

Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front with stabilizer bar, trailing wishbone-style multi-link rear

Safety: traction and stability control, antilock braking system, brake assist, airbags (8), seatbelts, headrests, anchors and tethers for child seats, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, anti-theft system with alarm, downhill assist and a host of advanced protective technologies

Warranty: three years or 36,000 miles, powertrain and roadside assistance five years or 60,000 miles

Assembly: Woodstock, Ontario Province, Canada

Information: www.toyota.com

M.J. Frumkin and J.E. Kuyper

M. J. Frumkin and J. E. Kuyper covered the auto industry for decades. Frumkin was with Consumer Guide for 14 years, has authored four books and co-authored three more. He is also the historian/archivist for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association/Chicago Auto Show. Kuyper has been an automotive writer, editor and columnist for newspapers in the Chicago area the past 25 years. His reviews currently appear in the daily Northwest Herald newspaper. Frumkin and Kuyper are founding members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.