Meet the Family -- The all-new RAV4 will be offered in multiple grades to appeal to a wide range of customer lifestyles. Included in that lineup will be (left to right) the RAV4 XSE Hybrid, RAV4 Limited and RAV4 Adventure.
Timing, as they say, is just about everything. It’s certainly served the RAV4 well over its 24-year existence.
Back in 1994, when Toyota rolled out this small SUV, no one had seen anything like it. That original RAV4 had four-wheel drive, higher ground clearance than a passenger car, a compact body and large tires. At the time, some people derided it as an ugly duckling. But it turned out to be a swan.
Today, small SUVs have emerged as the hottest commodity on the automotive marketplace, and RAV4 continues to lead the way. U.S. customers bought more than 400,000 of them in 2017, surpassing the Camry as the best-selling non-pickup-truck in the country.
Rather than simply ride that wave, Toyota has once again set out to create a new one, starting with the global debut of the fifth-generation RAV4 at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. The best RAV4 yet is arriving exactly when demand for such vehicles is at its highest.
Talk about perfect timing.
“Over RAV4’s life, we’ve listened to our customers and to our dealers and focused on what we do best,” says Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. “We honed. We improved. And it has worked. In the past five years, RAV4’s volume has doubled, which speaks profoundly to the segment’s attractiveness and growth, and ultimately to RAV4’s popularity.”
Chiseled Looks -- Every body panel on the new RAV4 has a sophisticated twist to it, befitting its lower and leaner TNGA platform. Yet overall the vehicle is more aerodynamic.
The Benefits of TNGA
To keep that momentum going, the 2019 RAV4 takes full advantage of the Toyota New Global Architecture’s (TNGA)
K platform with multi-link rear suspension. Compared with the current iteration, the new RAV4 has shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase and a sleeker silhouette. Its unibody is 57 percent more rigid. Its platform is wider and has a lower center of gravity, all of which contribute to a more engaging driving experience. Yet it has more than half an inch more of ground clearance compared to its predecessor, boosting its off-road credentials.
It also benefits from a choice of two powertrains: a 2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline engine that’s paired with an 8-speed direct-shift automatic transmission or the next generation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. RAV4 gas models are expected to achieve more than a 15 percent increase in horsepower and RAV4 Hybrid models are expected to achieve an even higher percentage.
XSE Hybrid is an all-new hybrid grade that makes its debut on the all-new RAV4. It is the no-compromise maximum blend of sport and utility. RAV4 XSE Hybrid comes standard with a black roof and wheels as well as a sport-tuned suspension. And it will boast the fastest 0-60 mph time across the RAV4 lineup.
“Yes,” says Hollis. “The quickest RAV4 will be a hybrid. Awesome, right?”
Of course, other configurations — such as the trail-ready RAV4 Adventure grade and the well-equipped, premium RAV4 Limited — will be offered to meet the needs of a wide range of customer lifestyles.
Here Comes the Sun -- The new RAV4's long list of available features will include a panoramic moonroof.
So Many First-Time Features
There’s more. Much more.
For example, the all-new RAV4 will be the first Toyota vehicle to offer a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect. It can send 50 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels and distribute it left or right as needed to improve handing. When extra traction isn’t needed – such as when cruising down the highway – the driveshaft disconnect will help optimize fuel economy.
Here’s another RAV4 first: Drivers will have access to Multi-Terrain Select, allowing them to optimize traction when powering through snow, mud, sand or rocks – all at the touch of a button.
Outside, every body panel has a sophisticated twist to it. There’s a stronger nose that leads into a dynamic profile, more robust shoulders and the available 19-inch wheels. It’s more aerodynamic. And thanks to relocated side mirrors, it has improved forward visibility.
Inside, RAV4’s open cabin has been crafted around the theme of refinement, as evidenced by higher-quality materials and impressive layouts. That will be especially true at the top of the model line, with such available features as panoramic moonroof, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
Command and Control -- The new RAV4's interior, especially in Limited grade, exudes a higher level of refinement. And it incorporates a full complement of digital technology features, such as Entune 3.0, Apple CarPlay and Alexa connectivity.
Infotainment technology is also seamlessly integrated, with available Qi wireless smartphone charging, up to five USB ports and a newly-designed 7-inch Multi-Information Display — not to mention standard Entune 3.0 with Wi-Fi Connect Powered by Verizon, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa connectivity.
Oh, and every 2019 RAV4 will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a bundle of active safety technologies designed to help protect you and your passengers from harm.
“Gold standard? A few of our competitors try to claim that,” says Hollis. “But paradigms? Mindsets? Now that’s what RAV4 shifts. And we’re just getting started.”
Look for this all-new RAV4 to go on sale toward the end of the year, with more details being shared between now and then.
By Dan Miller