All-new Toyota 2019 RAV4 -- More sport, more utility
Toyota was instrumental in creating the compact crossover SUV segment with the original RAV4 more than two decades ago, and now the Japanese automaker aims to redefine it. In recent years, automakers smoothed out compact SUV design, adopting more passenger car-like traits. The all-new, fifth-generation RAV4 brings back a more dedicated SUV appearance, more sport, and more utility, while enhancing the agile handling, everyday comfort, and noteworthy fuel efficiency that made RAV4 the segment leader it is now.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 looks nothing like its predecessors, and that is intentional. Designers created an entirely new theme based on geometric shapes. In one example, two octagons intersect at a 90-degree angle to create a wide front stance and a look of enhanced utility in the rear. The result is a distinctly carved look, with bold body sculpting to create a "go anywhere" stance.
"At the very beginning of the design process, we reviewed RAV4's distinct product value and considered how best to evolve the original concept of 'an off-road vehicle built for urban environments that's a pleasure to drive and look at,' says RAV4 Chief Engineer Yoshikazu Saeki. "We came to define 'Adventure & Refinement' as the design concept for the fifth generation."
A main focus of the new RAV4 design is the "lifted up" look. While actually lowering vehicle height by a fraction (0.20 in.), the designers have created the feeling of riding higher. Road clearance has also been increased by over half an inch. The lifted-up look is emphasized by the black lower body that flows from the side and runs up toward the rear. With their polygonal motifs, the wheel arches appear to hold the tires from a high position, emphasizing the lifted-up body -- most pronounced on the Adventure and Limited grades, with their 19-in. wheels and the Adventure grade's large black overfenders.
The hybrid HV models sport a two-tone exterior paint scheme as standard and are the power and acceleration leaders in the RAV4 line. They also feature sport-tuned suspensions, tauter spring and shock-absorber tuning, and 18-in. five-spoke, black-painted sport alloy wheels with 225/60R18 tires.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 gas models will be offered in five grades: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, and Limited. The hybrid RAV4 HV will be offered in four grades: LE HV, XLE HV, XSE HV, and Limited HV.
Toyota's traditional focus on value is evident in the RAV4 LE grade, where the standard equipment list includes features that one might expect in an upgrade model: Multi-LED headlights and taillights; dual exhaust; color-keyed exterior door handles; low-profile roof rails; privacy glass on side, quarter, and liftgate windows; 4.2-in. Multi-Information Display (MID); power windows with automatic up/down and jam protection on all doors; soft-touch dash and armrests; a 12V auxiliary power outlet in the instrument panel storage tray and another in the second row, plus front reading lights and a cargo area light.
The XLE grade is a major upgrade and adds 17-in. alloy wheels; Multi-LED headlights with chrome bezels and auto on/off headlamps; fog lights; color-keyed heated power exterior mirrors with LED turn signals and blind spot warning indicators; power tilt/slide moonroof with one-touch open/close and new mesh wind deflector; dual-zone automatic climate control with rear air vents; Smart Key System on front doors and liftgate with push button start, remote keyless entry and remote illuminated entry; rear cargo area cover; four additional USB charging ports, and more.
The new XLE Premium grade builds on that, adding 19-in. super-chrome-finish alloy wheels; SofTex-trimmed seats with 8-way power driver's seat and 2-way lumbar; power liftgate; leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift handle with sequential mode.
Power and efficiency both make a leap in the 2019 RAV4 thanks to the new Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission in the gas models. In the RAV4 Hybrid, the engine is teamed with Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT) making it the efficiency leader of the lineup with preliminary manufacturer estimated mpg of 41/37/39 (City/Hwy/Comb).
The combination of a very high compression ratio (13:1 on gas models, 14:1 on HV models, which uses Atkinson cycle), D4-S fuel injection (combining direct and secondary port injectors), high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing and ultra-low internal friction yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent (41 percent for the RAV4 HV), making it the ideal powerplant for the all-new RAV4 to meet the demand of providing a highly responsive, yet fuel-efficient driving experience.
The other important numbers, of course, are for output: 203 hp for the gas models and 219 combined net total system horsepower for the HV models.
The new Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides a much wider ratio spread than the 6-speed automatic it replaces (7.8 vs. 5.425), resulting in quicker and smoother acceleration, getting drivers from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 sec (Limited grade). The new transmission provides torque converter lock-up in gears 2 through 8 to help eliminate power loss and the execution of ultra-smooth shifts. The driver can choose from Eco, Normal, and Sport modes to tailor vehicle responses.
The XLE grade is a major upgrade and adds 17-in. alloy wheels; multi-LED headlights with chrome bezels and auto on/off headlamps; fog lights; power exterior mirrors with LED turn signals and blind spot warning indicators; power tilt/slide moonroof; dual-zone automatic climate control; Smart Key System with push button start, remote keyless entry; and more.
Beneath the 2019 RAV4's bolder sheet metal, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform provides the foundation for capability, comfort, and safety. The longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks provide a stable, confident driving platform. Shorter front and rear overhangs aid the RAV4's trail-driving capability.
The 2019 RAV4's unibody structure is 57 percent more rigid than the previous model, allowing tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility while also providing a smoother, quieter ride. The end goal was clear: Create a driving experience that is confident and natural.
The TNGA-K platform allows for lower powertrain placement and lower center of gravity than in the previous RAV4. Using high-strength steel has reduced weight in the upper body, also helping to shift the center of gravity lower. A new saddle-style fuel tank distributes the weight of the fuel evenly side to side. The previous model had the entire tank on one side of the vehicle.
The RAV4's exceptional handling performance and ride compliance are not simply the result of engineering the right parts. Throughout vehicle development, a select group of takumi (highly trained master craftsmen) focused on the finest tuning details to ensure a level of vehicle smoothness in most driving conditions, particularly at everyday speeds.
The driver will feel the benefits when steering into the first corner or over the first bump. RAV4, with its added capability for 2019, offers crisper on-road handling and an even more accommodating and quieter ride than its predecessor.
A lighter powertrain and new steering system are major contributors to that cause. The new parallel-type electric power steering system is rack-mounted rather than column-mounted as is the case in the previous model. The new design helps enhance turning response and provides a natural feel that can help reduce fatigue on long drives.
In addition to standard front-wheel drive, RAV4 gas models offer two types of available all-wheel drive. The new, segment- and Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect comes standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models. It can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute it to the left or right rear wheel to enhance handling on or off pavement.
When AWD isn't required -- on long stretches of highway, for example -- RAV4 can help achieve better fuel economy thanks to the Rear Driveline Disconnect system. The system uses the world's first ratchet-type dog clutches to stop the rear-axle driveshaft's rotation, thus helping to significantly reduce energy loss and improve fuel efficiency.
Standard on all AWD-equipped gas RAV4 models, Multi-Terrain Select gives drivers the ability to maximize traction when driving through mud, sand, rocks, dirt, and snow. The system is easy to use thanks to control buttons or a control dial (depending on the grade) positioned to the left of the transmission shift lever.
The driver can select Mud & Sand mode for beach driving, or Rock & Dirt mode for trails. Using the Multi-Information Display (MID), the driver can view torque allocation and slip control, which will fluctuate depending on driving and road conditions.
In addition, RAV4 models include the following features for optimal on-road and off-road performance and safety: Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), and
Downhill Assist Control (DAC) (standard on Adventure and Limited AWD only).
The Limited grade takes the RAV4 into luxury territory. Outside, front and rear bumpers with silver accent garnishes, large black over-fenders, gray metallic-colored grille, 19-in. alloy wheels, and chrome accents set it apart from the other grades. Inside, premium comfort and style come to the forefront.
The dash layout is modern and uncomplicated yet packed with the latest multimedia technology and some thoughtful surprises. The instrument panel's horizontal layout has a slimmer profile and a lower position than before to enhance forward visibility. Its reduced visible angle conveys a feeling of greater openness in the cabin, as well.
The thoughtful mix of interior materials conveys a higher level of sophistication in the 2019 RAV4, obvious at first look and touch. Solid material used for the upper and lower parts of the instrument panel and door trim grip conveys strength and durability. Soft padding has been added to areas that passengers frequently touch. These contrasting surfaces emphasize the dual nature of this SUV. Stitching that enhances the continuity from the door trim to the instrument panel adds a sense of quality.
The Adventure grade represents the pinnacle of the design team's Robust theme. It is distinguished by standard high-rise roof rails and larger over-fenders, a more aggressive bumper and grille design, and fog light surrounds.
Collectively, details large and small show the focus on enhanced everyday comfort and convenience throughout the RAV4 cabin. Front and rear seats are more supportive and more comfortable. Available two-zone front heated seats include a thoughtful touch: greater heat provided in the center of the back and the thighs, which many people typically find comfortable.
In shifting to a more focused SUV design for the 2019 RAV4, Toyota also added emphasis to a key reason people buy these vehicles: carrying capability. The cargo area is more than 2.50 in. longer, and the side surfaces have been shaped for maximum space usage. Side pockets behind the wheel wells provide extra storage. The LE grade features a removable partition to hold items in place, while the higher grades feature nets. For added convenience, the cargo area deck offers two height levels.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure in Lunar Rock.
Toyota is the current segment leader with nearly 408,000 RAV4 sales in the U.S. in 2017 -- the brand's best-selling vehicle in the United States.
Sign up for exclusive updates on the RAV4 release at www.toyota.com/upcoming-vehicles/RAV4/.
Toyota has not released pricing, but Consumer Reports pegs the Base MSRP range as $24,510 to $36,250.
Published November 2018
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