Quick Spin

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Drivers' Notes Review | A wallflower no more

Good looking and good to drive

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid
2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid / Image Credit: Toyota
View 35 Photos
  • Engine
    2.5L I4 Hybrid
  • Power
    219 HP /
  • Transmission
  • Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
  • Curb Weight
    3,800 LBS
  • Towing
  • Seating
  • Cargo
    37 CU-FT
  • MPG
    41 City / 37 Highway
When the 2019 Toyota RAV4 made its debut in New York nearly a year ago, we were all taken aback by the styling. The crossover had gone from conservative and anonymous to aggressive and unique in model change. Besides the styling changes, Toyota updated the powertrains with more power and built the RAV4 on the TNGA platform variant shared with the also impressive Camry.

To find out if all these changes made for a better RAV4, we got a RAV4 Hybrid delivered to the office. The Hybrid model is the most powerful, making 219 horsepower from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a trio of electric motors. One of these motors powers the rear wheels, giving the Hybrid standard all-wheel drive. The Hybrid also features a CVT, rather than the eight-speed automatic in the non-hybrid RAV4.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: Toyota really dialed up the SUV styling elements for the latest generation of the long-running RAV4. I think it looks more than a little bit like a Jeep Cherokee. That's cool. And it's a hybrid, which is great. The EPA combined rating is 39 mpg, which is impressive, though I didn't observe that level during my weekend test. The interior is comfortable and well-laid out. There's horizontal symmetry to it, which makes it feel organized. I realize it's technically a small crossover, but the backseat is a bit tight. This is a solid, well-conceived entry in a crowded segment, and the hybrid tech gives it an identity that's right for the times.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited Interior
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited Interior
View 41 Photos

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I can hardly believe I'm saying this, but I like the RAV4 now. I love the aggressive, forward-leaning stance of the exterior, and the two-tone paint schemes are great. The interior is loaded with great design details such as the twisted grooves in the sound system knobs, the grippy, tough-feeling rubber components, and various other little design details hidden here and there. This is a vehicle the designers really cared about, and I'm hugely appreciative.

Even better, it's a good vehicle to drive. The hybrid's 219 horsepower is satisfactory, and on the rainy night that I drove it, it could even chirp the tires if you tried. It rides well and is generally quiet save for some occasional buzzing from the engine when flooring it. The steering has good heft, and it turns nicely. The steering could be more precise, and there is some body roll, but it's more engaging than a number of cars in its segment. The RAV4 isn't the boring, anonymous crossover it once was, and that's cause for celebration.

Related Video:

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Information

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

Share This Photo X