2019 RAV4 New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular crossover SUVs for sale in the U.S., and for good reason. It's versatile, holds up to five passengers, and carries with it Toyota's reputation for durability.
It's available with front- or all-wheel drive. Power comes from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower, and it's reasonably quick, with smooth shifts handled by an 8-speed automatic. A hybrid version uses its electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery and an electronic continuously variable transmission to power the rear wheels while its gas engine powers the front wheels, making it all-wheel drive.
With 8.6 inches of ground clearance, the RAV4 can go off-roading, but the simple all-wheel-drive system on the LE and XLE models is intended for inclement weather, not trails. These models lack a two-speed transfer case.
The Adventure model has a more sophisticated system as standard equipment, with modes for specific types of terrain, including Trail. It employs brake-based torque-vectoring for better cornering on the road and more tenacity in the dirt. The system, which is optional on the Limited, cuts about 2 mpg off the RAV4's EPA gas mileage ratings.
Front-wheel-drive RAV4s are EPA-rated at 26/34/29 miles per gallon, better than rivals; while the LE and XLE with basic all-wheel drive get 26/33/29 mpg. The Adventure and Limited with their more complex AWD system are rated at 24 mpg city, 32 highway, 27 combined.
If it's fuel economy that's most important, the all-wheel-drive RAV4 Hybrid delivers a strong 41/37/39 mpg, easily topping the 34-mpg average of its closest competitor, the Nissan Rogue Hybrid.
The 2019 RAV4 hasn't been crash-tested yet, but we're impressed by the standard active safety equipment, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors are optional on the base LE and standard on the rest. .
The RAV4 lineup includes LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, Adventure and Limited trims. The Hybrid comes in three of those models, LE, XSE and Limited.
The LE, at around $26,500, comes standard with cloth upholstery, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 4.2-inch TFT screen between its gauges for trip computer functions, and 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps. The Hybrid LE costs just $800 more.
The XLE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, blind-spot monitors, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, and four USB ports.
The XLE Premium adds 19-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, a power tailgate, and an 8-way power driver's seat. The Hybrid XSE is equipped like the XLE Premium but with 18-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension.
The all-wheel-drive Adventure features more rugged styling. Heated and cooled front seats are optional.
The Limited adds driver's seat memory, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a rearview mirror that uses a camera and a display to depict an uncluttered view. This model offers the most options, such as heated and cooled front seats, hands-free power liftgate, and JBL sound system.
A Hybrid Limited can cost nearly $40,000.
Every RAV4 also includes two years of scheduled maintenance..