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2019 Toyota RAV4 receives a rugged facelift

by Danny Zepeda | March 29, 2018March 29, 2018 6:00 am PST

Assuming Toyota’s best selling car is one of its sedans isn’t blasphemy. That’s actually expected given the popularity of the Camry and Corolla. It would also be wrong. Last year, Toyota sold over 400,000 RAV4 units, topping the Camry by 20,000 units.

It’s particularly surprising considering Toyota hasn’t updated the RAV4 in five years. Understanding the opportunity and ticking clock, Toyota responded at the New York International Auto Show with a completely redesigned RAV4 that ditches the reservedness of its predecessor and instead proudly adopts a rugged facelift.

Toyota’s revamping of the RAV4 is quite jarring to say the least, but in a good way. It looks more like the 4Runner than the smaller crossover that people have come to love over the the past couple decades, just with a tinge of ruggedness. That’s hard to believe given it’s shorter than the outgoing model.

The fiercer look starts with the completely revamped exterior styling. Toyota has taken note that crossovers are in right now and delivered one that not only doubles as an everyday driver, but also appeals to those who want to go on an outdoors adventure in the weekend. The fender flares are big plastic hunks, sharp creases all around, the height has been slightly raised and comes with a chassis that Toyota says is 57-percent more rigid.

The Adventure model notches up the ruggedness to the max, with a slightly tweaked front fascia that adjusts the grill and adds more off-road friendly fog lights.

Inside, the RAV4 comes with the usual modern car amenities. A large display sits at the center of the dashboard that features EnTune 3.0 (and CarPlay) and spacious leather-clad seats that will hold any rider admirably. Other available add-ons are the 11-speaker JBL sound system, panoramic sunroof and power and heated seats.

Making the car move will be two available engines, both modeled after the 2.5-liter Dynamic Force engine. The first is a gasoline version with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the second is a hybrid using CVT. Toyota is also offering three available all-wheel drive options: standard, torque-vectoring system and Multi-Terrain Select.

Toyota did not announce pricing but briefly touched upon availability. Gasoline models will go on sale later in the year while hybrids will make their debut early in 2019.

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Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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