All the stops have been pulled for the world debut of the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4. The vehicle that created the small sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment made its fifth-generation debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. Over the years, Toyota has listened to owners and dealers and it has paid off. Over the last five years, RAV4 volume has doubled, which speaks profoundly to the segment’s attractiveness and growth, and ultimately, RAV4’s popularity. RAV4 currently ranks as the number-one-selling vehicle in the Toyota lineup, as well as the best-selling non-pickup-truck in the country. No matter the grade, every RAV4 is a winning choice, whether it’s for a city exploration, a weekend trip to the countryside, or a jaunt on the trails. When it becomes available in the winter at the end of 2018 (with hybrid models right behind in early 2019), the all-new RAV4 will premiere, yet again, at the forefront – both for the Toyota brand and the segment.
For the all-new Toyota RAV4, designers kept in mind design elements of Adventure and Refined to allow owners to get up and go in their RAV4, no matter the time or place. An emphasis was placed on maximizing the presence of a small SUV while maintaining high levels of finesse inside and out. Each body panel has a sophisticated twist to it, with a chiseled appearance that is a perfect combination of athleticism and charisma. The stronger nose leads into a more dynamic profile, robust shoulders, and available 19-inch wheels, making for a powerful stance ready to tackle any road, any time. The implementation of the TNGA platform allows RAV4 to adopt the charisma of a bolder and tougher SUV, but in a package that is lower and wider. The longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks provide a stable, confident driving platform. For off-road prowess, the shorter front and rear overhangs will aid in RAV4’s ability to overcome rugged terrain. The unibody chassis is 57 percent more rigid than the outgoing version. RAV4 incorporates an optimally tuned multi-link rear suspension, providing ideal damping for handling, minimum interior cabin noise, and the utmost ride comfort. Ground clearance has been increased by more than half an inch, yet RAV4 is able to achieve improved aerodynamics.
Engineers worked for about four years to fine-tune every aspect of RAV4’s performance, handling stability and ride comfort. The end goal was simple: engineer a driving experience that is Confident and Natural. This unmatched performance was realized thanks to a group of takumi-highly-trained master craftsmen-who strived to develop a vehicle that acts and reacts as the driver intends, even in extreme weather and road conditions. Including the takumi in the development process was just another layer of enhancement to the overall design approach led by the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) philosophy. These master craftsmen focused on working together to improve vehicle performance at various stages of the development process to deliver an ever-better Toyota RAV4. The power source for Toyota RAV4’s driving abilities comes from one of two powertrains:
- Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with VVT-iE mated to an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission, which motivates the five gas models
- Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) engine with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT), which activates the four hybrid models
The takumi were precise with the development of RAV4’s structure and configuration to achieve an increase in performance as a whole. The engine utilizes high-speed combustion technology and a variable control system for greater thermal efficiency output, which reduces energy losses associated with exhaust and cooling systems and the movement of mechanical parts, among other factors. With a 40-percent thermal efficiency (41 percent for hybrids), the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine is the ideal powerplant for the all-new RAV4 to meet the demand of providing a highly responsive, yet fuel efficient driving experience. The Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides direct lock-up from gears two through eight to eliminate power loss from the torque converter, executing ideal smooth shifts. The Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, is nothing short of impressive, and enables drivers to steer the vehicle as intended, even atop the toughest of roads.
Standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect can send 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, plus distribute it to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling. When AWD isn’t required (on long stretches of highway, for example), RAV4 can achieve better fuel economy thanks to the Rear Driveline Disconnect system. The disconnection features the world’s first ratchet-type dog clutches on both the front and rear wheel shafts. These clutches stop the driveshaft’s rotations, thus transmitting the driving force to the front wheels when AWD isn’t required, significantly reducing energy loss, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing rotational vibration making for a smoother ride. This all-new AWD system is one of three available on the all-new RAV4; it joins the AWD-i system available on hybrid grades and the (non-Dynamic Torque Vectoring) AWD system available on core gas grades. When paired with the new All-Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), RAV4 Hybrid increases the total torque to the rear wheels-which is electronically driven-by 30 percent compared to the current generation AWD-i system. By adopting a new control system that optimally distributes torque to the rear wheels based on the driving conditions, the new AWD-i system offers high off-road performance, handling, and ability.
For those who prefer sportier driving dynamics, XSE Hybrid stays ready with the perfect conflation of sport and utility. XSE is an all-new addition to RAV4’s Hybrid family. The piano-black accents across the front end, mirror caps, fender arches, and lower rockers set the stage for XSE Hybrid’s sporty appeal. Unique to RAV4 Hybrids, projector-beam LED headlamps flank each side of the grille (on XLE and above) for a brighter, sharper, and ideally angled light source. Standard on all RAV4 Hybrid models, the Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) works in sync with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine for an impressive balance of energy efficiency and supreme power output. Performance-wise, XSE Hybrid is truly the “no compromise” grade thanks to its enhanced power and acceleration. When paired with its sport-tuned suspension having tauter shock absorbers and springs, RAV4 XSE Hybrid takes the throne as the quickest-and best-handling-RAV4 in the lineup.
For explorers looking to satisfy their outdoorsy cravings, Toyota RAV4 Adventure has the capabilities for all types of off-road fun. RAV4 Adventure is distinguishable among the other grades with its standard high-rise roof rails and large over-fenders. Inspired by Toyota’s off-road vehicle heritage, RAV4 Adventure grade has a more rugged exterior, thanks in part to its more aggressive grille, fog light surrounds, and unique wheel design. It answers the call designers had of Robust with its stout stance, standard Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, and a reliable and tough functionality that’s apt for any road. The fun ratchets up once pavement blends into dirt thanks to Multi-Terrain Select. Standard on all AWD-equipped gas RAV4 models, Multi-Terrain Select gives drivers the ability to maximize traction when driving through snow, mud, sand, or rocks. The system is easy to use thanks to a control dial (or buttons) positioned in the center console to the left of the shift knob.