2019 Toyota RAV4: “Make America square again!”

In 2018 Toyota managed to beat everyone, and sold 427,000 of RAV4’s, making it the best selling vehicle in the U.S. after pickup trucks. With this idea in mind, this 2019 Toyota RAV4 is getting more ‘roughness,’ to make it look like a “smaller pickup truck,” since being number one in their segment doesn’t look like enough for Toyota.


Finally, we’ve got a good-looking “grill” and it does remind me of a ‘4Runner style’ in the smaller package.  You’ve got 16 colors to choose from, with nine “plain colors” and seven more “two-tone” ones, with a different color roof.

Our test model had a Magnetic Gray Metallic color with Midnight Black Metallic roof. MSRP starts from $25,500 for the LE front-wheel drive model, and our particular trim with every possible option cost $39,005. So yeah, it got pricey when you’re scoring options but it’s a totally different RAV4 to begin with, so let’s dive in and talk details.


It’s all about efficiency even when you’re driving a non-hybrid version. This 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offers 203hp and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Feels a bit lazy when you put your foot down and, surprisingly, the hybrid version of this new RAV4 would show a better acceleration and horsepower numbers (219). Think about it – the FWD model gives you 26MPG city and 35MPG highway. Our AWD test model averaged about 27MPG after 150 miles we drove mostly in the city. You can get 40 miles combined if you go with the hybrid version, and it becomes especially impressive when you realize that we’re not talking about the smallest crossover in the lineup.

This 8-speed transmission smoothly shifts around 1800 RPM’s when you’re using Eco-mode. There’s no real huge difference between ECO, Normal and Sport modes besides different RPM’s and, again, it’s been built to show some impressive efficiency numbers. That’s probably why right now you can even find the “ECO climate button” and a lot of “new and good things” that Toyota hasn’t offered before.


That would probably be the number one thing that I really liked. It used to be floaty, too soft suspension, which they’ve managed to change with the new “Toyota New Global Architecture.” The new AWD powertrain offers Dynamic Torque Vectoring  and rear driveline disconnect. So it could be like an “FWD” car when you don’t need to accelerate and that’s the part of how they’re reaching impressive gas mileage numbers.

Here and there you can see more and more ideas that you can find in the Jeep lineup and some other pickups. With a better clearance and the multi-terrain selector be dare enough to prove this RAV4 is more capable than ever. 

Interior & Tech

The interior shows huge progress. Simple materials look better when you put so much thought into the design, and the way you combine them. Again, more “truck-like” switches, cup holders, and with the Adventure trim you can even get a more ‘off-road ready’ interior. If you’re planning to tow twice as much as this RAV4 can (which is 1500) and do some trail off-roading you have to go with a very specific trim that starts from $32,900.

Toyota calls this “panoramic sunroof.” In my view, it’s more like a double glass since it’s smaller than we’re used seeing right now.

There seem to be a lot of similarities with the Jeep brand. Shapes, driver’s dash, armrest, knobs… The 7-inch driver’s dash has tons of different menus and way better graphics that we used to see on previous tiny screens recently.

Entune 3.0 got an updated look with an added Apple CarPlay. However, for Android users (like myself) they’re leaving only Bluetooth connectivity for now, which wouldn’t leave a lot of Android users happy. Nowadays, you can find Apple CarPlay and Android in the base Jetta that costs $17,5k which is more than a half of what this limited AWD is priced for.

I was surprised to find a digital rearview mirror and such a good 360-camera view. Yes, the rear camera shows you a different brightness but it’s already a huge move for non-luxury Lexus version of the RAV4. Qi Wireless charger and really good JBL audio. Now it’s not only a fancy orange logo on the speakers – it does sound good having those 11 speakers in nine locations. You can get heated and ventilated seats, a foot-activated power liftgate, and way better Toyota Safety Sense 2.0.

The all-new RAV4 reads road sings and shows them to you right on the driver’s dash. Way better Lane Tracing Assist with Dynamic Radar that works really well in this car. It used to be only annoying beeps but now it steers and almost drives itself when you turn on cruise control on the freeway. It’s moving forward in terms of the technology and overall got way better than we’re all used to see from Toyota.

In 2018 RAV4 was proudly awarded the Best Selling Car in America title, replacing Camry, and now it’s got “squared.” The all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 got way better styling, suspension, interior, and overall feel. To me this is Toyota’s ticket to beat their last year record in 2019, and the way to prove to the world that you never settle to be the best in class. Being number one in all the charts – that’s the goal Toyota is going for here.  

About The Author

Dennis Bindarau While changing the world of information, Dennis manages to find time for reviewing the newest cars and bikes, and also travel. He likes coffee, morning walk, and winter (spoiler alert: one of these is not true).

You might be interested in