Toyota RAV4 Adventure
The RAV4 has
undergone multiple transformations since its introduction in the
1990s, but it’s blazing a whole new trail for 2019 with the
Adventure. This one wants to play rough — in the dirt, mud, sand
No one is saying
it’s ready to battle roughnecks from Jeep or Subaru, but it does
have torque vectoring all-wheel-drive, terrain-selection options and
even hill-descent control. Plus, it can tow 3,500 pounds, enough for
small boats, water scooters and the like.
Toyota says the
completely redesigned, fifth-generation RAV4 marks a revolution,
rather than an evolution, and it’s hard to argue at first look.
The RAV4 now has a more muscular build with chiseled edges and
geometric designs, including a protruding trapezoid grille borrowed
from its kin, the Tacoma pickup. It also gains an extra half-inch of
ground clearance, up to 8.5 inches.
And it gets a dose of
attitude with two-tone exterior color (a worthy $500 option), bold
orange stitching inside, black fender cladding, dual exhausts with
chrome tips, and 19-inch 5-spoke wheels with black accents.
In the backcountry,
the RAV4 Adventure claws through sand and mud with the help of its
brake-based torque vectoring, which makes sure wheels with the best
traction are getting the most power. The driver can even monitor the
power distribution on a cool dynamic display. Rotary-knob settings
make throttle and suspension adjustments for mud/sand, rock/dirt and
On the road is where
most will be driving and, well, that’s where RAV4 comes up a
little short. To its credit, Toyota bumped up horsepower by 27, but
the 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine still only racks up 203 hp
and 184 pound-feet of torque. It’ll get to 60 mph in about 8.5
seconds — below average for the segment — and it’ll whine like
an old mule all the way there.
A turbo would do
wonders here. The engine is OK under normal conditions but sounds
and feels like it is straining when the throttle is pushed hard
during on-ramp acceleration and passing. An 8-speed automatic
transmission, which replaces the old 6-speed, probably boosted
pick-up but not enough. Shifts are clunky at low speeds but smooth
out during acceleration.
little feedback and the new suspension, shared with Camry, offers
minimal road feel. Body lean is about average for the segment; sport
mode, as opposed to Eco or Normal, does little to improve it.
Fuel economy is a
plus, however, with real mileage right in line with EPA estimates:
25 mpg city, 33 highway, for a 28 combined.
Front seats are
nicely bolstered and trimmed in a faux leather that’s pretty
believable. They’re heated and cooled and available in two color
schemes. On the dash, the tester also had an orange wireless phone
charger plus orange shelves for stuff — all rubberized so things
don’t slide off on the trails.
A 7-inch color gauge
cluster has a reconfigurable information screen and speedometer
wrapped around it. Perched atop the dashboard is an 8-inch
infotainment touchscreen, which features Toyota’s Entune 3.0
system. It has been improved for this year and offers Apple CarPlay
integration but not so Android Auto; maybe next year.
An Adventure Weather
options package ($1,185) adds leather-wrapped wheel,
heated/ventilated seats and rain-sensing wipers. Other extras
include sunroof ($850) and upgraded navigation and JBL sound system
When it comes to
stashing stuff for your “adventure,” RAV4 has the cargo space
for groceries and most weekenders but lags behind popular foes. It
has 37.6 cubic feet in the rear and 69.8 cubes with the rear seats
folded down. To its credit, there’s a traditional plug and 12-volt
outlet back there to plug in a fan, portable stove or coffeemaker.
All RAVs get
Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0, which includes adaptive cruise,
lane-keep steering assist, and auto braking with pedestrian warning.
A tech package ($1,265) adds blind-spot monitor and parking sensors
with automatic braking, and rear-view mirror/camera set-up.
The RAV4 Adventure,
despite some shortcomings, brings a new and rugged personality to
the lineup. Not rugged enough, you say? Toyota goes one better this
fall: The 2020 RAV4 TRD Off Road promises a retuned suspension with
twin-tube shocks, lightweight aluminum wheels and special Falken
2019 Toyota RAV4
As tested: $39,634
(Includes Weather package, $1,185; Tech package, $1,265; Entune 3.0
premium, $1,620; power moonroof, $850)
What’s all the
excitement about? New RAV4 Adventure trim brings new attitude,
rugged look to lineup
4-cylinder engine with 8-speed automatic
performance? With 8.5-inch ground clearance and torque-vectoring AWD,
it can tackle terrain others in the segment can’t; On-road
performance is OK, with 0-60 mph coming at 8.5 seconds