With the debut of the 2019 Toyota RAV4, Toyota has thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors. Whether you're into sporty driving, saving fuel, or even going off-road, Toyota is promising a version of the RAV4 to fit every lifestyle, all without abandoning buyers who simply want a comfortable daily driver.

The 2019 RAV4 looks like what you'd get if you ran a Toyota Highlander crossover through a Toyota 4Runner filter. The new RAV4 boasts more room between the axles but is shorter overall. It's also a little wider and not quite as tall. The design itself boasts a front end with the same projecting grille and beefy faux side vents as the 4Runner, while the entire design is more chiseled than the softer and curvier Highlander. The side glass is continuous, like the Highlander, but in back it looks like Toyota's stylists were looking more closely at a Jeep Grand Cherokee than one of its own. The upshot is that the new RAV4 looks great. We like the newfound aggressiveness, a departure from the previous model's tidy but bland styling. There are also distinct styling differences between the models, with the luxurious Limited, off-road Adventure, and Hybrid all sporting unique faces and trim.

Inside, Toyota is hoping you'll mistake the 2019 RAV4 for a luxury crossover instead of a mainstream bestseller. While again Limited, Adventure, and Hybrid models offer distinctions, the general theme is classy and contemporary. The infotainment display sits high on the dash, and all models are standard with Toyota's newest Entune 3.0 suite, which includes Apple CarPlay. It's flanked by control buttons and knobs for volume and tuning, which not only makes the system easier to use, but also keeps it from looking like a misplaced iPad. Climate controls are farther down the dash, with a tray beneath for your smartphone, including a Qi wireless charging pad. The new RAV4 also boasts a convenient shelf between the upper and lower dash, perfect for small items. Higher end models can opt for a high-output JBL audio system.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2019

Safety and Utility

Toyota includes its Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 as standard equipment with the 2019 RAV4. This suite of active safety systems includes pre-collision warning and prevention with pedestrian detection, full-speed active cruise control, lane departure warning and assist, and automatic high beams. New this year to the system is something called Lane Tracing Assist, which helps keep the RAV4 in its lane even if highway markers disappear. Also standard is Road Sign Assist, which sees certain types of road signs such as stop, speed, yield, and do not enter, and displays them on the multi-information display between the main gauges.

While Toyota hasn't released full specifications on the new RAV4, it sticks to the same formula as the outgoing version: Five passengers, and plenty of cargo space. Without mentioning numbers, Toyota says the new RAV4 offers better rear-seat width and legroom, both of which were excellent before. No word yet on cargo volume.

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Drivetrain

Powering the new RAV4 is a choice of either a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine or a hybrid powertrain based off the same engine. Called "Dynamic Force," the new 4-cylinder powers either the front or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission on the five gas-only models. The RAV4 Hybrid uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and Toyota Hybrid System II on the four Hybrid models.

There are three different all-wheel drive systems. The standard one is now supplemented by a torque-vectoring setup on Limited and Adventure models that also includes a clever rear driveline disconnect system. Using a pair of clutches on the center driveshaft, disconnecting the rear wheels and reducing fuel consumption when all-wheel drive isn't needed. When it is needed, the system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels; couple that with the terrain selection and Toyota promises a RAV4 with off-road chops, although we're not sure you should follow that Cherokee Trailhawk just yet. On the other end of the spectrum, the new RAV4 Hybrid XSE is billed as the sportiest model. The combination of hybrid and gasoline engine, suspension enhancements, Toyota says it's the quickest and most fun to drive model.

We'll have our chance to see if the 2019 Toyota RAV4 keeps its promises of all things to all people closer to its on-sale date toward the end of 2018, or early 2019 for Hybrid models. We'll also have a better idea of how much all this new technology will cost by then, too.

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