• Totally redesigned for 2019 
  • Gas models on sale December 2018, hybrids on sale March 2019 
  • 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission 
  • Hybrid model returns, one of few in the segment 
  • Pricing starts at $26,545 (including $1,045 destination charge) 

 

After redesigning its Camry in 2018, introducing Corolla Hatchback earlier this year, and readying a remake of the Corolla for 2020, Toyota has set its sights on revamping the 2019 RAV4. It’s a huge undertaking since the RAV4 sold more than 400,000 units last year and is on track to do the same for 2018.

The stakes are high when you change the best-selling SUV (and vehicle) in the lineup and fourth-best-selling vehicle in the country. But Toyota had a solid plan: Make the new RAV4 appeal to even more people with more trim levels, give it rugged SUV looks, expand safety features, and make it more powerful and more fuel-efficient. 

New Platform

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The changes start at the foundation, which is a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture. This new suspension has better handling and reduced body roll. That makes the 2019 RAV4 feel sharper and more precise, a huge difference from the previous generation. The ride is still comfortable, but not as marshmallow soft as the previous generation. This change modernizes the RAV4’s ride and handling, making it feel fresh and crisp without leaning too much toward the sporty side of the equation.

The new RAV4 sets itself apart from the rest of the compact SUV segment, which includes heavy hitters like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, with more SUV-like proportions. The wheelbase is longer, yet the vehicle is shorter overall, meaning that the wheels are pushed closer to the corners for a more confident stance. Also, the RAV4 sits slightly lower, yet ground clearance is up by as much as 2.3 inches. Multi-Terrain Select lets you choose the best setting for the type of surface you’re going to drive on (dirt, mud, snow, sand or rock) and the RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 pounds (with the Adventure model) and comes with trailer sway control. Both gas and hybrid models have some off-road capability, which is bolstered by available torque vectoring.

Exterior Attitude, Interior Quality

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You can see that increased SUV attitude in the Toyota RAV4’s new styling. The designers moved away from the soft, rounded-edge look prevalent in the compact SUV segment, opting instead for sharp lines and geometric shapes. In addition to the new RAV’s taller stance, the RAV’s rugged grille was inspired by the front end of Toyota’s off-road trucks, with a hint of 4Runner influence in there as well. There are angular wheel arches and a black lower body, with black cladding on the Adventure trim level. Another styling feature that separates the RAV4 from the rest of the compact SUV lineup: The Adventure model is offered with a two-tone paint job with an Ice Edge roof and Midnight Black, Lunar Rock or Blue Flame paint, while the RAV4 hybrid XSE is available with a black roof and four paint colors. The RAV4 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, but 18- and 19-inch wheels are also available.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 interior has gone above and far beyond what the previous RAV4 offered. It now has arguably the nicest-looking interiors in its class. The cabin looks and feels more upscale, with plenty of soft-touch materials on the dash and center armrest. The center stack is dominated by a crisp, bright 8-inch screen (7-inch on base LE models), which serves as the control center for audio, navigation, Apple CarPlay and available apps. If you prefer hard buttons to control these features, they are included on either side of the screen, with grippy volume and tuning knobs sit at the bottom. Temperature knobs, also with a patterned grip surround, flank the climate control buttons just below the air vents. Available two-tone SofTex seats give the RAV4 interior a touch of style without sacrificing durability, and the seats are comfortable, even on extended drives – but a passenger-side power seat isn’t available. There have been some changes to the interior dimensions; the front row is just a touch tighter, while rear-seat head- and legroom have increased and there’s more shoulder room in both rows. Cargo volume is expected to be comparable to that of the 2018 model, and for 2019 the cargo area is longer overall.

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Gas and Hybrid Available

We drove hybrid and gas versions of the Toyota RAV4, in a variety of trims. The 2.5-liter gas engine uses an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is the drivetrain combination in all non-hybrid RAVs, and we sampled it in the midrange XLE. Most compact SUV buyers will be happy with the engine’s power, and the transmission does a fine job most of the time. When driving more enthusiastically, you might discover that the 8-speed automatic is eager to upshift, suggesting that this transmission has been tuned to optimize fuel economy. Speaking of which, Toyota anticipates gas-powered RAV4 fuel economy to be as good as 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway/29 mpg combined, a significant increase over the gas-powered 2018’s 24-26 mpg combined fuel economy. While there was some road noise and vibration, wind noise was extremely low. The suspension offered a pleasant balance of comfort and handling ability. 

The Adventure model has with the tallest stance, largest wheel and tire package, and super-cool interior with just the right amount of orange accents. The 19-inch wheel-and-tire package was noisier than the rest, but that compromise might be right for the shopper who wants rugged looks and a little more off-road capability. The Adventure came equipped with Torque Vectoring, a new feature for the RAV4. It can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels and can control torque distribution to the left and right rear wheels. This is a helpful system when off-road, provides more confidence in inclement weather, and improves handling and cornering.

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How much more is the hybrid?

We also drove the Toyota RAV4 XSE HV. For Toyota’s model lineup, the XSE is traditionally the sportiest model in the line (see Camry and Corolla). It may seem odd, then, that the sportiest RAV4 is a hybrid, except that the XSE offers the combination of the most available power in the RAV4 lineup (219 combined horsepower in the hybrid, as opposed to 203 in gas models) plus a sport-tuned suspension that’s exclusive to the XSE. The sport-tuned suspension has firmer damping, a more aggressive spring rate and retuned shocks. The hybrid has excellent power off the line, and has very good power for midrange passing, a big benefit when driving at freeway speeds. The new suspension for 2019, plus the use of Sport Mode -- which changes steering response and throttle mapping, while making the CVT’s response more aggressive -- makes the XSE the most fun-to-drive RAV4, and it earns that XSE badge.

Whether you choose the XSE or any of the other hybrid trim levels, you get the quickest powertrain, the most power, and the best fuel economy, for a price that’s only $800 more than an AWD-equipped gas model (all-wheel drive is standard with hybrids), a price difference you could make up for in gas savings in a couple of years. Toyota’s goal is for 25 percent of RAV4 sales to be hybrid models, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the take rate was higher than that. Between the added power, the off-the-line response, the excellent fuel economy – an estimated 41/37/39 mpg combined compared to 32 combined mpg last year – and the low cost of entry, the hybrid is easy to recommend. Fuel economy for the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is expected to be best in the compact SUV segment.

Safety, Tech and Convenience Features

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Toyota is known for offering a lot of safety, and in the case of the RAV4, much of it comes standard. All RAV4s come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes such features as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. This last feature also can detect people on bicycles during the day. The Star Safety System includes electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist, enhanced stability control, and traction control, and eight airbags are standard. A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert is optional on the base LE and standard on XLE-and-higher trims. 

The interior offers more convenience and tech than it did in the past, starting with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system. This includes features such as Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto), Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth phone capability and music streaming, Siri Eyes Free, a 6-speaker audio system, and a 7-inch touch screen. Upgrades include an 8-inch screen, five USB ports, and an available 11-speaker, 800-watt JBL audio system. This excellent audio provides clear, rich sound with terrific separation, and truly stands out from the rest of the audio options. Other new features include a panoramic glass moonroof, Qi wireless smartphone charger, air vents for rear-seat passengers (finally), heated and ventilated seats, and a 120-volt power outlet. 

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Pricing and Trim Levels

The all-new RAV4 is offered with a gas engine or a hybrid powertrain, with a choice of front drive or all-wheel drive. The gas-powered RAV4 goes on sale December 2018 and the hybrid is on sale at the end of March 2019. All gas models are powered by a 203-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The gas-engine-powered LE, XLE, XLE Premium and Limited offer all-wheel drive for an additional $1,400, and Adventure is AWD only. All hybrids, whether they are LE, XLE, XSE or Limited, are AWD-only. They also use a 2.5-liter gas engine, bolstered by two electric motors, for 219 total system horsepower. Hybrid RAV4s use a continuously variable transmission.

The new 2019 Toyota RAV4 has a starting price of $25,500, excluding $1,045 destination. With this generation of the RAV4, Toyota is making a strong value statement. The base LE model adds more than $2,000 of standard equipment for an increase of $840 over the previous model. At the XLE level, $3,000 of standard fare adds about $1,500, and Limited offers $4,000 standard equipment has a cost increase of about $2,300. As we mentioned before, the hybrid models already offer a strong value proposition, costing only $800 more than gas-powered AWD models. That pricing is $925 less than the 2018 hybrid, for a vehicle that contains many more amenities and features, plus better fuel economy. Listed below are some of the key highlights that come standard with each trim level. Some features, including the overhead 360-degree view camera, Qi smartphone charger, heated steering wheel, and cooled seats are only offered in additional packages.

2019 Toyota RAV4 LE 
Starting Price: $25,500 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
17-inch steel wheels 
LED headlights and taillights 
Automatic high beams 
Power mirrors 
Rearview camera 
Analog gauges 
4.2-inch driver multi-information display 
Fabric seats, manual driver- and passenger-set adjustment 
Tilt/telescoping steering wheels with stereo controls 
Remote keyless entry 
Power windows, door locks 
USB jack 
Entune 3.0 
-Apple CarPlay 
-6-speaker audio 
-7-inch touchscreen 
-Siri Eyes Free 
-Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, music streaming 
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 
-Adaptive cruise control 
-Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, plus daytime cyclist detection 
-Lane departure warning with steering assist 
-Road sign assist 
-Lane tracing assist 
Star Safety System 
-Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control 
-Traction control 
-Electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist 
Eight airbags

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE 
Starting Price: $27,300 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 17-inch alloy wheels 
Auto on/off headlights 
Fog lights 
Heated side mirrors 
Tilt and slide moonroof 
Intermittent windshield wipers 
Dual-zone climate control 
Rear-seat vents 
Smart Key system, pushbutton start 
Sliding extensions for sunvisors 
Five USB ports 
Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium 
Starting Price: $29,500 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 19-inch chrome alloy wheels 
Height-adjustable power liftgate 
Dual-zone automatic climate control 
SofTex seats 
8-way power driver’s seat 
Leather steering wheel, shift lever 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure (AWD is standard) 
Starting Price: $32,900 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 19-inch 5-spoke alloys with matte black accents 
Split-bar upper grille, unique front bumper, black badging 
Unique roof rails 
Active grille shutters 
Panorama rearview camera with dynamic gridlines 
Digital speedometer 
7-inch multi-information display 
SofTex seats with orange stitching 
Cargo area storage net 
Entune Audio Plus 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited 
Starting Price: $33,500 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels 
Dark gray grille 
Puddle lights 
Chrome door handles 
Digital rearview mirror 
Heated front seats 
Memory seats 
Blue ambient lighting 
Entune 3.0 Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid 
Starting Price: $27,700 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
17-inch alloy wheels 
LED headlights and taillights 
Automatic high beams 
Power mirrors, windows, door locks 
Grille shutters 
Rearview camera 
Analog gauges 
4.2-inch driver multi-information display 
Fabric seats, manual driver- and passenger-set adjustment 
Tilt/telescoping steering wheels with stereo controls 
Remote keyless entry 
Dual-zone climate control 
USB jack 
Entune 3.0 
-Apple CarPlay 
-6-speaker audio 
-7-inch touchscreen 
-Siri Eyes Free 
-Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, music streaming 
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 
-Adaptive cruise control 
-Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, plus daytime cyclist detection 
-Lane departure warning with steering assist 
-Road sign assist 
-Lane tracing assist 
Star Safety System 
-Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control 
-Traction control 
-Electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist 
Eight airbags 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid 
Starting Price: $29,500 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Auto on/off headlights 
LED projector headlights 
Fog lights 
Heated side mirrors 
Tilt and slide moonroof 
Intermittent windshield wipers 
Dual-zone climate control 
Rear-seat vents 
Smart Key system, pushbutton start 
Sliding extensions for sunvisors 
Five USB ports 
Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid 
Starting Price: $33,700 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 18-inch 5-spoke black sport alloy wheels 
Two-tone body color 
Height-adjustable power liftgate 
Dual-zone climate control with dust and pollen filter 
Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines 
Digital speedometer 
SofTex seats with blue stitching 
Heated front seats 
Leather steering wheel, shift lever 
Blue accented interior 
Digital rearview mirror 
Cargo area storage net 
Entune 3.0 Audio Plus 
 
2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid 
Starting Price: $35,700 (plus $1,045 destination charge) 
Adds 18-inch 5-spoke chrome wheels 
Puddle lights 
Chrome door handles 
Memory seats 
Blue ambient lighting 
Entune 3.0 Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation

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Quick answers to a few common questions:

When does the 2019 Toyota RAV4 go on sale?

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is set to be released in December 2018. The RAV4 Hybrid will go on sale a few months later in early 2019. 

How much will the 2019 Toyota RAV4 cost?

The regular gas RAV4 starts at $25,500, plus a $1,045 destination charge. The top trim level starts at $33,500, plus the same destination charge. For reference, the 2018 model starts at $24,660, and the rival 2019 Honda CR-V starts at $24,350 plus a $995 destination charge. On the hybrid side, the Toyota RAV4 LE Hybrid starts at $27,700 and the top-of-the-line Limited Hybrid starts at $35,700. The only other compact SUV that currently offers a hybrid option is the Nissan Rogue, and that hybrid isn’t available in all 50 states.

Where is the 2019 Toyota RAV4 made?

Like the outgoing RAV4, 2019 Toyota RAV4 models destined for the U.S. will be built in Canada, at factories in Woodstock and Cambridge, Ontario. The RAV4 Hybrid, previously built in Japan, will also be built in Canada.

Should I wait for the 2019 RAV4 or buy a 2018 model?

For most buyers we’d recommend waiting for the 2019 RAV4. While automakers often offer attractive deals to help move outgoing models, the new RAV4 offers an expansive list of safety, tech and convenience features that weren’t available in the 2018 model and is significantly more fuel efficient. While the price of the new RAV4 is slightly higher than that of the outgoing model, you get a lot for your money.

Bonus Question: How does the 2019 RAV4 stack up against the competition?

2019 Toyota RAV4 Interior and Exterior Photos

 

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