2019 Toyota RAV4 Adds Tough Looks, Finally Gets Apple CarPlay

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - March 28, 2018

Toyota unveiled the 2019 RAV4 at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday. The all-new, fifth-generation RAV4 has received a bolder look and some rugged details from the Toyota FT-AC Concept we saw last year in Los Angeles. Look past the exterior design and a lot more has changed for the all-new crossover.

Despite being another crossover in a sea of tall compact vehicles, the RAV4 is an extremely important vehicle for Toyota. Last year, Toyota managed to sell over 400,000 units of the RAV4, making it one of the more popular vehicles in the country. Toyota, understandably, wants to maintain its role as a leader in the segment and is hoping to do that with some extra pizzazz.

The new RAV4's chiseled looks will surely turn heads. While the fourth-generation of the crossover was more conservatively styled, the new variant wants to emphasize its ruggedness. There are bolder lines and chunkier pieces, like the grille and headlights. It all has a whiff of 4Runner to it, but it's clear to see that Toyota borrowed a lot of design cues from the FT-AC Concept.

Get past the exterior and you'll find a new platform. The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) is 57 percent more rigid than the outgoing RAV4's platform and has given the crossover wider front and rear tracks, as well as a longer wheelbase. Another benefit of the new platform is the short front and rear overhangs that should aid the RAV4 in getting over rough terrain – like we said, it's a rugged-forward crossover.

Two available powertrains will be available from the get-go. A Dynamic Force 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission is the standard setup, while the same engine is paired to a Toyota Hybrid System II in the hybrid variant. The latter also gets an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission. Toyota's staying quiet on the specifications of its powertrains, but claims that the XSE Hybrid will be the sportiest version of the crossover.

Previous generations of the RAV4 swapped their off-roading capabilities for better on-road ride quality and versatility. With the fifth-gen variant, it looks like Toyota has taken a different route.

Toyota RAV4

There are three available all-wheel-drive systems. The most notable setup is the one found on the Limited and Adventure trims, as it features Dynamic Torque Vectoring with Rear Driveline Disconnect. The system is capable of sending up to 50 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels and can even differentiate how much grunt goes to the left or right tire. The Rear Driveline Disconnect stops power from going to the rear wheels when it's not needed, helping the RAV4 be more fuel-efficient.

Lower trims get all-wheel drive, but it doesn't come with torque vectoring. Hybrid models get their own all-wheel-drive system that increases the amount of torque the rear wheels can get over the previous generation by roughly 30 percent.

Hearing about the torque vectoring system will definitely impress some consumers, but it's not the only piece of tech that the RAV4 has to tackle terrain other than smooth asphalt. All RAV4s with all-wheel drive get Multi-Terrain Select, which can be found on the 4Runner and Tacoma. Twisting the dial and putting your faith into the system allows the crossover to find grip over rocks, sand, mud, and snow.

On the inside, the RAV4 gets an upright dashboard that has a 7.0- or 8.0-inch infotainment screen that's nestled toward the top. Following a recent trend, the infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration. But once again, Android users are left high and dry, as Toyota left Android Auto compatibility out.

Safety is another aspect that the all-new RAV4 improves on, as the brand has added its Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of safety features as standard. TSS adds pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, and road sign assist.

Our initial thoughts on the RAV4 are favorable, as Toyota has managed to find a way to add some flair into its best-selling crossover. And it really didn't need to, as the vehicle was extremely popular. The more aggressive and off-roading ready Adventure trim is the one that really gets our blood flowing.

Non-hybrid RAV4 models go on sale in showrooms at the end of 2018, while those wanting an electrically-assisted model have to wait until the beginning of 2019. There's no word on pricing, but we expect the 2019 Toyota RAV4 to stay close to the current price tag of $25,505 (including destination).

Toyota RAV4

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website