All-New 2019 Toyota RAV4 Aims for Adventure

Redesigned SUV takes on new proportions and attitude

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in November 2018, we have posted a complete Toyota RAV4 road test.

The original Toyota RAV4 pioneered the small, car-based SUV segment in the mid-1990s, inspiring a legion of imitators over the years.

Today, these so-called crossover vehicles are dominating sales in America, with their blend of available all-wheel drive, elevated ride height, decent fuel economy, maneuverable size, and versatility.

The RAV4 sells a stunning 400,000 units per year—and has sold well for many years—making the stakes gargantuan for Toyota with this redesign. It is no surprise, then, that the company focused on preserving the model’s core virtues with the latest version, while aiming to expand its appeal.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure driving
Small SUV Road Tests

The most noticeable facet of the new RAV4 is the more angular, daresay aggressive, styling. It looks like inspiration was drawn from the Tacoma pickup truck’s grille, the Prius Prime’s dramatic fog lamps, and the 4Runner’s squared-off wheel arches. The look is made more striking by a slight shift in proportions, with the 2019 RAV4 being incrementally shorter, wider, and lower than its predecessor. The combined effect is a declaration that this is a truly new machine.

We rented a RAV4 Adventure and a RAV4 XLE Hybrid to gather our first impressions of this significant new model. We will purchase our own RAV4 to test once it goes on sale in December. The hybrid arrives in early 2019.  

What we drove: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure AWD and RAV4 XLE Hybrid AWD.
Powertrain: Toyota estimates: 203 hp (Adventure) and 219 hp (Hybrid). Both: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive.
Pricing: $29,500, XLE Hybrid; $32,900, Adventure.
Destination: $1,045.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure