The consumer market has certainly changed in recent years and Toyota offers a strong example of that. For years, the Camry midsize sedan and Corolla compact sedan/hatchback were this company’s two top sellers. However, in recent years, the Toyota RAV4 is tops as buyers embrace crossover SUVs. Not only is the RAV4 Toyota’s best-selling model, but it is only outsold by Ford’s F-Series these days.
Toyota RAV4 Overview
The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover utility vehicle with room for five. It comes with a four-cylinder engine paired with an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available. The RAV4 is also available in standard and plug-in hybrid configurations, the latter known as the RAV4 Prime. Our overview focuses on the gas model alone.
Toyota rolled out the fifth-generation RAV4 for the 2019 model year. A Calvary Blue paint option with a contrasting black roof is new this year. Slight changes in exterior and interior trim are also found.
Celebrating 25 Years
The Toyota RAV4 rolled out in 1996 and is credited with launching a new category of compact models. The original model was launched in Japan in 1994 where it quickly became popular. Two years later, the RAV4 was shipped to the U.S. and sold in two- and four-door configurations. When the second-generation model launched in 2000, the two-door was dropped. Notably, through the years, the RAV4 has seen many changes. These include production moved to North America, its size expanded, and hybrid variants launching.
Capable, Compact SUV
For a brief time in this model’s history, Toyota offered four- and six-cylinder engine choices. Today, only one engine is offered: a 2.5-liter inline-four with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It is a naturally aspirated engine and one of the strongest in the segment. Power routes to the front or all four wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission. The RAV4 offers decent step-off acceleration and capable passing power. Direct steering, suitable handling, and a comfortable ride are important attributes of note. Most models pull up to 1,500 pounds but opting for the Adventure grade or TRD trim increases that to 3,500 pounds. Certainly, five sit inside in comfort; this model offers average cargo capacity.
Loads of Safety Features
Several attributes accurately describe the Toyota RAV4. Safety leader is one of them. Indeed, this model comes well equipped with a long list of driver-assist technologies. Forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking are two of note. Also, various lane control features – tracing assist, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning — are standard. Adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and traffic-sign recognition are included. Among the available upgrades is a blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. An around-view camera system and automatic parking assist are also available.
We think there is room for improvement with technology, particularly with the touchscreen interface that we found slow. A 7-inch screen is standard, while an 8-inch screen is offered on most trims. A 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio comes standard. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa, Bluetooth, and one USB port are included. Among the upgrades include additional USB ports, a wireless charging pad, and HD Radio. An 11-speaker JBL audio system and navigation complete the options.
Toyota RAV4 Parting Thoughts
We have owned several RAV4 models through the years and have driven countless others. The generational improvements simply have made this a better vehicle. Although not covered, our eyes are on the RAV4 Hybrid, and its near 40 mpg fuel economy. It is worth considering in these days of record-breaking fuel prices.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Specifications
Toyota’s Best-Selling Model
|Segment||Compact Crossover SUV|
|Price Range||$26,975 to $36,875|
|Standard Engine||2.5-liter, I4|
|Horsepower||203 @ 6,600 RPM|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||184 @ 5,000 RPM|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||3,370 to 3,655|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||57.8/56.4|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||54.4/47.7|
|Cargo volume (cubic feet)||37.5/69.8|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||4,610 to 4,705|
|Payload (pounds)||1,050 to 1,240|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||14.5|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||28/35/30 (FWD); 25/33/28 (AWD)|
|Manufacturing Plant||Georgetown, Kentucky|
See Also — Plug It In: Toyota RAV4 Prime
Photos copyright Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. All rights reserved.