2019 Toyota RAV4 Gets Edgy and More Capable Off-Road

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2019 Toyota RAV4

Toyota’s ‘cute ute’ RAV4 grows up with chiseled looks and impressive new technology.

In perhaps the quietest manner possible, Toyota’s RAV4 has become the best-selling non-truck in the United States. In an SUV-crazed world, the reliable little offering has all the goods that the modern American wants, after all. It’s compact, roomy, reliable, and downright versatile. But the old one was getting a little long in the tooth, especially in a segment ripe with new products. And even though they waited a while to do so, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 represents a quantum leap for the popular model.

The new RAV4 even makes a completely different first impression than the soft-lined, outgoing model. This new crossover is much more angular, chiseled, and downright edgy in appearance. It gives you the impression that it’s rugged right off the bat. And in this case, those looks aren’t deceiving, either.

Toyota RAV4

Riding on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the new RAV4 is wider and longer than before. Shorter front and rear overhangs promise to improve off-road performance, which was surprisingly a goal for this mostly on-road vehicle.

For 2019, ground clearance improves by more than a half-inch. The chassis is 57 percent stiffer than before, and a tuned multi-link suspension aids both handling and ride comfort. The new RAV4 is also the first Toyota to utilize Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect, which can send 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels or distribute it to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling. When AWD isn’t required, they system uses ratchet-type dog clutches on both the front and rear wheel shafts to send power to the front wheels exclusively.

Toyota RAV4

You might not have thought of the RAV4 as an off-roader before. But Toyota aims to change that with these features, along with a new model dubbed the Adventure. Adventure models come equipped with high-rise roof rails, over-fenders, and unique wheels, fog light surrounds, and grille. In addition to the new torque vectoring feature, Adventure models also come with Multi-Terrain Select. Drivers are able to select driving modes for snow, mud, sand, or rocks by simply turning a center console mounted knob.

As successful as this SUV has been in recent years, it might seem risky to make such dramatic changes. But to us, it makes perfect sense to make the little ‘ute more off-road capable as more and more Americans partake in our beloved hobby. And by all regards, the new RAV4 looks more adventure-ready than ever!



Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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