Taking a Closer Look at the 2019 Toyota RAV4

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Fast Lane Car drives the new RAV4 and offers up a carefully-considered preview of the next-gen model.

Earlier this week, the Texas Auto Writers Association held its annual Texas Truck Rodeo. It’s typically two days full of journalists driving crossovers, SUVs, and trucks off-road and on-road so they can vote on the winners in categories like “SUV of Texas” and “Truck of Texas.” Heavy rains forced the event from being an off-road test to moving out to area surface streets. That’s where The Fast Lane Car got a chance to review the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure. Sort of…

Toyota put a media embargo in place that forbids journalists from sharing their driving impressions until November. That means The Fast Lane Car had to be careful about how it evaluated the most off-road-focused model in the new RAV4 lineup. What they could share was mostly positive. The reviewers liked the RAV4 Adventure’s bold and aggressive new exterior styling, which features 19-inch wheels, a roof rack, and black wheel arch trim. The Fast Lane Car says the new Rav4 “looks like the baby version of the 4Runner.”

yotatech.com 2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

The Fast Lane Car is also a fan of the RAV4 Adventure interior’s use of bright orange accents and large, chunky knobs. “Here’s a first for Toyota in America and that’s this optional rear-view mirror camera,” says The Fast Lane Car. “You can use it like… any mirror, but you can flip a button and the camera comes on, which is mounted high in the back window.”

yotatech.com 2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

As for the RAV4 Adventure’s specs, The Fast Lane Car hinted at what they could be. It will be available with a gas-only 2.5-liter I4 and a hybrid power plant. The review points out that the 2.5 in the 2019 Camry generates 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The more capable RAV4 Adventure model should be able to tow about 3,500 pounds. If prices don’t radically change from those of the outgoing model, the RAV4 should have a base price of approximately $25,000.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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