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2019 Toyota RAV4: New York Auto Show

author photo by Russ Heaps March 2018

What Is It?

Toyota seems to be leaving nothing to chance with the launch of the fifth coming of its most popular model in the form of the 2019 Toyota RAV4. As the best-selling non-pickup truck in the U.S., the next rendition of the RAV4 has big shoes to fill and major expectations to fulfill. Can it? Will it? If not, it won't be for lack of trying.

Utilizing its revolutionary Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the basis for everything fresh from Toyota from the C-HR and Camry to the upcoming Corolla and Avalon, RAV4 loses a bit of height, sporting a lower center of gravity than the current version. A minutely shorter body rests atop a slightly longer wheelbase. The width, as well as the front and rear tracks, are up a skosh. The unibody chassis is 57 percent stiffer than the current RAV4, which should provide quieter operation and better handling.

The gasoline version uses a new, more powerful 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission that Toyota says will be more fuel efficient than the current vehicle. Even better fuel economy will come from the Toyota Hybrid System II, based on the 2.4L, but using a CVT to distribute power to the wheels. Based on grade and power plant, Toyota will offer three distinct AWD systems: one for hybrid-equipped vehicles and two for gas versions. Upper trims will get an AWD system with automatic torque vectoring for improved cornering.

From the front, it's clear the RAV4 and the Tacoma share some styling DNA. In its effort to push the 2019 Toyota RAV4 upmarket, some 2-tone paint schemes will be available on select grades. All trim levels will feature an Entune infotainment system with at least a 7-inch tablet-style touchscreen, Wi-Fi capability, Apple CarPlay and access to Amazon's Alexa.

Also standard across the board will be Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.0, including pre-collision system with pedestrian detection (which features pre-collision warning and automatic emergency braking), adaptive cruise control with stop and start, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, automatic high beams and lane tracing that recognizes lane markings and keeps the vehicle within those markings in specific driving situations.

How Much?

Pricing will be announced closer to on-sale dates.

When Can I Get It?

Look for gas versions in showrooms during the fourth quarter of this year and the hybrid in early 2019.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because ...

It's the best-selling vehicle that isn't a pickup for a reason. Oh, and there's that Toyota reliability, too.

Other Cars to Consider

Honda CR-V -- Roomy interior, loads of cargo space, zesty turbo and comfortable ride.

Jeep Cherokee -- Most capable in class off-road, high-output fuel efficient turbo and upscale interior.

Mazda CX-5 -- Fun to drive, well-appointed cabin and lots of standard features.

Nissan Rogue -- Seats seven in a pinch, ProPILOT driver-assist available, lots of cargo space and available power lift gate.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Toyota RAV4: New York Auto Show - Autotrader