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2019 Toyota RAV4: Ten Things We Know

Toyota recently unveiled the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 and if first impressions are any indication, the competition has a lot to worry about. Here are ten things we know about the next-generation RAV4.

Bigger in All the Right Places

The 2019 RAV4 is built on the same TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform underpinning the recently redesigned Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon sedans. For the RAV4, this means a longer 105.9-inch wheelbase, wider front and rear tracks, a 57-percent stiffer body and an additional half-inch of ground clearance. The RAV4’s overhangs are shorter as well, and there’s a new multi-link rear suspension for improved handling. Inside, there’s more headroom, legroom, hip and shoulder room, as well as cargo space.

More Power and Better Fuel Economy

Although Toyota hasn’t officially released figures, the company says the RAV4’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine will see a 15-percent increase in power, placing output for the new 2019 model in the 200-horsepower range. Gasoline models are teamed with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid continues with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic.

A Bold New Look

For 2019, the RAV4’s styling takes a monumental leap forward. The look is more robust, with front-end styling heavily influenced by the current Toyota 4Runner SUV and Toyota Tacoma pickup. Around back, the look is more refined, with a tapered rear end somewhat reminiscent of the Lexus NX. In between these two points, the RAV4 gains 19-in wheels, new two-tone paint schemes and pedestal-style side mirrors that help improve outward visibility. Styling varies by trim, with the Limited displaying a more elegant grille and headlight design and the Adventure a more rugged look punctuated by large over-fenders and additional lower body cladding.

A Hybrid with Giddy Up

Toyota flips the script on the RAV4 Hybrid, moving its image from fuel-efficient eco-warrior to potent performance machine. The hybrid models also see an increase in power, with the top-of-the-line XSE Hybrid poised to take on a more aggressive performance image. The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid is equipped with a twin electric motor drive and features a sport-tuned suspension, a smaller wheel and tire package plus unique exterior styling and paint treatments. For 2019, Toyota moves the hybrid’s bulky battery pack from beneath the cargo area to below the rear seat, a change that allows the RAV4 Hybrid to boast the same cargo volume as the gasoline version.

All-New Interior

Matching its stunning exterior is an equally impressive interior. There’s a new dash that’s more symmetrical than the previous design, with a large center-mounted infotainment screen and larger knobs for the radio and HVAC controls. A soothing blue glow emanates from all the switchgear and numerous storage spots have been placed throughout the cabin. Improved interior materials include more soft-touch surfaces, better fabrics and, on the Limited, a new Mocha color for the Softex faux leather seats. Other trims receive distinctive seat patterns and material, while all models feature an electronic parking brake that frees up space in the redesigned center console.

New Connectivity Options

The 2019 RAV4 features Toyota’s Entune 3.0 software viewed through a 7-in color display. An 8-in screen with satellite radio and navigation is optional, as is an 800-watt JBL audio system, Qi wireless charging and up to five USB ports. Even the most basic RAV4 includes Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa voice activation via Bluetooth. Sorry Android users: Toyota still doesn’t like the way Google collects user data as it relates to driving habits, so Android Auto is off the menu for now.

More High-End Equipment

To keep pace with the competition, Toyota adds a number of new options never before available on a RAV4. Depending on trim, buyers can opt for heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive front headlights, a digital display rearview mirror and a panoramic moonroof.

More Standard Safety Systems

Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) comes standard on every RAV4 and includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning with assist. New features added to the TSS system include Lane Trace Assist (a semi-autonomous driving system for use on roads and highways with painted lines) and Road Sign Assist. Optional equipment includes a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree birds-eye monitor.

An Advanced AWD Option

The 2019 RAV4 can be equipped with one of three all-wheel-drive systems. Base and mid-grade gasoline models use a rudimentary on-demand system that applies power to the rear wheels when the fronts begin to slip. Limited and Adventure grades are equipped with a new AWD system featuring Dynamic Torque Vectoring that greatly improves handling, as well as off-road ability. Dynamic Torque Vectoring works by applying torque to whichever wheel needs it most, be it front to back or side to side. Also included in this setup is Toyota’s Rear Driveline Disconnect, a system that can electronically disconnect the rear wheels from the driveline, reducing drag and improving fuel economy. Regardless of which AWD version you choose, it will come with a new Multi-Terrain Select controller that allows the system to be fine-tuned with settings for snow, mud, sand or rocks. Hybrid models retain the Electronic On-Demand AWD with Intelligence (AWD-i) from the previous generation, but can now send up to 30 percent more torque to the rear wheels via the electric motor assist. Unfortunately, the hybrid AWD setup does not include the cool Multi-Terrain feature.


Toyota plans to build a 2019 RAV4 for every budget and need, with five gasoline grades and four hybrids. Pricing has not yet been announced, but expect the RAV4 to remain extremely competitive with the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Santa Fe. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is slated to go on sale this winter, with the hybrid due out early in 2019.

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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