Back in 1994 Toyota introduced an unconventional little vehicle called the RAV4.
It was one of the first compact crossovers around.
Now in the twenty four years since the compact cross overs have exploded in popularity.
Last year alone Toyota sold more than four hundred thousand RAV4's in the US and that it is why it is so critical with this all new 2019 model is even more appealing to customers.
With more power, improved fuel economy, more features and this bold new look.
Let's go for a drive and see if the 2019 Toyota RAV4 has what it takes to stay at the top of its competitive segments.
The new RAV4 rides on a version of the TNGA modular platform that's also used for the newest Camry and Avalon.
Compared to its predecessor, it's a little bit shorter in both length and height.
But it's a little bit wider, and the wheel base is increased, and that's what helps give this thing slightly sportier proportions from the outside than before.
And in fact the design is a whole lot cooler, to me, than before.
Toyota says they wanted it to look a little bit less cross over like and a little more SUV like.
You can see things like the slightly squared off fenders, the front end that looks almost like the Toyota Forerunner.
It's a little bit more truck like and rugged than the older RAV four.
And actually, I quite like it.
I quite like the interior too, it's very well put together with a load of lovely soft Materials all around, in typical Toyota fashion, all of the controls, everything from the radio to the heated seats, the climate controls, are really, really easy to use at a glance while you're driving.
And as you'd expect for a vehicle intended for family, shoppers, there's a load of space inside.
The back seat is really roomy.
There's tons of leg room and head room for a normal sized adult like myself, and the floor doesn't It doesn't have too much of a tunnel in it, so you can even sit kind of comfortably in the center position.
Then around at the back, the cargo area is two and a half inches longer than before.
You get 37 feet of cubic feet of space behind the back seats, which is right on par with the likes of a Honda CRV or a Nissan Rogue.
Under the hood is a 2.5 liter inline-four engine.
And it's good for 203 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque.
All the power go to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and as ever you can choose either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Acceleration is really good, the engine's very responsive, there's great torque flow down.
And with the 6-speed automatic transmission, shifts are effective really really quickly and it mostly keeps out of my way.
I don't even notice the transmission most of the time which is always a compliment Performance from a car like this.
What I would say though is that the engine sounds like groveling.
It's kind of loud when you accelerate, not even when you're accelerating like crazy just when you're keeping up with normal traffic.
Now, with the new engine and transmission.
Fuel economy is improved quite a lot.
It varies depending on trim of course but you can now get up to 27 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg Fiji highway with front wheel drive.
And those numbers make the round for pretty much just as efficient as the best competitors things like the Nissan Rogue and Honda CRV.
Once again, there will be a Rav 4 hybrid and again it'll have all will drive a standard.
It also is more fuel efficient.
It'll get up to 39 miles PI combined.
We're really looking forward to having Get a chance to spend some time with it and see if we can match those mpg figures ourselves in the real world.
Now, aside from its engine, the RAV4 drives really really nicely in pretty much every respect.
It's got really natural feeling steering and natural feeling brake pedals.
It's very easy to jump in and have confidence that it's going to go exactly the way you point it.
On twistier and bumpier roads like this, the body motions are pretty well controlled.
It's certainly not sporty, but nor does it float around all over the place.
There's also a lot of road and suspension noise.
But, of course, that's often dependant on the road you're driving on.
We'll have to spend some time with the [UNKNOWN] back on our home roads before we can make a full evaluation.
In terms of in car entertainment technology.
Every Rav4 has either a seven or eight inch screen infotainment system put up here on top of the dash.
I got the optional eight inch Inch unit.
It's got built in navigation.
I can do things like pinch to zoom on the maps.
But no matter which Rav 4 you get, Applecar play, a wifi hotspot, and Amazon Alexa are all included and expanded.
And I don't think that this system really has that crispest brightest or best graphics you can You'll find in the new in-car entertainment system.
Overall though it is pretty easy to use.
There are shortcut buttons on either side for me to jump to things like audio or phone settings and using the on screen touch displays are pretty easy too.
There are also five USB ports all around the cabin so everyone on board can keep their devices charged up.
And ahead of the shifter there is a wireless phone charging pad.
So if, like me, you often forget your Your USB cable you can still charge up your phone while on the move.
In recent years Toyota has done a really good job of democratizing ECTA safety technology, including it on every stream level a standard, and that carries over to the new RAV4, it has what Toyota calls safety sense 2.0 that's a suite of technology that includes preclusion braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection Lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams, there's also a road sign recognition feature.
That means that in the instrument cluster, I get an little indication of the current speed limit, as well little note of upcoming yield signs or stop signs, which is certainly nice to have u on unfamiliar roads.
You can also opt for blind spot monitoring as an option, and a 360 degree camera.
But my favorite new safety feature in the RAV4 has to be the camera-based rearview mirror.
Normally, it looks like a normal rearview mirror, but when I flip it down, instead, I get a display from a camera mounted in the rear window.
So far, the new RAV4 has made a really strong impression on me.
Easy to drive, it's actually pretty satisfying to drive.
I like the new transmission and I think new chassis really makes this thing drive and steer and handle much better than the old one did.
Now, I don't think that it has the best in car technology but over all there's a lot of safety and entertainment features in here that'll keep you pretty happy.
I'm looking forward to spending even more time with it and getting some time behind the wheel of the new RAM.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 goes on sale in December.
It'll be priced for around twenty-six to thirty-six thousand dollars.
And then the RAV4 Hybrid goes on sale in March.
It'll be priced for around twenty-nine to thirty-seven thousand dollars.
Now based on my first drive so far today, the new RAV4 feels like a big improvement over its predecessor.
First of all it's much more attractive to look at on the outside.
The interior is more stylish and much more functional for everyday family driving life.
Coupled that with the fact that fuel [INAUDIBLE] ratings have improved and there is more safety technology on board.
And well Seems like the RAV-4 has what it takes to continue being a popular choice among car shopers.