2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: More form, function and fuel efficiency
The Toyota Rav4 has been completely redesigned for 2019, adopting a more traditional SUV appearance, a new platform and a bunch of new tech.
It's an insanely important vehicle for Toyota, being its bestseller with more than 400,000 of these things sold last year, proving once again that consumers have lost their mind for crossovers.
This here is the RAV4 Hybrid Limited, that comes to the table with some enticing benefits over the normal gas model.
As with all Rav-4 models, the hybrid moves from softer, car-like lines to boxier ones for a more substantial appearance.
The front end borrows heavily from Toyota trucks like the Forerunner and Tacoma, with its limited trim giving a hexagon pattern grill, while the back is also chunkier.
And as a big fan of the Forerunner, I dig the new look.
Inside a blocky dash continues a trucker visual theme, but don't expect to see acres of hard plastic in here.
In fact Toyota has raised their material game with lots of soft touch and stitch services.
Rubber pull handle backings and center stack knobs are some other small but nice touches.
Seats are comfortable but are lacking a little in side support.
Visibility out the front and the back are improved.
And there's 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the way back.
The InTune3 system handles infotainment duties, with an eight-inch touchscreen, and thankfully, a nice number of hard shortcut buttons to control navigation, a JBL audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay capabilities.
There's also a lot of power outlets for charging phones, and a big list of safety features that you can get a closer look at in a separate Tech Check video.
Getting to the hybrid stuff, all wheel drive is standard with an electric motor mounted in back power in the rear wheels.
A 2.5 liter gas engine and motor combined for a net system output of 219 horsepower, while normal Rav 4s pack 203 ponies.
With the CVT, the hybrid is estimated to return 41 miles per gallon in the city, and 37 miles oer gallon on the highway.
That's a big improvement over the hollow dry gas models 27 miles per gallon in the city, and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.
[NOISE] And the drive train has some kick to it, building speed in a semi quick fashion.
Of course the CVT keeps the engine annoyingly droning when accelerating.
But the way it switches between gas and electric and a combination of the two for power is impressively smooth.
And thankfully the regen brakes don't operate like an on/off switch, offering nice modulation.
Down the road, the RAV is solid and fairly comfy on the new platform.
There is some initial roll in the suspension going into corners, and the steering is on the numb side, but reflexes are decent.
It's certainly not as sharp as a Honda CRV or a Mazda CX-5, but it's responsive enough for most folks.
So the 2019 Toyota Rav4 looks tougher, packs a well built interior with a lot of tech.
And in hybrid form has impressive fuel economy numbers.
It starts at $28,745 which is an $800 premium over its gas all wheel drive counterparts.
This range topping well, [INAUDIBLE] limited trims, that goes for about $39,000 as for competitors, really it's only the Nissan Rogue hybrid that's dog slow, has forgettable looks, and isn't even as efficient as this Toyota.
So if you're shopping for a small hybrid crossover, the RAV 4 really is the best thing going.