Another cold blustery day.
Now their utility vehicle.
It's almost like these are the only things Americans buy anymore.
This week I am testing a Toyota RAV4.
It's the rugged looking TRD off road model.
This means it has a number of useful upgrades that should make it a bit more capable in the dirt.
So come on, let's check it out.
A handsome and useful little hauler this should be the range topping rav4 model.
Now upgrades over more conventional versions are minor and mostly focused on improving its looks though some hardware changes have been made RAV4 TRD off road models feature broader fender flares, unique bumpers, and a different grill.
Now overall the look is quite similar to what you get with the more affordably priced Adventure model.
But setting these things apart are special 18 inch wheels that are treated to a matte black finish.
There also surrounded by Falcon wild peak all terrain tires that should provide plenty of grip.
Behind those rollers is a special suspension system.
It's got red colored springs and twin tube shock absorbers.
TRD off road models also feature unique bump stops that should provide better body control when you're driving over really rugged terrain.
Powering all four tires is a standard dynamic torque vectoring all wheel drive system which also has several selectable settings for different conditions.
This system can route up to 50% of the power trains torque to just To the rear axle and then it can apportion that twist from the left side to the right based on conditions for improved handling both on road and off.
Now the rear portions of this all wheel drive system can be completely disconnected Connected which reduces parasitic drag for improved fuel economy.
Curiously, the Rav4 TRD off road has no increase in ground clearance.
It's got the same 8.6 inches you get in other models.
Also be ware there are basically no skid plates, so if you do go out adventuring, you gotta be careful.
Of course the rav4 is available with a super efficient hybrid drive train but that is not on the menu with the TRD off road model instead, you get this.
It is a familiar 2.5 liter dynamic force four cylinder engine.
This thing gets you a respectable 203 horsepower and 184 pound feet Of torque, it's matched to an eight speed automatic transmission that is both smooth and quick to cycle through its gears.
Driven normally you can expect 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway.
Combined, this rav4 is rated at a not unreasonable 27 mpg.
Some might call this engine noisy and it's definitely not afraid to let its voice be heard, especially when it's working hard, but I happen to think this thing sounds pretty good.
It's pretty assertive especially at higher RPM.
As for performance, it is perfectly adequate in nearly every driving situation.
As for towing this vehicle is rated to haul up to 3500 pounds.
pretty modest figure.
Still, that should be more than enough for a small boat or maybe a couple snowmobiles.
Obviously, you can't expect this Toyota to pull like a diesel powered heavy duty truck.
Next, let's talk about this vehicle's cabin.
And for the most part, I really like what Toyota has done in here.
These front seats are comfortable, there's plenty of soft plastic, you get some nice storage cubbies on the dashboard.
And I love this red stitching.
The rear seat has plenty of room for both heads and legs, plus the cargo area is spacious and the floor is quite low, which makes it easier to load cargo into the back.
As for storage volume, you get about 38 cubic feet with the rear back rest up.
But if you fold that down the figure grows to roughly 70.
Which is just about the same amount, you get in a Honda CRV.
Both the climate control and audio nerves, have a gripy rubber texture on them, with a sort of cool looking swirl pattern cut into it.
Not only do this things look cool, they also feel very nice to use.
But there's also a smattering, a very small rectangular buttons on the dash board.
This look kind of out of place.
Plus they can be quite difficult to hit, especially while driving, making it harder to hit other vehicles Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on all versions of the 2020 rav4.
This includes all the latest and greatest driver aids things like adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and of course Lane keeping assist, but that is not all!
Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert is also standard on all but the most basic model.
Keeping everyone happy, five different USB ports are sprinkled throughout this cabin, those are standard fare on every 2020 Rav-4.
Ditto for Amazon Alexa compatibility, Apple Car Play and even Andriod Auto.
Now my tester here is also fitted with an uplevel infotainment system that includes navigation and an eight inch touchscreen display.
Beyond that passengers are treated to an 11 speaker JBL sound system.
Other optional goodies include a wireless phone charging pad parking sensors, a 360 degree camera that regrettably has a pretty low resolution.
As well as a leather wrapped and heated steering wheel.
The tiller is unexpectedly crisp, both for a crossover and a Toyota.
Indeed the RAV4 steering is both accurate and light.
Aside from a little bit of tire noise, which is no surprise given how aggressive they are, the Toyota RAV4 is interior remains mostly quiet even at highway speeds.
I can't say the RAV4 is my favorite small crossover.
I mean this segment is super competitive.
The Honda CRV is excellent the Subaru Forester as well done and Mazda CX5 practically feels like a luxury car.
But you know something, this Toyota is good at just about everything.
It's well built spacious inside and offers loads of tech plus it's refined, economical and affordably priced including.
But in destination fees bass le version starts at about $27,000 which is more than fair.
However, this options up TRD off road version stickers for about 41,500 bucks, a price that is much harder to swallow, especially when you consider the sort of limited additional capability that it provides.
So my suggestion is this stick with a much more mainstream version of the rav4.
Save a big chunk of change, and I think you'll be pretty happy.
Anyway, thank you so much for making it to the end of this feature, make sure to give the video a thumbs up, and if you've got a chance, subscribe to the road show YouTube channel.