Toyota on Wednesday introduced an all-new, fifth-generation RAV4 at the 2018 New York auto show.
What's immediately clear is that the compact crossover SUV has been given a bolder look for its latest redesign, and Toyota says it's also much more capable off the road than previous generations thanks to available torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and driving modes off-road terrain.
Underpinning the vehicle is Toyota's TNGA modular platform that creates a lower and wider stance compared to the outgoing model. At the same time, the vehicle's shorter front and rear overhangs aid its ability to overcome rugged terrain. The TNGA platform has also enabled the new RAV4 to be 57 percent more rigid than the model it replaces.
The standard powertrain is a 2.5-liter inline-4 paired to an 8-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Toyota is holding back details but said to expect improved power and efficiency. A hybrid option is available and swaps in a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a battery pack. Again, Toyota is holding back specifics but said performance fans can look forward to an XSE Hybrid model that will be the most powerful of the range. It will also feature sport-tuned suspension.
2019 Toyota RAV4Enlarge Photo
As mentioned above, all-wheel drive is available. In fact, there are three separate systems. The standard setup misses out on torque vectoring, but buyers will be able to upgrade to the setup with torque vectoring. A third setup is exclusive to the hybrid. Toyota said it sends more power rearward during normal driving situations than the setup on non-hybrids. It also uses an electric drive system for the rear wheels.
Inside, the new RAV4 features a nearly symmetrical dash that puts its standard 7.0-inch or available 8.0-inch infotainment screen up high on the dash. We should mention the infotainment system integrates Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto. Climate and comfort controls sit below, including a control knob for various drive modes next to the transmission lever.
The RAV4 is Toyota's best-selling nameplate, so the new model's reveal is a huge deal for the Japanese automaker. The RAV4 was the fourth best-selling vehicle in the United States in 2017, with buyers snapping up 407,594 examples. Ahead of it were the Ram, Silverado and F-Series pickups. For more on this RAV4 and past model years, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.