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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Toyota Totally Changes The RAV4 You Used To Know

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Since it first hit the market back in 1994, the Toyota RAV4 has been a car of choice to almost everyone who is on a budget but still wishes to have a good performance crossover vehicle to the point that whenever you talk about a cheap and affordable crossover vehicles, everybody’s mind immediately rushes to the Toyota RAV4, but not anymore. The new 2019 Toyota RAV4 is no longer that small and its definitely not going to be cheap as well.

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Coming from a line esteemed for its great fuel economy and all round cheap maintenance cost, the new RAV4 still keeps those attributes but now wraps them around a more sporty, roomy and agile body structure that looks like a highlander got pregnant for a 4runner and gave birth to it, lol. Toyota also claims that this new RAV4 can take you wherever you want to go, courtesy of its off Road capabilities..awesome,isn’t it?.

Lets now look at what makes the new RAV 4 so impressive.

The new RAV4 will be offered in three variants and nine trims. The limited, The adventure grade ( Capable on- and off-road with fitted Multi-terrain Select and Dynamic Torque-Vectoring AWD with Rear Drive-line Disconnect, RDD) and the XSE Hybrid ( The sportiest RAV4 to be made, XSE Hybrid will offer greater horsepower, a two-tone exterior with a contrast roof, Softex fabric seats with blue highlights, faster acceleration, a sport-tuned performance)

Design

Like I mentioned earlier, the new RAV4 looks like a cross between a highlander and a 4 runner.  The new RAV4 boasts of more room but is shorter overall. It’s also a little wider and not really that tall. The design of the new RAV4 has a front end with the same projecting grille and faux side vents as the 4 Runner, while the entire design is more crafted than the softer and curvier Highlander. The side glass is elongated like the Highlander, but in the back it looks a bit more rugged. The newfound aggressiveness on the RAV4 is great, than the previous model’s tidy but blandstyling.

The new RAV4 is riding on Toyota’s “New Global Architecture,”  gives the RAV4 1.2 inches more wheelbase at 105.9 inches, a bit wider track, and a half inch more ground clearance than its predecessor. But because the wheels are pushed to the corners, overall length shrink down by 2.6 inches. The result is a more grounded stance. The new architecture makes it possible to fit  in 19-inch wheels on top trims.

A lot more excitement has been inched into the rear-end as well, and the tail of the RAV4 is no longer a blunt slab. Black plastic coating is generously used over the wheel wells, on the running boards, and in the front and the rear fascias to provide a rugged-enough look to tough car lovers.

All 2019 RAV4’s are fitted with the second-generation version of Toyota Safety Sense suite which is comprised of a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (effectively, a combination of forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking functions together), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise DRCC Control (which functions at speeds between 0 and 110 mph), Lane Departure Alert with added Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Lane Tracing Assist LTA (a new system that works only on highway speed in combination with DRCC to keep the car on-center using lane markers or the path of the preceding vehicle), and Road Sign Assist (a new system that can identify stop, yield, do not enter, and speed limit signs and then give a dashboard warning).

The manual parking brake lever has been replaced by an all electric parking brake that is standard across all the trim levels. It enables full-speed dynamic stopping, which will bring the car to a full stop promptly, even at speed up to 80 mile per hour.

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Interior

The interior of the RAV4 is thoroughly revamped from what is seen on the previous year as well, though the steering wheel remains the same. The new car’s dashboard features a protruding screen in the center, which sits above a pair of narrow air vents. Toyota opted to keep a traditional gear shifter, which is joined by the mode select knob and several other buttons. Both legroom and shoulder room are improved in the rear seat compartment and 60/40 split-fold rear seats remain a standard feature in the RAV4.

However, finally the new RAV4 is fitted with Apple CarPlay now as standard alongside Amazon Alexa and Wi-Fi connectivity. Android users get left out in the cold, however, as Android Auto is nowhere to be found in the car. A seven inch screen is standard, while an eight-inch screen is offered as an option to those that need the upgrade.

Wireless charging technology and up to five USB ports are also available, as is an 800-watt JBL audio system with eleven speakers and Clari-Fi tuning technology for those that enjoy loud and audible music/entertainment.

Engine and Transmission

Unfortunately, Toyota hasn’t released all the performance figures for the new RAV4 yet but the new RAV4 will come standard with a 2.5-liter I-4 that is mated to an eight-speed automatic or a hybrid variant that combines a similar 2.5-liter I-4 with a Continuous Variable Transmission and the automaker’s new “Toyota Hybrid System II” setup. A whopping nine trims will be offered and in all, five will come with the gas-only engine configuration and four with the hybrid system.

The standard gasoline models of the new RAV4 will have two all-wheel drive (AWD) systems available. The standard option will be the AWD system that is found on the previous generation of the vehicle, which does not disconnect the rear axle.

A new AWD system however, called Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive which has a Rear Drive-line Disconnect, can send up to 50 percent of torque to only the rear axle and distribute it between wheels as needed, improving car handling and reducing slippage.

The new AWD system can also disconnect the rear axle entirely for better on-road performance and great fuel economy, using the a ratchet-type dog clutch on the wheel shafts to stop rotation of the driveshaft (first to be seen in a car). This new AWD system will be available on the 2019 RAV4 Limited and Adventure variants.

Pros

  • Having off Road capability is a plus.
  • Interior design is sophisticated.
  • Promises great fuel mileage.
  • Hybrid option is great.
  • Awesome overall look.

Cons

Price

Toyota is yet to reveal the actual price for the new RAV4, but that should come in a few months as we get closer to when the crossovers hit dealership and car shops. Plain gasoline models will be available first toward the end of this year while the hybrids will go on sale early in 2019. Judging from the specs, the price of the new RAV4 should from at least $30,000 for its base trim.

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