The Toyota RAV4 debuted 22 years ago. The new fifth-generation 2019 edition of the sport utility vehicle will debut in dealerships in December in gas models and in hybrid models in March 2019.
Gas models will be offered in five grades: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited. RAV4 HV will be offered in four grades: LE HV, XLE HV, XSE HV and Limited HV.
Following the guiding themes from Toyota trucks, the new RAV4 has a revised front end and grille design to create a wider stance. With their polygonal motifs, the wheel arches appear to hold the tires from a high position, emphasizing the lifted-up body and drawing attention to the vehicle’s capability.
Ground clearance is increased by more than a half-inch over the previous generation RAV4, with LE and LXE grades having 8.4 inches and XLE and above having 8.6 inches. Black-finish lower body protection further emphasizes the lifted-up look, yet RAV4 retains a comfortable step-in height.
The side mirrors are now positioned lower on the doors for increased forward visibility around the A-pillar. Side visibility is improved thanks to a lowered beltline and the redesigned and enlarged rear-quarter glass. Form and function combine in taillights and exterior door handles which have been shaped to contribute to aerodynamic stability.
The 2019 RAV4 105.9-inch wheelbase grows 1.20 inches over the previous model, adding to rear seat legroom. Overall length comes in at 180.9 inches (181.5 inches on Adventure grade). Height is reduced to 67.0 inches (with antenna) on LE and XLE grades and 67.2 inches on XLE Premium and Limited grades.
Adventure grade come up just a bit higher with an overall height of 68.6 inches. Width is 73.4 inches on Adventure grade while the rest of the grades measure at 73.0 inches. Front tread width is 63.0 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 62.6 inches on 19-inch wheels. Rear width is 63.7 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 63.3 inches on 19-inch wheels.
The 2019 RAV4’s unibody structure is 57-percent more rigid than the previous model, allowing tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility while also providing a smoother, quieter ride. The end goal was clear: create a driving experience that is confident and natural.
The TNGA-K platform allows for lower powertrain placement and lower center of gravity than in the previous RAV4. Using high-strength steel has reduced weight in the upper body, also helping to shift the center of gravity lower. A new saddle-style fuel tank distributes the weight of the fuel evenly side-to-side. The previous model had the entire tank on one side of the vehicle.
A lighter powertrain and new steering system are major contributors. The new parallel-type electric power steering system is rack-mounted rather than column-mounted as is the case in the previous model. The new design helps enhance turning response and a natural feel that can help reduce fatigue on long drives. Higher rigidity in the steering mounting and column further enhances steering responsiveness and feel.
Power and efficiency both make a leap in the 2019 RAV4 thanks to the new Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission in the gas models. In the RAV4 Hybrid, the engine is teamed with Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT) making it the efficiency leader of the lineup with preliminary manufacturer estimated mpg of 41/37/39 (City/Hwy/Comb).
The new Toyota RAV4 will have 203 horsepower for the gas models and 219 combined net total system horsepower for the HV models.
The new Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides a much wider ratio spread than the 6-speed automatic it replaces (7.8 vs. 5.425), resulting in quicker and smoother acceleration, getting drivers from 0 – 60 mph in 8.2 seconds (Limited grade). The new transmission provides torque converter lock-up in gears 2 through 8 to help eliminate power loss and the execution of ultra-smooth shifts. The driver can choose from Eco, Normal and Sport modes to tailor vehicle responses.
In addition to standard front-wheel drive, RAV4 gas models offer two types of available all-wheel drive. The new, segment- and Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect comes standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models. It can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute it to the left or right rear wheel to enhance handling on or off pavement.
As with the AWD system in the previous RAV4 HV models, the new AWD version employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. The 2019 system comes standard on all RAV4 HV grades and increases total torque to the rear wheels by 30 percent compared to the previous system.
During on-road driving, distributing more driving force to the rear wheels helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts for optimal acceleration performance and stability. The system also helps reduce understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability. Off-road, the increased rear-wheel torque helps provide powerful hill-climbing performance, even on rough terrain.
Every 2019 RAV4 model is equipped with Entune 3.0 multimedia, including Wi-Fi Connect powered by Verizon, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant capability, and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The standard Entune 3.0 audio system uses a 7-inch touchscreen perched atop the center stack for easy access. Entune 3.0 Audio Plus adds an 8-inch touchscreen and SiriusXM Radio. Entune 3.0 Premium Audio enhances the multimedia system with embedded dynamic navigation.
Topping the RAV4’s multimedia offerings is an all-new available JBL audio system with 11 speakers in nine locations. This next-generation premium audio setup incorporates enhanced system architecture, new speaker design and an improved tuning process.
Article Last Updated: November 20, 2018.
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