Highlight: The RAV4 is the first American-based Toyota vehicle to have access to a digital rearview mirror. The dual purpose mirror operates like a traditional mirror, deflecting glare, while also providing access through increasing the field of view, showing directly what’s behind the vehicle too.
Test Vehicles MSRP: $39,429 (Base MSRP: $26,745)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; LED daytime running lights; a vehicle stability system; a traction control system; a pre-collision braking system with pedestrian protection; a lane departure alert system; a sway warning system; automatic high beams; road sign assist; lane trace assist; a radar activated cruise control system; a hill assist control system; a trailer sway control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Base LE Model): 17-inch wheels; a manual operated folding exterior mirrors; color coordinated door handles; chrome exhaust tips; cloth seats; manually operated front seats; a manually operated climate control system with a dust/pollen filter; 60/40 reclining rear seats; a built in Wi-Fi system; and a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Standard Equipment (Limited): 19-inch wheels; electric parking brakes; a multi-terrain system (AWD); an electronic blind spot monitor system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a power moonroof; active grille shutters; a rear privacy glass; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a digital speedometer; heated front bucket seats; pseudo leather seats; a power driver’s seat; split rear seats with an armrest; a manually operated leather steering wheel; a leather trim shift lever; a push-button ignition starter system; a remote keyless entry system; a digital rearview mirror; a rear cargo cover; a 7-inch infotainment screen; a navigation system; HD radio; SiriusXM; and an overhead console
Options:weather package: a heated steering wheel, heated/vented front seats, reclining rear heated seats; advance technology package: keyless entry lock/unlock system all four doors, a foot activated power liftgate, a 360-degree camera, a wireless phone charging system; a 11-speaker JBL premium audio system and alloy wheel locks; and a panoramic sunroof
Other Trim Level:
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM
Apple CarPlay Compatible: Yes
Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard
USB Connectivity: Standard
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/203-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/33-hwy
What’s New: The all-new fifth generation RAV4 is available in both a gasoline and a hybrid model.
Why: Toyota has finally gotten the styling right on the larger, bolder looking RAV4. With its more athletic design, the compact crossover no longer wears a bland exterior and interior design. Buyers who purchase the RAV4 no longer have to sacrifice style and a premium interior for dependability.
The roomier RAV4, which is available in a variety of trims, can be configured for a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system.
Its quite obvious that Toyota has placed more emphasis on the interior cabin. Its noticeable from the higher grade quality of materials that was utilized to trim out the vehicle. In the competitive compact crossover segment, Toyota has gone as far to add a new digital instrument cluster, a wireless smartphone charger, an iPad-like infotainment screen and a more pronounced layout for the designer speakers. In the previous RAV4, Toyota has fallen short in the area of providing an appealing interior. However, with consumers hunger for such amenities, Toyota realized in order for the RAV4 to remain number one in this segment, they had to up the ante.
The RAV4 is also available with such amenities as an oversized sunroof, larger 19-inch wheels, heated rear seats, a swipe-and-open, foot-activated rear liftgate and a digital camera similar to one that first appeared in the Cadillac brand a few years ago.
Lastly, Toyota has made a number of the self-driving features most automakers are charging extra, as standard equipment. No matter what trim buyers opt for, they can expect everything from a lane departure assist system to a radar activated cruise control system to be available at their finger tips.
But: While the vehicle borrows the same four-cylinder engine that powered the 2018 Camry we reviewed last year, it seemed unrefined and quite noisy, upon acceleration. While the shift quality was smooth, Toyota should consider invest some additional funds to provide a more premium sounding four-cylinder engine.
Verdict: Being that the RAV4 is Toyota’s best-selling vehicle, it was a great move for Japanese automaker to give the vehicle a more premium look and feel – both inside and out. In one of the hottest vehicle segments in the industry, Toyota realized it could no longer rest on one’s laurels.
In our opinion, this is the best RAV4 to date. Its quite obvious why Toyota is beating the competition, after spending a week behind the wheel of the all-new RAV4.
Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Escape; GMC Terrain; Honda CR-V; Kia Sportage; Mazda CX-5; Nissan Rogue; Subaru Forester; and VW Tiguan
About The Writer: Jeff Fortson is the host of SiriusXM’s only multicultural automotive show, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com. The weekly show, which includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers, can be heard on HURVoices.com channel 141, Fridays at 12 PM ET. For additional air times, a new-vehicle pricing guide, used car tips, recall updates and a car-payment calculator, cruise over to JeffCars.com.