2019 Toyota RAV4 adorns an updated exterior inspired from the FT-AC concept and uses hybrid and regular iterations of the 2.5-litre petrol engine
Toyota had the RAV4 as its most sold model in America last year, overtaking Camry and Corolla as 4,00,000 units were retailed in 2017. Amidst bettering the latest generation Camry that received a complete overhaul last year by 20,000 units, the existing RAV4 is half a decade old and is still setting the cash registers ringing for the Japanese auto major.
The company wants to leverage on the popularity of the RAV4 instead of playing safe cards for a few more years and a new version of the crossover has come to life finally. We told you earlier that the FT-AC concept showcased at the 2017 LA Auto Show will spawn a production model but it was not certainly expected to the RAV4.
Toyota bucked the trend and revealed the new generation RAV4 based on the FT-AC concept instead of applying the design principles to a brand new model. Looking at it, you will encounter the rugged styling derived from the concept with aggressive plastic body cladding, flared fenders, trapezoidal wheel arches as well as angular cuts and creases no matter which variant buyers choose.
In other words, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 means serious business and despite the bold styling cues, it has adventure and off-roading characteristics written all over it. The inverted hexagonal front grille seems to be taken from Tacoma while the go-anywhere nature is complemented by bigger fog lamps and roof rails. Toyota has developed the new RAV4 depending on different customer preferences.
The XSE Hybrid model, for instance, features gloss metallic black cladding and dual-tone colour choices among other unique options. The interior has its share of updates as well with less buttons and a big touchscreen infotainment system of either 7- or 8-inch size with EnTune 3.0 supporting Apple CarPlay. The Adventure model sports orange accents and stitching, and triangular patterns in leatherette upholstery.
The new RAV4 is based on the latest iteration of the flexible TNGA architecture and claims to have new chassis with rigidity improved by 57 percent. Due to the new platform, it has increased wheelbase and width while the overall length reduced a bit. As for the features list, various trims offer panoramic sunroof, powered, heated and ventilated seats, 11-speaker 800W JBL audio, rear view mirror with rear camera display.
The RAV4 is available with two engine options: a conventional 2.5-litre petrol and a hybrid 2.5-litre petrol unit. The ‘Dynamic Force’ powertrains use an eight-speed automatic transmission or a CVT on the hybrid.
Toyota has not officially revealed the power and torque ratings of both the engines yet but expect the hybrid to be more powerful as it is plonked on to the XSE Sport variant with sporty mechanicals like stiffer suspension and all-wheel-drive configuration with Multi-Terrain Select for driving in different surfaces.
The hybrid model has standard 4WD as the electric motor sends 30 percent more power to the rear wheels than the outgoing version. The regular petrol version can be bought with optional torque vectoring system that shifts power across rear axle.
When frugality is necessary, it restricts power to only the front wheels. In US, the new RAV4 will go n sale later this year and its Hybrid version will hit showrooms in early 2019.
Will the RAV4 be considered for India? We do not have a concrete answer yet but we suspect it could make for a prominent Jeep Compass competitor. Toyota is largely tipped to be launching the Rush in the near future and considering the potential of the premium SUV space, we can expect the RAV4 to be slotted below the Fortuner in the lineup after the turn of next decade.