What’s New for 2019
A new platform, angular off-road-truck-inspired styling, upscale interiors, and improved performance are some of the highlights of the 2019 Toyota RAV4. There’s a new sporty model, the hybrid-only XSE, that offers impressive fuel economy paired with the most potent powertrain.
The non-hybrid Toyota RAV4’s 2.5-liter engine uses an 8-speed automatic transmission, which we drove in an XLE model. Most compact SUV buyers will be happy with the engine’s power, and the transmission does a fine job. The 8-speed is eager to upshift, optimizing fuel economy. While there was some road noise and vibration, wind noise was extremely low. The suspension offered a pleasant balance of comfort and handling ability, and the seats are comfortable, even on extended drives. The Adventure model, with the tallest stance and largest wheel and tire package, came equipped with torque vectoring, which can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels and can control torque distribution to the left and right rear wheels. This is helpful off-road, provides more confidence in inclement weather, and improves handling and cornering. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE HV, the sportiest model in the line, is a hybrid — it offers the most available power in the RAV4 lineup (219 hp versus 203), plus a sport-tuned suspension that’s exclusive to the XSE. The sport-tuned suspension has firmer damping, a more aggressive spring rate, and retuned shocks. The hybrid has excellent power off the line, and has very good power for midrange passing, a big benefit when driving at freeway speeds.
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RAV4 XSE HV MODEL
It’s easy to like a trim level that takes advantage of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s superior power, excellent acceleration off the line, and sport-tuned suspension, while providing terrific fuel economy. Better yet, you don’t have to pay top-of-the-line dollars for this performance hybrid, which starts at around $35,000.
JBL PREMIUM AUDIO
This 11-speaker, 800-watt audio system comes as part of a $1,620 option package, but provided clear, rich sound with terrific separation. If this system keeps the RAV4 within your price range, test it out at your local dealer. It’s the best audio system of the bunch.
Once dull and dark inside, for 2019, the Toyota RAV4 has one of the finest interiors in its class. The cabin looks and feels more upscale, with plenty of soft-touch materials on the dash and center armrest. The center stack is dominated by a crisp, bright 8-inch screen (7-inch on base LE models), which serves as the control center for audio, navigation and Apple CarPlay, with physical buttons on both sides of the screen. There are also giant grippy volume, tuning and temperature knobs below. You can choose from cloth or 2-tone SofTex seats (no leather), but a passenger-side power seat isn’t available. Further enhancing the RAV4’s new attitude: The XSE model dons blue accents and stitching, and the Adventure model gets splashes of orange.
On the 2019 Toyota RAV4, the soft, rounded edges of the previous model are replaced by sharp lines and geometric shapes. The 2019 RAV4 has a taller stance, and uses a rugged grille inspired by the front end of Toyota’s off-road trucks, with a hint of 4Runner influence. There are angular wheel arches and a black lower body, with black cladding and a unique front bumper on the Adventure trim level. Most trim levels will be one color, but the Adventure model and hybrid XSE are available with a contrasting roof color, either Ice Edge or Midnight Black Metallic. The RAV4 comes standard with 17-inch wheels, but 18- and 19-inch wheels are also available.
Notable Standard Equipment
All non-hybrid 2019 Toyota RAV4s come with a 2.5-liter, 203-horsepower engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All RAV4s come with eight airbags, plus Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, road sign assist, and lane tracing assist. They also include Entune 3.0 on their equipment list, with Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), a 6-speaker audio system, a 7-inch touch screen, Siri Eyes Free, and Bluetooth. Cloth seats, manual seat adjustment, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with redundant stereo controls, power windows, mirrors and door locks, a USB port and a rearview camera are standard. The base LE model comes with 17-inch steel wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and automatic high beams.
Notable Optional Equipment
Upgrades include auto on/off headlights, a panoramic moonroof, heated side mirrors, dual-zone climate control, SofTex seats, and heated and cooled front seats with memory controls. Rear seat vents, which weren’t offered with the previous RAV4, are now available. Also available are a digital rearview mirror, a camera that provides an overhead 360-degree view, push-button start, five USB ports, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, an 8-inch touch screen, Qi wireless smartphone charging, and JBL’s 11-speaker, 800-watt Premium Audio system. Nineteen-inch wheels are included on the options sheet, as are a contrasting-color roof. You can also opt for dynamic torque vectoring and a multi-terrain select system, which changes vehicle settings based on the type of surface you’re driving on. All-wheel drive is optional on the RAV4 and standard on the XSE Hybrid.
Under the Hood
All non-hybrid 2019 Toyota RAV4s have a 203-horsepower 4-cylinder engine under the hood, controlled through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is as high as 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/30 mpg combined, a significant increase over the gasoline-powered 2018’s 24-26 mpg combined fuel economy. On the hybrid side, a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine works with two electric motors and a sealed nickel metal hydride battery pack that’s small enough to fit under the rear seats instead of taking up space in the cargo area. The Hybrid comes with AWD and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Toyota estimates fuel economy for the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid will be 41 mpg around town, 37 on the highway and 39 mpg combined, a huge step up from the 2018 RAV4’s numbers – 34 city/30 highway/32 combined, and expected to be the best fuel economy in its class. That would also mean a potential range of nearly 600 miles on a single tank of gas.
203 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (FWD), 27/34 mpg (AWD with stop/start), 25/33 mpg (AWD without stop/start)
2.5-liter inline-4 engine + electric motors (RAV4 XSE Hybrid)
219 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm (peak output with gasoline and electric combined)
163 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 41/37 mpg
The new 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE has a starting price of $26,545, including the $1,045 destination charge. With this generation of the RAV4, Toyota is making a strong value statement. The LE adds more than $2,000 of standard equipment for an increase of $840 over the previous model. At the XLE level, $3,000 of standard fare adds about $1,500, and the Limited offers $4,000 of standard equipment at a cost increase of about $2,300. The XSE Hybrid model offers an even stronger value proposition, with more power and better fuel economy than the non-hybrid RAV4, for only $800 more than the comparable gasoline-powered AWD models. And that pricing is $925 less than the 2018 hybrid, for a vehicle that contains many more amenities and features. When you get to the top-of-the-line Limited, pricing starts at about $35,000. Hybrid prices start at about $28,000 (LE), then move to $32,000 (XLE), $35,000 (XSE), and finally the Limited Hybrid, which starts at about $37,000. Pricing runs higher than that of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. We anticipate the 2019 Toyota RAV4 will continue Toyota’s ongoing tradition of fantastic resale value and reliability.