One looks great while the other looks like wants to bite your head off

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has been unveiled at the 2018 New York Auto Show, and it arrived in Manhattan in two different trim levels: the RAV4 Adventure and the RAV4 That may be understating it a little, but we can all agree that, for better or worse, Toyota’s hot-selling SUV received two sides of a complete makeover. We’ll let you be the judge if you think Toyota did well with the new-look RAV4, but in our minds, one design hit the mark while the other missed it completely.

Jekyll And Hyde: Toyota's New RAV4 Is A Hit And Miss Proposition Exterior
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Toyota is presenting two different design versions of the RAV4 in New York.

Toyota is presenting two different design versions of the RAV4 in New York. There’s the RAV4 Adventure and the RAV4 XSE Hybrid. The RAV4 Adventure comes with the more nuanced design. It sports the same grille as the one the Toyota Tacoma carries. It has roof rails on top that help embody its adventurous personality. It also has trapezoidal wheel arches, plenty of angular creases, and an overall stance that embodies its sporting character. It seemed like a curious decision to depart significantly from the previous RAV4’s excellent looks, but somehow, Toyota managed to make it work on the RAV4 Adventure. Squint your eyes a little, and you might even see design hints culled from the FT-AC Concept that made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show back in November.

The design of the RAV4 Adventure complements Toyota’s decision to switch the SUV’s platform and use its new TNGA architecture. Not only does it equate to a wheelbase that’s 1.2 inches longer than the previous model, but the stretched out nature of the platform should help improve the crossover’s road handling abilities. The shorter overhangs in the front and rear should also help improve its off-road capabilities. Safe to say, Toyota did well with the RAV4 Adventure’s next-generation look.

Jekyll And Hyde: Toyota's New RAV4 Is A Hit And Miss Proposition Exterior
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Safe to say, Toyota did well with the RAV4 Adventure’s next-generation look.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the RAV4 XSE Hybrid, which also just made its debut in New York. To be clear, I like the fact that the XSE Hybrid gets unique gloss metallic black cladding. The Limited trim of the same version even gets chrome accents to go with two-tone color schemes that are available across the entire RAV4 range. All nice additions in my book.

But there’s something about the front section of this version that seems a little off. Actually, check that. There are a lot of things that are curious about it, including the automaker’s decision to give it a smaller and completely different front grille that looks meaner and more menacing The grille itself isn’t actually that bad on its own. It’s when you combine its size with the shape of the bumper and the intakes that it starts to look like an angry bulldog with crooked teeth.

I don’t know if that’s what Toyota was going for, but it doesn’t look particularly inviting to the eyes. It looks angry, and not the kind of angry that has some aesthetic appeal to it. It looks angry in an “I-want-to-bite-your-face-off” way. God bless Toyota if this is the result they wanted.

Jekyll And Hyde: Toyota's New RAV4 Is A Hit And Miss Proposition Interior
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The next-generation model should get a lot of people excited, particularly the Adventure version that looks like a proper successor to the outgoing model.

It might not matter, too, if the RAV4 continues to sell like hot cocoa on a cold winter night. As the dramatic as these two designs are, the RAV4 is still the RAV4. It’s Toyota’s best-selling model last year with up to 400,000 sold units, edging out the Camry by a mere 20,000 units. The next-generation model should get a lot of people excited, particularly the Adventure version that looks like a proper successor to the outgoing model.

As for the perpetually angry-looking RAV4 XSE Hybrid? Well, let’s just hope it doesn’t bite you.

References

Jekyll And Hyde: Toyota's New RAV4 Is A Hit And Miss Proposition Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full speculation review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

2015 Toyota RAV4 - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2015 Toyota RAV4.

Toyota RAV4 Gets New Adventure Trim in Chicago High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure.

Toyota FT-AC Concept Previews Hybrid SUV in Los Angeles
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Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota FT-AC concept.

2017 Toyota FT-4X Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota FT-4X concept.

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Read more Toyota news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

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