2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The same workhorse; now with better clothing and a lot more spaceby Sidd Dhimaan, on
Toyota RAV4 has been around for almost 25 years now. It has been one of the most stable products for the Japanese giant, raking in sales numbers consistently since its launch. At a time when sedans’ sales were booming, Toyota offered customers with a car that could be taken on any terrain, had the looks of an SUV, and could be handled like a hatch. While this sounds like a success formula now, it was quite a big risk two decades back.
The automaker showcased the fifth-generation RAV4 Hybrid, at the Paris Motor Show this year. Toyota has used a new underpinning, called the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform. With increased body rigidity, The RAV4 now boasts a low center of gravity and better handling when compared to the previous iterations. As for the dimensions, the SUV is 4,600 mm long - shorter by 5 mm compared to the previous gen, but the wheelbase is 30 mm longer. This is because there is reduction of 35 mm in the bonnet and boot overhangs. It is 10 mm wider, and 10 mm shorter.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid seems to have had a potion of smart looks to turn into such a stunner. There’s no denying that the SUV now looks much more muscular and chiseled with cuts and creases in the right places. The front is now much louder than it has ever been.
The RAV4 gets sweptback headlamps and a big grille, which was literally non-existent in the previous iteration.
While I think the face looks handsome (reminiscent of the fact that it belongs to the Lexus family), some may feel that the front is overdone. The fog lamps are housed on the outer most part of the bumpers, but help lighten up the roads very well. Variants above the SLE are expected to get projector-type LED headlights. A faux skid plate is present at the bottom which is mainly there for aesthetic purposes.
The side profile is where the RAV4 is differentiated the most from the previous generations.
At the first glance, the overhangs look longer than they were before; but actually, the bonnet is shorter by 5 mm and the tail by 30 mm.
However, it looks much longer overall; thanks to the angular, body and the raked windshield at the rear. Wheel arches get black plastic cladding, adding character to the profile. The 19-inch tires look hot in the black, five-spoke avatar. Unlike the A-pillar, only half the C-pillar is blackened out, thus negating the effect of the floating roof to an extent. Entry level variants get 17-inch alloys.
This is perhaps the best angle to view the car. In fact, I’d go to the extent of saying that it has the best looking rear in the segment currently.
Unlike the rear of the previous-gen RAV4, which had a boxy, plain looking derriere, the 2019 edition looks well-sculpted.
The black cladding dominates the bumper, and a skid plate is present here too. With the sloping rear windshield, this RAV4 looks much more proportionate. Taillamps extend to the rear fenders quite a lot, and they also protrude out from the body. This, however, increases the risk of them getting the impact in case of even a small hit.
Step inside, and you’ll be welcomed to a pleasant cabin. There are quite a lot of changes, and most of them are definitely a notch up, in terms of quality as well as aesthetics. The whole area looks plush. The steering wheel is carried over, and so is the instrument panel. The cowl and the dash are shaped differently. Two most prominent differences you’ll immediately spot are the vents and the center console. The AC vents are now rectangular, replacing the circular vents that were present before.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets a floating 7-inch touchscreen as compared to the previous iteration’s touchscreen which was mounted below.
It also gets Apple CarPlay (Finally!), but Android Auto is missing. Why is Toyota being so stubborn about this? A total of five USB ports are present in the car. You can get an 8-inch screen with SiriusXM radio with the Entune 3.0 Audio Plus package.
The waterfall console also houses big knobs for air control and the new gear lever. This reeks of quality and feels very upmarket. The whole gearbox console has moved up, giving it a feel of a luxury car.
Seats get better bolstering and kind of hug you in. If you’re willing to pay extra, Toyota offers heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, panoramic moonroof, and Qi wireless charger, to name a few.
Toyota has added a digital rearview mirror in here. Apart from working as a regular mirror, it also displays a wide angle, HD image that shows much more than the regular mirror. As for the cargo space, The floor is now fully flat, and the space has been increased by 79 liters, thus making the 2019 RAV4 a much more practical and utilitarian package. Also, tailgate is powered in the higher powertrains.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid comes with two different powertrains – a 2.0-liter unit, and a 2.5-liter unit.
The 2.0-liter unit will be available in manual transmission as well. Diesel engines have been completely eradicated from the RAV4’s lineup, which is a good thing because having a hybrid unit and a diesel mill for the same car is contradicting in itself. The 2.5-liter unit is the one you would’ve seen in the Camry and Prius as well, albeit, with different power output figures.
The other available unit in the RAV4 is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 222 horses. Power is sent to all the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. We are yet to hear from Toyota about the other specs, including the battery capacity and the torque figures. For reference, the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid came with a 2.5-liter, I-4 unit with three electric motors and a combined output of 194 horses.
However, Toyota claims to have plonked a stronger hybrid powertrain as compared to 2018 RAV4 Hybrid. While the base models get front-wheel-drive system, the Limited and Adventure trim will offer all-wheel-drive setup. Here, the cars can mechanically disconnect the rear wheels to reduce parasitic drag on the highway, improving fuel economy.
Regardless of which all-wheel-drive system is chosen, RAV4 Hybrid will come equipped with Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select feature, which has engine and traction-control settings optimized for traversing snow, mud, sand, or rocks.
Toyota has also managed to achieve a 51:49 weight ratio for better handling and stability. The suspension duties are taken care of by a double wishbone rear suspension system. In the all-wheel-drive setup, the RAV4 can sprint from naught to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds. The Japanese expect a fuel economy of 52.3 mpg in the U.S and CO2 emission of 102 g/km.
The official pricing is not out yet, but we speculate it to be in the ballpark of the previous iteration itself. So, expect the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to retail at $27,000 for the base trim, and $34,000 for the top-trim.
On the safety front, the RAV4 Hybrid comes with the standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 across the range that includes lane departure warning, automatic high-beam control, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, Lane Tracing Assist- which basically keeps the car in the same lane. Blind-spot monitoring and front and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional.
In most aspects, the Rogue and RAV4 are largely similar. With the typical collar-type chrome grille in the front, the Nissan Rogue is a good-looking SUV and a great package overall. On the outside, the Rogue does not have cuts and creases and angles like the new RAV4 but will be a deciding factor for people who don’t like the pizzazz of the RAV4. Chrome treatment is generous, which in the market, makes the vehicle feel upmarket. On the inside, the car is spacious and feature-rich. A 7-inch touchscreen is available here too, and it includes Android Auto.
When it comes to performance, this Nissan kid is a slow thief. Under the hood, the Rogue Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter engine and electric motor that produces a combined output of 176 horses. This seems quite low compared to the 2019 RAV4 hybrid’s 222 ponies. It touches 62 mph from standstill in 9.1 seconds. The Rogue Hybrid delivers 34 on the highway and 31 in the city. It may seem marginally low, but do note that the RAV4 Hybrid’s figures are not real-world returns. The SUV starts retailing at $28,000 and goes up to $35,000 for the trim loaded with all bells and whistles.
Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid.
The Lexus RX 450h is one of the hottest looking SUVs today. The sporty exteriors with the big tires and flared arches are nothing short of a masterstroke and add to that the lovely shades provided by Lexus. The interiors are a class apart and can put the cabins of costlier models to shame. The whole dash, center console, and the armrest recess exude class. But the 12.3-inch infotainment system is a major distraction and risk while driving. Features and creature comforts are loaded to the brim here.
The RX 450h features 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that produces a combined output of 308 horses. Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission system. The low-end torque is phenomenal in the top-trim, which features a motor generator that produces 67 horses. This may seem like an unfair comparison on paper, but you need a strong contender to tip off the segment bully. Even in terms of safety, the LX 450h is a well-equipped package. The only fly in the ointment is the mediocre handling. As for the fuel economy, the SUV delivers a healthy 30 mpg on the highways and 31 in the city.
Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus RX 450h
After the Camry, the RAV4 is the top-selling model in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. Despite being 24 years in pipeline, the RAV4 feels as fresh as it can be, in fact, it can put some rivals to shame with its looks. The car is a notch up in every aspect and has definitely added some extra pressure on the competition. Since the prices are not announced, we hope Toyota does not get over-confident and price the product at premium.
If I had a con to pick, it’s got to be the looks. Again, this is debatable, but the looks certainly are polarizing. Does the fifth-gen RAV4 Hybrid have in it to continue dominating the market? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4.
Read our full review on the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
Read our full driven review on the 2015 Toyota RAV4.