When the 2019 Toyota RAV4 made its debut in New York nearly a year ago, we were all taken aback by the styling. The crossover had gone from conservative and anonymous to aggressive and unique in model change. Besides the styling changes, Toyota updated the powertrains with more power and built the RAV4 on the TNGA platform variant shared with the also impressive Camry.
To find out if all these changes made for a better RAV4, we got a RAV4 Hybrid delivered to the office. The Hybrid model is the most powerful, making 219 horsepower from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a trio of electric motors. One of these motors powers the rear wheels, giving the Hybrid standard all-wheel drive. The Hybrid also features a CVT, rather than the eight-speed automatic in the non-hybrid RAV4.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: Toyota really dialed up the SUV styling elements for the latest generation of the long-running RAV4. I think it looks more than a little bit like a Jeep Cherokee. That's cool. And it's a hybrid, which is great. The EPA combined rating is 39 mpg, which is impressive, though I didn't observe that level during my weekend test. The interior is comfortable and well-laid out. There's horizontal symmetry to it, which makes it feel organized. I realize it's technically a small crossover, but the backseat is a bit tight. This is a solid, well-conceived entry in a crowded segment, and the hybrid tech gives it an identity that's right for the times.
Morning commute in the @Toyota RAV4. Soundtrack included @bloxxband, CCR and a cover of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" by Jimi Hendrix. @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/UkYLKd3ki8 — Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) January 4, 2019