Toyota offered greater than 400,000 examples of its RAV4 crossover final yr. So when it got here time to revamp that gross sales celebrity, the stress was on to not screw it up. Fortunately, Toyota’s executed an incredible job with this new RAV4, however there’s one other trick up this SUV’s sleeve. Meet the RAV4 Hybrid, a car that takes all the good accolades about Toyota’s compact crossover and provides a wholesome dose of effectivity.

Hybrid advantages

Whereas nearly all of RAV4s driving off seller heaps will likely be gasoline-only fashions with a 203-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, individuals who actually worth effectivity will seemingly be enticed by the hybrid. It is bought stellar EPA-estimated gasoline economic system figures of 41 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 37 mpg on the freeway — an enormous profit over the 25 mpg metropolis and 33 mpg freeway scores of the usual RAV4. All-wheel drive is normal with a rear-mounted electrical motor transferring the again wheels, and as an entire, the powertrain is a bit more highly effective than its gas-only sibling, with a mixed system output of 219 horsepower.

Working with a repeatedly variable transmission, the engine gives greater than sufficient kick to stand up to hurry in a semi-quick trend. The CVT hallmark of annoyingly loud engine drone below exhausting acceleration stays, however the best way that the drivetrain switches between gasoline, electrical or a mix of the 2 for propulsion is impressively seamless.

Regenerative brake tuning can also be on level, providing sturdy stopping muscle and modulation talents. Older Toyota hybrids had brake pedals that felt like on/off switches when switching between regenerative and mechanical braking, and that is one space the place the corporate has actually come a good distance.

Center-ground dealing with

On the basis of all fifth-generation RAV4s is a variant of the TNGA-Ok platform that is additionally underpins the Avalon and Camry sedans. That accounts for 57 p.c higher rigidity than the outgoing automotive and permits the drivetrain to be mounted decrease, bringing the middle of gravity nearer to the bottom.

Trip consolation is excessive on the 18-inch Dunlop tires.

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All of that sounds promising dynamically talking, however a extra forgiving suspension and numb off-center steering response stop the RAV4 from having reflexes as sharp because the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5. Total dealing with traits are nonetheless respectable for a three,800-pound crossover, with managed preliminary physique roll coming into corners. The 18-inch wheels and Dunlop Grandtrek tires supply a journey high quality that can fulfill nearly all of customers, as properly. Dreaded Midwest roads affected by potholes and frost heaves do not rattle the RAV4 because the suspension soaks up impacts. This can be a noticeable enchancment over the previous automotive that felt crashy over small- to medium-sized bumps.

Beefier appears to be like and higher consolation

As most of its opponents undertake rounder, car-like strains, designers took the RAV4 in a boxier and extra substantial-looking path. The entrance takes cues from Toyota vehicles just like the 4Runner and Tacoma with my Restricted take a look at automotive sporting a hexagon-pattern grille insert. On the sides, there are squared-off wheel arches, whereas the rear additionally strikes a chunkier look. As an enormous fan of the boxy 4Runner, I do like the brand new look.

Inside, a blockier sprint and door panels proceed the truck-like theme. Fortunately, not like the RAV4’s truck brethren which can be crammed with acres of exhausting plastic, supplies inside this Toyota are close to the highest of its class. All main surfaces have soft-touch surfacing with some accent stitching sprinkled in for good measure. Different good touches are the rubber door pull handles and heart stack knobs that add to the crossover’s barely extra premium really feel.

The skin adopts a boxier look from Toyota vehicles just like the 4Runner and Tacoma.

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Each cabin consolation and performance are good. The entrance seats are comfortable however might use a bit extra aspect bolstering. Outward visibility is superb from all angles. There’s serviceable room for adults in each rows, and plenty of storage cubbies to stash gadgets. The 37.5 cubic toes of cargo house in again is useful throughout a weekly grocery run, however a visit to the wholesale restaurant provide retailer (hey, I’ve bought to assist the household enterprise after I can) requires folding the rear seats to make use of the entire RAV4’s 69.Eight cubic toes of hauling actual property.

Stronger tech

Taking good care of infotainment duties in my range-topping Hybrid Restricted take a look at automotive is the Toyota Entune three interface with a responsive Eight-inch touchscreen. This tester comes with onboard navigation, an 11-speaker JBL audio setup, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The Entune display is intuitively laid out with large and clear display icons and useful exhausting shortcut buttons flanking the display to rapidly name up probably the most generally used menus. As for Entune knocks, it nonetheless does not supply Android Auto, and the graphics look significantly dated.

Entune’s Eight-inch touchscreen is responsive, however graphics look dated.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

To cost telephones and tablets, a USB port, 12-volt outlet and non-compulsory wi-fi cost pad sit on the base of the middle stack, whereas a few 2.1-amp USBs reside within the heart armrest. Rear passengers even have quick access to 2 2.1-amp USB ports on the again of the middle console.

All RAV4 Hybrids obtain ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, computerized excessive beams, street signal help and lane departure warning with lane-keeping help. Restricted trims additionally get normal blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and an adjustable, digital rearview mirror. A 360-degree surround-view digicam is accessible as an possibility.

How I might spec it

As engaging because the extra reasonably priced XSE mannequin, I might go together with a Restricted for the additional creature comforts and blind-spot monitoring. The Restricted begins at a not-too-expensive $36,745, together with $1,045 for vacation spot. I might solely add the $1,015 Restricted Climate Package deal principally for the heated steering wheel to convey the value tag of my RAV4 Hybrid to $37,760. The automotive pictured right here punches in at $39,565.

Make my RAV4 Hybrid a full-zoot Restricted.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Best choice

On the subject of small gasoline/electrical crossovers, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has quite a bit going for it. With a base worth of $28,745, it solely carries are $800 worth premium over its gas-only counterparts so it will not break the financial institution. Making it a extra compelling bundle are the gasoline economic system advantages together with the brand new styling, nicer inside and tech upgrades.

The one direct delicate hybrid competitor for the time being is the Nissan Rogue Hybrid, with its forgettable appears to be like, to not point out the truth that it is painfully sluggish and does not come near matching the Toyota’s effectivity. So for those who’re looking for a compact hybrid crossover, the brand new RAV4 really is the very best factor going.

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