Toyota's Aging RAV4 Getting Major Makeover to Defend Sales Crown

2019 Toyota RAV4: looking more SUV than crossover

The fifth-generation RAV4 comes with a fresh look and you will find a new Toyota Next-Generation Architecture platform (TNGA) which is some 57 percent stiffer than before. The switch gives the 2019 RAV4 a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase, at 105.9 inches. It's also slightly wider and just a bit shorter than the present RAV4.

Overall, the all-new RAV4 has styling that is closer to a more rugged SUV than a crossover, a segment which the RAV4 itself created. It's an all-new AWD system that can distribute 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels when needed and also send it individually to the left or right rear wheels for improved cornering and rough-road ability. "The disconnection features the world's first ratchet-type dog clutches on both the front and rear wheel shafts". The engine comes mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid models will get the existing CVT unit.

The Corolla Hatchback will be offered with a new six-speed manual transmission (huzzah!) that features rev-matching, but the new Dynamic-Shift continuously variable transmission will doubtlessly be specified in a majority of models. The side glass is continuous, like the Highlander, but in back it looks like Toyota's stylists were looking more closely at a Jeep Grand Cherokee than one of its own.

The latest version of Toyota's Entune infotainment system finally gets Apple CarPlay smartphone projection technology.

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Previous year the RAV4 overtook the Camry as Toyota's best-selling model in the US, as well as was the No.1-selling non-pickup in the light-truck segment. There is Sirius XM satellite radio, satellite navigation, and an 8-inch display. An electronically-controlled, automated system determines how much torque to feed to the rear wheels on the RAV4 Hybrid according to driving conditions. This new AWD system will be available on the 2019 RAV4 Limited and Adventure models. Optional Qi wireless charging is available on select trims and audio channeled through an 11-speaker setup by JBL sound systems. Horsepower and fuel economy figures are not yet available but the automaker says consumers can expect improved, even best-in-class, numbers with the new model.

As with the U.S. version, the Euro-spec RAV4 will be offered with a choice of two powertrain options.

On the safety front, Toyota's Safety Sense now includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking, dynamic cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, and auto high beams with no extra payment required.

Toyota has not announced pricing information for the 2019 RAV4, but the company says gas versions of the crossover will be on sale by the end of the year.