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The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Can Almost Do It All

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Can Almost Do It All
Jalopnik ReviewsAll of our test drives in one convenient place.  

Few things are more ubiquitous and common on American roads than power lines, gas stations and the Toyota RAV4. In fact, Toyota managed to sell just shy of half a million of them last year. Obviously, the car is doing something right. I wanted to find out what that was.

Maybe it’s America’s obsession with crossover-ish looks and ground clearance. Maybe it’s the space these bigger cars offer. Maybe it’s being able to see over the traffic. Maybe it’s that the RAV4 is legitimately a good car. Speed, fun and excitement aren’t on the menu here at all, is the only thing.  

But after spending a week with the RAV4, I think I get it now.

(Full Disclosure: We wanted to drive the 2019 RAV4 so badly that we asked Toyota and it loaned us one and provided a full tank of gas.)

What Is It? 

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has been redesigned to look more aggressive than ever before, borrowing straight lines from its truck-like 4Runner cousin. Personally, I think it looks great—I particularly enjoy the geometric-shaped grille and the attractive two-tone paint that my loaner came with.

It only infuriates me slightly (just slightly!) that the cladding around the wheel arches don’t connect with the cladding along the bottom of the car.

Impressively, the Toyota RAV4 was Toyota’s most popular car last year. Behind trucks from the Big Three, the RAV4 was America’s fourth best-selling vehicle in 2018 with over 427,000 units sold in total, according to a company statement. That averages out to almost 36,000 cars sold per month. That’s nuts.

It’s a five-seater crossover with a good-sized trunk that’s meant to be your daily driver until either you or the car dies, whichever comes first. (It’ll probably be you, these things last forever.) Maybe you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you need more space. A bigger car. But do you really? Does anyone? I’m sure the RAV4 will be able to handle 90 percent of the tasks you throw at it.

Specs That Matter

The RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that produces a claimed 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, according to a spec sheet, and uses an eight-speed automatic. Toyota loaned me the Adventure AWD version, so, as its name indicates, it has standard all-wheel drive.

That Adventure trim also raises the ground clearance by 0.2 inches over the base car to a total of 8.6 inches, gives it a more aggressive face, bigger over-fenders and roof rails.

It offers between 37 to 37.6 cubic feet of trunk space, which is slightly less than the Honda CR-V’s 39.2 cubic feet of trunk space. This is more than enough for suitcases, trips to Costco and several moving boxes. Wherever your path takes you.

What’s Great

Regardless of how much drama you might have in your life, you can expect pretty much zero of it to come from the RAV4. Driving and living with the car will never be a bother, a hassle or an inconvenience. You’d be hard-pressed to find a day when the stuff you’re trying to move won’t fit inside it without a struggle.

We even tried it out ourselves and fit a whole 55-inch TV box (horizontally), a guitar case, a suitcase, three bankers boxes, video equipment and two passengers comfortably in the front seat.

The RAV4 is a car that you won’t be afraid to use, since it was certainly designed to be useful. The back seats fold down with ease so you can store larger objects and it’s tall so you can stand some things upright. And it drives without a complaint over bumpy roads. That pothole better be massive for the harshness to transfer into the cabin. You get the sense that not much can upset this car.

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