Car News

All-New RAV4 Gets Sportier, More Canadian

Toyota has just revealed an all-new 2019 RAV4 compact crossover. It gets new powertrains, new active safety technology, and production of the hybrid comes to Canada for the first time.

The new RAV4 gets a big upgrade in style. It trades the pinched-nose look of the current crossover that's shared with the Corolla and Yaris for a big, bold Tacoma-style front fascia. If you recall the FT-AC concept that Toyota showed in LA last fall, it appears that was our first look at the RAV4 –  with some extra cladding on the concept to hide that.

The RAV4 gets aggressive cladding and beefy shoulders, as well as available contrast-colour roof. A lower beltline and larger rear glass improves visibility. The RAV4 grows between the wheels, by 30 mm to 2,690 mm, but is 5 mm shorter overall at 4,595 mm. Width is up 10 mm to 1,855 mm and the height drops 5 mm to 1,700 mm. That makes it lower and wider, with more room inside for passengers.

Under the hood, the RAV4 uses a 2.5L four-cylinder Dynamic Force engine. It's Toyota's new design that the company says hits an impressive 40 percent thermal efficiency. Like with the 2.0L version in the new Corolla Hatchback, Toyota isn't saying how much power the engine makes just yet. The current RAV4 makes 176 hp, so expect a number slightly higher than that.

The gas-only model uses an eight-speed direct shift automatic. Two all-wheel drive systems are available on gas models. The first is a conventional AWD system, but Limited and Trail trims get dynamic torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. That system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels, and send power to the left or right rear wheel for improved handling. That system can disconnect the rear driveline to improve fuel economy when all-wheel drive isn't needed.

Hybrid models use a similar 2.5L engine and Toyota's Hybrid System II system with CVT. That model's all-wheel drive system can send 30 percent more torque to the electronically driven rear wheels than before.

The hybrid's all-wheel drive system improves performance enough that Toyota has made a new XSE sport trim for hybrid models. It adds a sport-tuned suspension and unique accents.

Inside, the RAV4 gets a new Entune 3.0 infotainment system. It brings Apple CarPlay to the 7.0-inch touchscreen system, although Android Auto is still missing. Top trims get an 8.0-inch screen with navigation available. Five USB ports are available, split between the two rows of seats. Limited trim models get a rear-view camera mirror. That turns the interior mirror into a screen that displays video from a rear camera. It gives the driver a wider view, unobstructed by passengers or cargo.

The RAV4 gets Toyota's newest Safety Sense system. It comes with pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise, lane-departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high-beams. New to the system is nighttime pedestrian detection, daytime cyclist detection, and lane-trace assist that can follow highway lines or the car in front. Also new is the ability to detect the road edge in some situations where the line marking is missing or not visible.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is expected at the end of this year, with the hybrid to follow in early 2019. When the hybrid model arrives, it will be built alongside the gas model at Toyota's Woodstock, ON, plant for the first time.