2018 New York Auto Show: Biggest Debuts

Toyota RAV4
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2019 Toyota RAV4

 

Highlights:

 

  • Completely redesigned
  • Regular and hybrid models continue
  • More power and better fuel economy
  • More advanced safety features included on all models
  • Apple CarPlay now available
  • Enhanced off-road capability
  • Gas model available late 2018. Hybrid model in Winter 2019.

Why It’s Significant:

Crossover SUVs are becoming a dominant force in  U.S. car sales, making compact crossovers like the RAV4 supremely important to automakers. The RAV4 hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2013, while key rivals like the Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox have been redesigned in the past few years.

Toyota is looking for ways to preserve what buyers like about the RAV4, like its generous list of standard features and reliability, while adding new infotainment and a sharper design to challenge more recently redesigned rivals.

Toyota is starting to add Apple CarPlay to its vehicles, and it’s no surprise they moved quickly to include it in their most popular crossover. Toyota’s competitors have been offering the popular iPhone interface for some time. Apple CarPlay is standard in the new RAV4, along with a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. No support for Android Auto has been announced.

SUVs have been moving firmly into “wagons on stilts” territory – SUVs in name only. Looking to reverse that trend, Toyota is offering the RAV4 with Multi-Terrain select, which has settings for snow, mud, sand, and rocks. That’s similar to systems found in higher-end off-roaders, like the 2018 Toyota 4Runner. These seeking even more off-road fun can get the RAV4 Adventure trim, though the chages there are mostly cosmetic.

Toyota continues its push to include advanced safety features as standard across its lineup, something other automakers have been slow to catch up with. The RAV4 comes standard with automatic braking, pedestrian detection, full-range adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with lane centering, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, and road sign detection.

What Else You Should Know:

The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces more horsepower and better fuel economy than the current setup. Ditto for the four-cylinder/electric motor combination in the RAV4 Hybrid. A new eight-speed automatic transmission also aids fuel economy.

RAV4 trims of note include a new sporty XSE Hybrid, the off-road-oriented Adventure, and the luxurious Limited, which is available with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic moonroof, and a hands-free power liftgate.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 ranks in the lower half of our compact SUV rankings.

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