REVIEW: 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure – The Rough and Ready RAV4

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The Toyota RAV4 is a capable crossover that’s a hot seller. This year, Toyota gave everyone a new reason to love the RAV4 with the all-new Adventure trim. Although the changes between this trim level and the rest of the lineup aren’t dramatic, they do give the RAV4 Adventure a unique look and a hint of extra capability.

Power for every RAV4 comes from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Our RAV4 Adventure was equipped with all-wheel drive, which makes it ideal for snowy weather. It also has a slighter higher ground clearance up from 6.1 inches to 6.5 inches. Only the Adventure and SE trims get the extra clearance.

The RAV4 isn’t exactly speedy, but it powers onto the highway without too much effort and gets up to speed without setting your nerves on end over traffic coming up in your rearview mirror. The engine does its work quietly without intruding into the passenger space and the transmission makes efficient, well-timed shifts.

Looking for a new or used Toyota RAV4? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

Handling is good, especially for a crossover. It’s as effortless to drive on the highway as it is on narrow country roads with a suspension system that does a good job of smoothing out the bumps. You’ll only feel the worst of the potholes, which is saying something with how winter left the roads in New England this year.

There’s seating for five passengers in a comfortable and attractive interior. It’s not plush, but it avoids looking cheap through a good variety of trims. The Adventure trim gets a boost with carbon-fiber-like accents, embossed leather-wrapped shift knob, all-weather floor mats with RAV4 Adventure logos, and matching door sill protectors.

The exterior gets its own special treatment that makes the RAV4 Adventure stand out from the rest of the lineup. It has larger fender flares, unique lower valance panels and rocker panel guards, and black accents. This includes black headlight bezels, roof rails, grille, fog lamp surrounds, mirrors, badging, and hood graphic. None of these changes are big, but the total package makes for the best-looking RAV4 out there.

There’s room for 38.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats or 73.4 cubic feet with the 60/40 split second-row seats folded flat. Most of the RAV4 range can tow up to 1,500 pounds, but the Adventure trim does better. Front-wheel drive models can tow up to 2,900 pounds and all-wheel drive models can tow up to 3,500 pounds. That’s more than double what the rest of the lineup can manage making it a big advantage for those who tow.

Looking for a new or used Toyota RAV4? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

The RAV4 Adventure features the base Entune audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, 6 speakers, AM/FM/CD and USB port. If you want navigation, then it’s available as part of a package that also adds safety features including blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. What you still can’t get is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It’s an unfortunate omission that Toyota is beginning to correct with the addition of Apple CarPlay to several of its 2019 models, but you’re out of luck if you want it on the 2018 RAV4.

Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS P) with pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control is standard on every trim. The RAV4 is also a 2018 Top Safety Pick with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and received an overall 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure takes what was already a well-featured and capable crossover and gives it even more capability. It also boasts a more rugged look inside and out and a starting price of only $28,400 to make it a budget-friendly crossover perfect for active families.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin