The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is all-new with an updated design, new powertrains for both gas and hybrid models, and an improved all-wheel drive system. These updates make it a more compelling option in an increasingly crowded segment.
Not only are there plenty of choices when it comes to 5-passenger SUVs, even hybrids are becoming more commonplace. Toyota, however, has something of a reputation for building hybrids thanks to the oh-so-popular Prius. It sets a high bar for other hybrids and the 2019 RAV4 hybrid has no trouble exceeding expectations.
The hybrid pairs the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine found in the gas RAV4 to an electric motor for a combined 219 total system horsepower. This is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. It’s a responsive engine and it’s quiet, so there’s no annoying whine under hard acceleration.
That responsive engine comes along with good handling. It’s a fun little hybrid to sling through the corners and it maintains its composure even over rough road surfaces. Potholes and uneven pavement are well-managed.
It also achieves excellent fuel economy that makes the Toyota RAV4 hybrid a great choice as a commuter car or for family road trips. This fuel-efficient hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 41 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and 40 mpg combined.
There’s an enhanced all-wheel drive system this year to make the RAV4 more capable. It still has a dedicated electric motor for the rear wheels, but one that increase total torque to those wheels by 30 percent. This provides better traction whether you’re on paved roads or managing more rugged off-road terrain.
A selectable Trail Mode offers extra help if you do get stuck. It brakes the wheel that’s spinning and sends torque to the wheel with traction so the RAV4 can regain its footing and you can continue on your way.
The RAV4 hybrid is relaxing to drive and comfortable for passengers. Seating is comfortable and supportive with room for three in the rear seats, but this isn’t a large SUV. While three can fit in back, it’s better suited to only two adults. If you’re talking kids, however, three will be just fine.
It’s also ready to manage your cargo needs. There’s 37.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 69.8 cubic feet behind the first row. In addition, the RAV4 hybrid can tow up 1,750 pounds making it a capable cargo carrier.
Infotainment comes courtesy of Entune 3.0 with a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen, wi-fi connectivity, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay. There’s still no Android Auto, however, which will be a disappointment to those with an Android device. It’s an otherwise solid system that’s intuitive and easy to learn.
In addition to an overall 5-star rating in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid has extensive safety technology. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 offers pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist all standard.
That’s an extensive list, but there are even more safety features available as you move through the lineup. These include blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rear cross-traffic braking, and intelligent clearance sonar.
There’s a choice of four hybrid trims ranging in price from $27,700 to $35,700, which keeps the Toyota RAV4 affordable. Combined with its extensive safety, comfortable interior, and smooth ride, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid continues to be a top choice among hybrid SUVs.