A compact crossover SUV last redesigned for the 2013 model year, the Toyota RAV4 is nearing the end of its current lifespan and is due for a complete redesign in 2019 or 2020.
In the meantime, Toyota adds the new RAV4 Adventure variant to the lineup. The Adventure treatment adds a raised suspension, rugged styling details, all-weather floor mats, and high-powered electrical outlet for the cargo area, and more.
For 2018, in addition to the Adventure variant, the RAV4 continues in LE, XLE, SE, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. A gas-electric hybrid version of the RAV4 is available and comes in XLE, SE, and Limited trim.
The SE version is supposed to be sporty, so it has special aluminum wheels, black mirrors, and a mesh grille.
The Platinum version is supposed to be luxurious so it swaps gray exterior body cladding for trim that matches the paint color. The Adventure version is supposed to be rugged so it has silver rocker panel trim and thicker gray cladding.
The RAV4’s interior is all about utility. It provides sizable cargo space for a small SUV, and the interior is packed with storage bins, tray, nooks, and crannies. The materials are hit and miss, a collection of hard and inexpensive plastics coupled with soft-touch surfaces.
Highlights of the RAV4 XLE include 17-in. aluminum wheels, power sunroof, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control, and an upgraded infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free and a Scout connected navigation app.
The RAV4 SE adds LED lighting, larger unique 18-in. wheels, sport-tuned suspension, blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, leatherette seating material, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and keyless entry with push-button engine starting.
The RAV4 Limited has 18-in. wheels with a shiny finish, fancier exterior and interior trim, frameless rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener, memory for the driver’s seat settings, and a premium infotainment system with a larger display, integrated navigation, Entune App Suite, and more.The RAV4 Platinum is identified by its body-color trim and get a hands-free power tailgate, upscale interior details, heated steering wheel, a 360-degree-view camera system, and a JBL premium sound system with 11 speakers.
The RAV4 Adventure sits up higher, has a more rugged look, and receives interior updates designed for active, outdoor lifestyles, according to Toyota. When it was revealed at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, Toyota did not specify which existing trim level the Adventure is based upon.
Most RAV4s are equipped with a 176-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard and a dynamic torque control all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional.
The RAV4 Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 2 electric assist motors, effectively giving the efficient SUV an AWD system. A nickel-metal hydride battery pack, continuously variable transmission, and regenerative brakes are also a part of this drivetrain, which develops a total of 194 horsepower.
In addition to a reversing camera, Toyota makes its Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies standard on every 2018 RAV4. The menu includes dynamic radar cruise control, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Additionally, a blind-spot monitoring system is either standard or available for every 2018 RAV4 except the base LE model and is paired with a rear cross-traffic alert system.For the 2017 model year, the RAV4 received top crash-test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as a highest-possible 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffis Safety Administration (NHTSA). Notably, in NHTSA testing, the overall frontal-impact rating measured 4 stars.
The RAV4 is not particularly high-tech. Aside from its Toyota Safety Sense package and various Entune infotainment systems it offers a 360-degree camera system with both a bird’s-eye vantage point and a perimeter scan function. This camera system is standard for the RAV4 Platinum and available for the SE, Limited, and Adventure trim levels.