The Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road is the crossover’s newest trim level and claims to be the most rugged yet. However, we did put it through some of its paces and it did well, however, it could have used some metal plates on the undercarriage and slightly higher ride height. Otherwise, the RAV4 TRD is an avid off-road performance thanks to a few more features. Here are the five features we liked the most.
The TRD suspension
At first, we felt like the TRD suspension, which includes specially tuned springs and shocks, would be too rough on the regular roads. After all, TRD does stand for Toyota Racing Development and that means it’s meant for some serious off-road duty. However, that was not entirely the case, as the TRD suspension did tighten up the ride, but it didn’t hinder the on-road driving feel or overall comfort. Off the beaten path, however, the suspension held up just fine as the RAV4 traversed the light off-road terrain with superb handling and confidence-inspiring ease.
The black 18-inch wheels
To be honest, we have a soft spot for black wheels in general. But on the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, the 18-inch matte black wheels contrasted the Magnetic Gray Metallic paint job nicely. It gave the car a much more aggressive look and we couldn’t really imagine picking another color to match them better. Although, a black exterior would probably look pretty mean, too.
The infotainment system
Our test car came equipped with Toyota’s upgraded Premium Audio system that included navigation and a JBL sound system. We found that the 8-inch touchscreen was within easy reach – although, the tuning knob was not – and was also easy to navigate. Apple Carplay loaded quickly and easily via the corded connection and the JBL sound system and its 11 speakers made the car tunes come alive.
The contrasting roofline
While we would much prefer a black-contrasting roofline, we did like the white contrasting roofline that the RAV4 TRD had. It definitely did contrast the more-aggressive paint scheme, however, it was a nice touch nonetheless. We have always felt that using a two-tone paint scheme in the right application can do much to increase a car’s character, and it definitely does so with the RAV4 TRD. We recommend the $500 upgrade.
There’s not enough we can say about the RAV4 TRD’s all-wheel-drive system. It’s the same system that comes on the RAV4 Adventure trim level, and if you plan on doing any kind of off-road driving, then it’s a must-have. In case you haven’t heard, the all-wheel-drive system vectors torque not only front-to-rear but also side-to-side, delivering power to the wheels with the most traction. But under normal driving conditions, the crossover does operate as a normal front-wheel-drive car in order to save fuel. It’s a tried-and-true system that is definitely worth having, even if you don’t really need it that often.
There’s so much more to love
The Toyota RAV4 has been a staple among crossovers for the past few decades and we doubt that its sales or popularity will die out in the next few. And while the TRD Off Road package might be a little overkill for some consumers, we wanted to highlight a few of the features that we felt would be most advantageous should anyone opt for this specific trim level.