Low Maintenance Costs Prove the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Is a Good Buy

The reliable Toyota RAV4 has been around since the mid-’90s, but its redesign in 2019 really made it shine. For that model year, the RAV4 got more standard features and an updated appearance inside and out. The hybrid version also saw a redesign and became so popular that it outsold the Toyota Prius in 2019.

So, how well does the 2019 Toyota RAV4 fare in terms of reliability? Consumer Reports gives it a predicted rating of only 2 out of 5, a big dip from previous years. To get more insight, let’s look at what Motor Trend reviewers had to say about their year-old Toyota RAV4 tester.

How much does a Toyota RAV4 cost?

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is still a relatively new car, so it costs around $23,000 for the base trim. Because Motor Trend’s tester has an XLE trim, the staff paid a neat $31,000 when it was brand-new. This trim has a few extra safety features, plus a moonroof and dual-zone climate control.

You can get a lightly used 2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE for around $26,000. Interestingly, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE has a lower MSRP than the earlier model and retails for $27,345. It has the same extra features, as well as new power-adjustability settings for the driver’s seat.

How much does it cost to own a Toyota RAV4?

Judging by past models, U.S. News estimates a Toyota RAV4 costs $4,600 to own per year. Ordinarily, only a quarter of that amount is used for general maintenance and repairs. Motor Trend’s staffers reported they didn’t spend any money on maintenance fees for the RAV4 despite driving it almost 18,000 miles. 

That’s because Toyota offers to cover all general maintenance appointments for up to two years or 25,000 miles. The automaker also has its own certified pre-owned program, which lengthens the initial powertrain warranty by seven years.

Other reasons to buy a Toyota RAV4

RELATED: How Well Does the Toyota RAV4’s Safety Hold Up Over Time?

Motor Trend also appreciated the 2019 Toyota RAV4’s fuel efficiency. According to EPA estimates, it gets 28 mpg combined city/highway and an excellent 33 mpg on the highway. During real-world driving, Motor Trend’s RAV4 got up to 39 mpg on the highway.

It’s also a great commuter car thanks to its compact turning radius. The Toyota RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This is a big upgrade from the previous generation’s motor, which could put out only 176 hp.

Motor Trend’s reviewers appreciated the technology in the RAV4, particularly the large touchscreen and all the included safety features. Android Auto is disappointingly absent from the 2019 model, but Toyota has since fixed that issue for 2020. SiriusXM Satellite Radio was also added to the list of standard options.

Where Motor Trend was disappointed

While staff did like driving the 2019 Toyota RAV4 around town, the car doesn’t have the smooth performance of some rivals. Sudden acceleration can make the engine complain and sometimes there’s a long pause between shifts. Staff also noted that the suspension doesn’t absorb every bump over uneven pavement. 

Motor Trend’s reviewers also felt a little claustrophobic inside the RAV4 owing to its smaller door openings. This also made loading cargo items into the second row difficult. Still, the staffers praised the SUV for its functional interior design with lots of storage cubbies. They also appreciated that the seats still looked new after a year.

Even if an SUV has an affordable price tag, high ownership costs can quickly sour the experience. Though it’s not the most exciting to drive, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 offers an excellent bang for your buck.