Auto sales numbers for 2020 are in, and the Toyota RAV4 placed surprisingly high on the list. The RAV4 was the 4th best-selling car in the U.S. with over 430,000 units sold. It was also one of the only models to increase its sales during the first quarter.
Truck sales have always been high in the United States, despite a raging pandemic. How did the Toyota RAV4 manage to join the ranks of popular pickups like the Ford F-150?
All about the Toyota RAV4
When critics first saw the redesigned Toyota RAV4 in 2019, many likened its new exterior to that of a truck. It has an aggressive new grille design and a more capable engine. It’s a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
By comparison, the engine inside the 2018 Toyota RAV4 only made 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 RAV4 is also slightly more efficient, rated for 30 mpg combined city/highway instead of 26 mpg combined city/highway. However, despite the extra horsepower, the Toyota RAV4 isn’t an especially quick SUV.
The RAV4 still has a pleasant drive quality and a smooth-shifting transmission. Most bumps are absorbed from the suspension, and the only noticeable noise comes from the engine under sudden throttle. It’s not very athletic to drive, but it doesn’t have any obvious body lean.
Another exciting addition for the 2020 model year was the Toyota RAV4 TRD trim. It comes with an enhanced AWD system that can detach the rear axle to improve gas mileage. With dynamic torque vectoring and all-terrain tires, these models also have better traction. It also has a specialized off-roading suspension and 8.6 inches of ground clearance.
On the inside, the Toyota RAV4 has a classy cabin and comes with a lot of useful technology. It has smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a full suite of driver’s aids that includes automatic emergency braking. The center touchscreen has sharp graphics, user-friendly menus, and a good ratio of physical and digital controls.
It can seat up to five passengers on either cloth or leather seats. Both rows are considered to be adult-friendly, but headroom is tight for front-seat riders. The Toyota RAV4 has a total of 70 cubic feet of cargo space, plus plenty of interior storage cubbies.
Best-selling car in its class
According to the data from Car and Driver, the Toyota RAV4 outsold one of its most popular rivals, the Honda CR-V, by almost 100,000 units. Even though it was also recently redesigned, its total sales for 2020 dropped by 13%. The Chevy Equinox also experienced a drop in sales, with almost 271,000 units sold in the States.
The Nissan Rogue, once one of the best-selling SUVs in the U.S., had a 35% drop in sales last year. The Ford Escape also wasn’t very popular for 2020, selling less than 179,000 units. Several Jeeps also had lower sales last year, including the popular Wrangler.
Which trucks beat the 2020 Toyota RAV4 in sales?
To the surprise of no one, the Ford F-150 was once again the best-selling vehicle in the United States. It may not have had an increase in annual sales, but it still sold 787,422 units. The Chevy Silverado came in second with 586,675 units sold, while the Ram 1500 followed closely in third place.
The Toyota RAV4 also managed to surpass the sales of a couple of trucks. It beat both the GMC Sierra 1500 and Toyota Tacoma by nearly 177,000 and 200,000 units, respectively. It might not be as powerful as a truck, but the Toyota RAV4 is still an efficient and smooth driver.