The Toyota RAV4 is the best selling small SUV in the US, and Toyota’s most popular vehicle. That’s a tall order because it’s a competitive segment that accounts for almost 500,000 units for the RAV4 alone. It’s the hottest vehicle in the hottest segment of all vehicles. Toyota has a lot to consider with each change it makes. So, what are the changes for 2020? We’ll break them down.
The current RAV4 came out in 2018 as a 2019 model, so it’s still a new version of the old favorite. As such, the 2020 RAV4 has only been tweaked here and there from its 2019 self. There are still only two engine options; the standard 2.5-liter 203 hp four-cylinder or hybrid its counterpart. Especially if you’re looking to get into a base RAV4 you’ll be happy to know you have the same powertrain whether you get the LE or top-of-the-line TRD Off-Road.
Does the 2020 RAV4 really need all-wheel-drive?
With that engine, you’ll be getting 35 mpg for the front-wheel-drive or 33 mph with all-wheel-drive. Unless you really need it why go with the extra complexity, weight, and cost of all-wheel-drive? A lot of the reviews we see push AWD as almost a necessity, but unless you’re in the half of the US that needs it for snow, why go for it?
The all-wheel-drive option is an extra $1,400 on LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited trims. It comes standard on the higher optioned Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and XSE Hybrid models.
The RAV4 Hybrid
That caveat may or may not apply to the hybrid RAV4. The economy ratings for the hybrid jump to 40 mpg in the RAV4 LE Hybrid which is the least expensive trim you can get it with. You get the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder combined with an electric motor spun by a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. This cheapest hybrid comes in at $28,100 list price.
New for 2020 is the RAV4 TRD Off-Road package which puts an aggressive spin on the pedestrian RAV4. In this package, the suspension is tuned for better compliance in rugged situations. This is combined with dynamic torque vectoring and all-terrain tires.
What about RAV4 safety changes?
Safety technology is fast becoming a must-have category and the RAV4 has a surprising amount of standard safety features. Automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control are available across the 10 models of RAV4. This may be part of the reason you’ll pay a little more for the least expensive LE model that the competition.
The base LE RAV4 starts at $25,850. That’s slightly more than other manufacturer’s small SUVs start at, but you’re getting some tangible and intangible plusses. The aforementioned standard safety features, plus the knowledge you’re buying the most popular small SUV out there. All of these owners can’t be wrong.
Other RAV4 changes for 2020
Other 2020 changes are the availability of Android Auto in all RAV4s, and the addition of Sirius/XM radio with a three-month free trial. Some shuffling of other options and features have changed from 2019.
In the XLE a power driver seat is included, but the sunroof is no longer offered in this trim. A Cold Weather Package includes heated front seats, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers for an additional $925.
XLE Premium jumps $200 but the Adventure is $95 less. The difference between the Adventure and TRD Off-Road is the suspension tune and wheels and tires for the TRD. The Adventure is a more cosmetic upgrade.
The top-of-the-line Limited is $730 more than in 2019. Standard for 2020 is the moonroof, heated seats, 8-way power seat with lumbar, and rearview mirror/rearview camera which is also standard on the XSE Hybrid model.