Skip to main content

The best-selling compact crossover SUV in the U.S., the Toyota RAV4 outsells the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Nissan Rogue. New for the 2019 model year, how is the RAV4 staying on top of the best-selling crossovers list?

Why is it the best?

On Car and Driver’s list of 25 best-selling cars, trucks, and SUVs in 2019, the newly redesigned fifth-generation RAV grabbed the title of best-selling non-truck in the U.S. last year. It’s expected to do the same in 2019 with early sales numbers exceeding those of 2018. explains why it’s so popular:

The hybrid version

While the standard version of RAV4 has plenty of power with 203 hp, the hybrid version packs a little more punch with 219 hp. Many fans prefer the way the hybrid drives over the standard. The electric engine aids the off-the-line acceleration, which gives the SUV more spirit.

Fuel economy

Both versions of the 2019 Toyota RAV4 get better fuel economy than the 2018 models. The all-wheel-drive versions along with the front-wheel-drive models get a combined 29 MPG, beating the 25 MPG from the 2018 front-wheel-drive models. The 2018 RAV4 hybrid had 32 MPG combined — easily besting the 39 MPG combined rating of this year’s hybrid.

Updated technology

The 2019 RAV4s have Amazon’s Alexa and Apple CarPlay as well as more connectivity features within its multimedia system. The tablet-type screen on the dash is easy to use. There are five USB ports and a wireless charging pad to keep you connected on the road.

Updated interior

Many found the cabin of the 2018 models to be boring with a cheap feel. The automaker listened and updated the 2019 interior with better materials and improved design and layout.

Safety features

RAV4 already had an impressive array of standard safety features. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 system is now a standard feature, which fans will love. The system is loaded with safety features like automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning system, lane departure warning with steering assist, lane-keep assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist.

An overview of the Toyota RAV4

What’s new: The RAV4 available as a compact SUV is new in 2019. The hybrid RAV4 for 2019 is also brand new and offers an XSE trim with a sportier look.

The good: Although it has the same great handling fans love, the new Toyota RAV4 is even more rugged. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter engine paired with an eight-speed transmission, which packs the power. Noise and vibration are kept to a minimum, and the suspension balances interior comfort and solid handling ability.

With the new RAV4 Adventure model, off-road enthusiasts get additional capabilities. This model is equipped with torque vectoring that can send as much as 50% of the torque to both rear wheels. The model is the tallest with the biggest wheels and tires. So, the new Toyota RAV4 can handle challenging weather and makes for better cornering and handling. 

The bad: According to Kelley Blue Book, the RAV4 is priced higher and isn’t as much fun to drive as some of its rivals. Some fans will be disappointed that the RAV4 doesn’t offer Android Auto.

The verdict for the Toyota RAV4

Consumer reviews and average ratings are pretty consistent for the Toyota RAV4. It has earned four of five stars overall and on individual components. When it comes to comfort, appearance, performance, quality, reliability, and styling, reviews and ratings are high across the board.

When it comes to value, the ratings drop slightly, indicating that fans aren’t happy with the RAV4’s recent boost in price. Others don’t love the powertrain, expressing unhappiness with the eight-speed transmission or a lack of power. The 2019 redesign addressed some of the popular compact SUV’s issues but there is still room for improvement.