The 2020 Toyota RAV4
Last year's complete redesign of the Toyota RAV4 took an already popular compact SUV and enhanced it- new drivers assistance and safety features, a fuel-efficient engine, greater cargo space, and a whole lot more. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 is therefore not a full redesign itself, but a step forward from where the 2019 model left off. In fact, it is commonly referred to as the latest fifth generation RAV4. The most noticeable aspect of the 2020 version is that drivers get the option of a new trim. While the other trims already perform decently when heading up a trailhead or to a campsite, this newest trim is even better equipped for off-road driving (thanks to an upgraded suspension and special trail terrain tires). While the new RAV4 definitely skews more towards those who regularly engage in outdoor adventures, this is still the same vehicle that's also become a solid favorite for city-dwelling weekend warriors and families.
Performance-wise, the RAV4 is as reliable a vehicle as ever. While, again, the newest trim does the best in off-road driving conditions, the vehicle in general does not disappoint. The 2019/2020 gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which is pretty comparable to the Honda CR-V and better than the Subaru Forester (other popular compact SUVs). The eight-speed transmission that comes standard on all trims does not disappoint, with smooth shifting and decent responsiveness. The slightly wider body on this version also makes it decently resistant to crosswinds, an improvement over the 2018 and previous versions. Steering-wise the vehicle can get a bit stiff on sharp turns, but all drivers need to do is switch into Sport mode for more responsive handling.
This RAV4 has some nice tech features that are pretty standard these days as far as new vehicles go (a mixed touchscreen / fixed button interface, Apple CarPlay, map navigation, etc.) However, it's the safety features where it really shines. Here, the RAV4 is just about as advanced as modern vehicles can get. Not only does it have adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, but it also comes with drowsy driver detection (and alerts to wake drivers up / make them stop the vehicle safely), lane keeping assist, and automatic high beams. Perhaps most notably, the RAV4 also comes with fairly new technology called Line Tracing Assist. Basically, this is an active steering aid that helps drivers drive more cleanly, but stops short of making the vehicle self-driving. The navigation system is standard, yet satisfactory, and drivers also can use Toyota's voice control system (following just a few simple steps) for safer driving practices that help keep their eyes on the road. Its all of these features combined that have earned the latest RAV4 a 5-star NHTSA safety rating.</p>
The TRD Off-Road is the newest 2020 trim, complete with 18-inch black alloy wheels, Falken off-road tires and new bump-stops for better ride and body control when driving on dirt or gravel. This is actually pretty significant considering the 2019 trims' average steering control. As far as the other trims being offered, well, they're the same as before. The base trim is the LE, followed by the XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Premium. The 203 hp, 2.5-liter engine comes standard on them all, though drivers will have some minor upgrade opportunities on the higher trims. Everything above the LE also comes with more luxury features and color options. Additionally, it's worth noting here that the new 2020 TRD Off-road trim is essentially an enhanced version of the Adventure trim (the new wheels are the most noticeable difference). The starting MSRP for both the 2019 and 2020 Toyota RAV4 currently falls between $25,650 and $35,050. That said, military members and recent college graduates may be eligible for a $500 rebate from Toyota.