We’ve seen it live from the New York Auto Show and in our nifty side by side comparison, and now it’s time to check out the next-generation RAV4 in action courtesy of promo footage. There should be a video in there for you as Toyota is being quite generous by showing not only the regular model, but also the thrifty XSE Hybrid, the rugged Adventure grade, and the fancy Limited trim.
Slightly shorter yet with a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase, the 2019 RAV4 benefits from a unibody chassis that is 57 percent more rigid compared to its predecessor. If you plan on taking it off the beaten path, you’ll be happy to hear ground clearance has increased by more than half an inch. Despite that, the SUV is actually more aerodynamic than the model it replaces.
Toyota mentions forward visibility has also been improved by moving the side mirrors lower on the doors, while the lowered beltline helps with the side visibility. In addition, the bigger rear-quarter windows will come in handy whenever reversing. The good news continues as the engineers also fiddled with the multi-link rear suspension to boost damping and handling, while diminishing the noise that enters the cabin.
For the first time in a Toyota sold in North America, the 2019 RAV4 gets a digital display rearview mirror if you go for the range-topping Limited version. Standard on the Limited model, it works like a conventional mirror, but once you flip a switch, it turns into a digital mirror by showing footage taken by the camera mounted up high at the back to provide a wider field of vision.
Another ace up its sleeve is a Toyota-first dynamic torque vectoring system with rear driveline disconnect, which comes as standard on Limited and Adventure versions. It can send up to 50 percent of the available torque to the rear axle and even distribute it to the left and right rear wheel to improve handling. The “rear driveline disconnect” part of the name refers to the system’s capability of effectively turning the RAV4 into a front-wheel-drive vehicle to save fuel whenever there’s no need for AWD.
Following its public display in the Big Apple, the new Toyota RAV4 will go on sale towards the end of the year, but you’ll have to wait until early 2019 for the hybrid.