2019 Toyota RAV4 First Drive: That’s So RAVen

Arguably, no vehicle is more responsible for our modern automotive landscape than the Toyota RAV4. Unveiled at the 1994 Geneva Motor Show, the RAV4 pioneered the contemporary crossover SUV blueprint of marrying the lightweight underpinnings of a car with the style, versatility, and upright seating position of an SUV.

In the quarter-century since its debut, the RAV4’s essential ingredients now form the basis of every crossover currently sold. These high-riding hatchbacks also serve as the de facto moneymaker for most automakers, Toyota included. Last year, the RAV4 overthrew the Camry to become the best-selling unibody vehicle in the United States, and it’s on track to preserve its top-selling status through 2018.

Maintaining success, however, requires continuous innovation, and the redesigned 2019 RAV4 is a more competitive product without abandoning the core qualities that set the standard for this segment.

2019 Toyota RAV4: First Drive

If the previous RAV4 was mild-mannered Clark Kent, then consider the new one Superman. Credit the Toyota New Global Architecture, otherwise known as TNGA (the same modular platform that underpins Toyota products such as the Camry and Avalon), and its 57-percent increase in structural rigidity relative to the prior platform, which, in conjunction with decorous damping, blesses the fifth-generation RAV4 with a stoic, luxury-car-like ride...