Toyota's RAV4 Wants to Play Rough and Adds Adventure to Its Name

The RAV4 has undergone multiple transformations since its introduction in the 1990s, but it's blazing a whole new trail for 2019 with the Adventure. This one wants to play rough -- in the dirt, mud, sand and rocks.No one is saying it's ready to battle roughnecks from Jeep or Subaru, but it does have torque vectoring all-wheel-drive, terrain-selection options and even hill-descent control. Plus, it can tow 3,500 pounds, enough for small boats, water scooters and the like.Toyota says the completely redesigned, fifth-generation RAV4 marks a revolution, rather than an evolution, and it's hard to argue at first look. The RAV4 now has a more muscular build with chiseled edges and geometric designs, including a protruding trapezoid grille borrowed from its kin, the Tacoma pickup. It also gains an extra half-inch of ground clearance, up to 8.5 inches.And it gets a dose of attitude with two-tone exterior color (a worthy $500 option), bold orange stitching inside, black fender cladding, dual exhausts with chrome tips, and 19-inch 5-spoke wheels with black accents.In the backcountry, the RAV4 Adventure claws through sand and mud with the help of its brake-based torque vectoring, which makes sure wheels with the best traction are getting the most power. The driver can even monitor the power distribution on a cool dynamic display. Rotary-knob settings make throttle and suspension adjustments for mud/sand, rock/dirt and snow.On the road is where most will be driving and, well, that's where RAV4 comes up a little short. To its credit, Toyota bumped up horsepower by 27, but the 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder engine still only racks up 203 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. It'll get to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds -- below average for the segment -- and it'll whine like an old mule all the way there.  Continue reading...

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