We drove a $39,000 Toyota RAV4 that outsells rivals from Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. Here are its coolest features.

Our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD test car.

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Our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD test car.
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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The Toyota RAV4 is all-new for 2019 with new styling, fresh interior, and an impressive suite of standard safety tech.
  • The RAV4 is the best-selling compact crossover SUV in the US, ahead of rivals like the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Ford Escape, the Subaru Forester, and the Mazda CX-5.
  • Business Insider recently had a chance to spend a week with a 2019 Toyota RAV4 prototype in Limited trim.
  • The base 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE with front-wheel drive starts at $25,500, while the top-spec Limited trim starts at $33,500. With options and fees, our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited carried an as-tested price of $38,565.

The Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in America. More than 427,000 RAV4s rolled out of US showrooms in 2018, behind only the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and RAM 1500 pickup trucks.

The original RAV4 made its US debut back in 1996 and over next two decades became a dominant force in the compact crossover SUV segment that now accounts for roughly one out of every five vehicles sold in America.

In the marketplace, the RAV4 is a direct rival to the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Subaru Forester, the Mazda CX-5, the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Ford Escape.

For 2019, Toyota has introduced a new fifth-generation version of the RAV4.

Business Insider recently had a chance to spend a week with a 2019 Toyota RAV4 prototype in Limited trim.

“The new Toyota RAV4 delivers a capable, high-tech, and easy-to-live-with compact crossover in a handsomely styled package,” we said in our review.

Read more: We drove a $39,000 Toyota RAV4 to see if the best-selling SUV in America is worth the money. Here’s the verdict.

However, we also expressed our displeasure with the Toyota’s harsh drivetrain.

“The 2.5-liter engine is one of the most coarse-sounding four-cylinder engines I’ve encountered in a long time,” we said. “Under hard acceleration, the engine buzzes and strains like a poorly executed 20-year-old tuner Honda Civic.”

The base 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE starts at $25,500, while the mid-grade XLE, XLE Premium, and Adventure models start at $27,300, $29,500, and $32,900. The top-grade Limited trim starts at $33,500.

Hybrid variants of the RAV4 start at $27,700 for the LE and run all the way up to the Limited trim, starting at $35,700.

All-wheel drive is available as a $1,400 option on all trims except the Adventure and Hybrid variants, in which it comes standard.

With options and fees, our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited carried an as-tested price of $38,565.

Here’s a closer look at its coolest features:


1. Fresh styling: The RAV4’s new sheet metal is handsome and modern, delivering suburban civility with a subtle evocation of 4Runner/Land Cruiser ruggedness.

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2. New platform: The new RAV4 is built on Toyota’s new TNGA-K global midsize platform shared with the Camry sedan. According to Toyota, the new platform is lighter and is designed to deliver a more confident driving experience. Previous RAV4s were built on compact platforms shared with the Corolla and the Prius.

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3. Interior quality: RAV4’s interior is also new and consider us impressed. Material quality was outstanding, and everything felt well put together.

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4. Cabin Ergonomics: Toyota worked hard to make the RAV4’s cabin easy to live with — and it shows. Cabin ergonomics are top-notch. Everything the driver needs is clearly marked and easily within reach.

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I’m a fan of the various storage nooks found throughout the RAV4, like this one right above the glove box.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

5. Comfortable front seats: The leather-upholstered seats in our test car were soft and supportive, with ample adjustments available.

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6. Infotainment is getting better: Atop the center stack is an 8-inch touchscreen running the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Entune is not one of our favorite systems.

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Even though Toyota has made improvements to the system, it’s still clunky to use, and its presentation is decidedly outdated.

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Entune is not without its merits: The system has plenty of features, such as app integration, WiFi connectivity, and built-in navigation.

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And the physical shortcut buttons around the bezels dramatically improve Entune’s usability.

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7. Apple CarPlay capability: It’s available for the first time on the RAV4 and allows you to bypass Entune.

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8. One of the RAV4’s highlights is its advanced camera system.

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Not only does it have a rear view and an overhead view …

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… it also offers a 360-degree panoramic view that will swing around to show the car’s surroundings.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The system also has a feature that shows you what the car looks like from the perspective of those around it.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s an overhead view from the front left.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

9. Standard safety tech: All RAV4s come standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of semi-autonomous driver-assistance technologies, including pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane-tracing assist, and traffic-sign assist.

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10. Panoramic sunroof: This massive panoramic glass roof is also a nice extra. It gives the cabin an open, airy feeling.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

11. Wireless charging.

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12. Cargo room: Open the power liftgate and you’ll find 37 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold down the second row, and cargo capacity increases to 69.8 cubic feet.

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13. Spare tire: Under the cargo floor is a spare tire, an increasingly rare feature in cars these days.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

14. Rear view mirror camera: Our test car came with a screen embedded in the rearview mirror that can be turned on or off using a toggle switch at the bottom. The system took a while to get used to but worked like a charm. It’ll be particularly useful when the RAV4 is packed with people or cargo and rear visibility is obstructed.

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15. Advanced all-wheel-drive system: Our test car came with a fancy Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel-drive system designed to send up to 50% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. It can also distribute power between the left rear and right rear based on road conditions.

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16. Digital instrument display: In front of the driver is a hybrid digital/analog instrument cluster. Our test car’s 7-inch information display worked well and offered a bevy of driving data. Lower-trim cars come with a 4.2-inch display.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider