By on June 6, 2017

2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure - Image: ToyotaIn late 2015, Toyota revealed that the automaker’s increasingly popular RAV4 would be increasingly leaned upon for major U.S. sales volume.

As of five years ago, Toyota USA had never sold more than 200,000 RAV4s on an annual basis. Toyota didn’t touch the 300,000 marker until 2015.

But the goal set in 2015 was loftier: 400,000 U.S. sales of the RAV4 in 2018. An SE trim level helped. Then the RAV4 Hybrid became a real success. Toyota sold 352,154 RAV4s in 2016 and is on track for 380,000 sales in 2017.

What will put the Toyota RAV4 over the hump?

If all goes according to plan, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure that goes on sale in September won’t be a mere oddball offshoot.

According to Automotive News, the elevated, fender-flared, tow-package-equipped RAV4 that Toyota revealed at the Chicago Auto Show last February is targeted for 40,000 annual U.S. sales.

Toyota is watching while passenger car buyers flee the midsize arena during the 2018 Camry’s launch year. Boosting the volume of the vehicle most likely to take over — the vehicle that’s already taken over — from the Camry as Toyota’s best-selling vehicle is a surefire way to reduce the sting.

Granted, some of those 40,000 RAV4 Adventure (aka RAV4 Trail) sales will siphon away sales of conventional RAV4s. But the goal for 40,000 RAV4 Adventures still means roughly 10 percent of RAV4 volume heading the Adventure’s way.

On its own, Toyota’s goal of 40,000 RAV4 Adventure sales means this one, unique RAV4 trim level will be more common than roughly half of all SUV/crossover nameplates on sale in America. For perspective, Volkswagen sold nearly 44,000 Tiguans in 2016, its best year ever. Mitsubishi sold 26,576 Outlanders. Mazda sold fewer than 19,000 CX-3s. Mini sold fewer than 13,000 Countrymans.

Laugh at the RAV4 Adventure if you must. But Toyota’s going to laugh all the way to the bank.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

32 Comments on “The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Is No Niche Market Special Edition – It’ll Be More Popular Than Most SUVs...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Copied from my earlier post two articles down-

    Was stuck with a brand new Toyota RAV-4 as a rental over the weekend because Sixt was not available in the city I was traveling to, the rental place messed up my online category reservation, and I couldn’t get another vehicle (long story) due to very pressing time constraints –

    – but I have a hate-filled rant to share that most people who are cynical yet realistic will enjoy:

    FK YOU, TOYOTA, DIRECTLY UP YOUR A$$ WITH A LONG, SHARP, POINTY OBJECT!!!!

    I am *literally* shocked as to how far Toyota has fallen in terms of interior quality, fit/finish, drivetrain (lack of) refinement, a$$ ride quality, stupid-looking switchgear and gauges, flimsy build quality, wheezing engines, and other attributes I’d sooner associate with a circa-2002 Kia (it’s a major insult to Kia to even mention them in the same sentence as the 2017 Scrapyota CRAP-4 I was stuck with for 36 hours, as Kia is superior in *every*way).

    I have a buddy whose kid has a 2004 Honda CRV that rides like and has the interior and exterior build quality and fit and finish superiority of something like a Mercedes E Class when contrasted with the total pieces of sh!t SH!TYOTA FUK-4 that I wanted to drive into a concrete embankment Aubrey McClendon-style, at 90 mph or higher (but I’d bail out, unlike Aubrey, just before impact), assuming the FAKYOTA PLASTC-4 was able to hold together long enough at speeds above 65 mph.

    FAK YOU, TOYOTA. YOUR FOUNDER WOULD ROLL IN HIS GRAVE IF HE SAW WHAT YOU’VE DONE WITH HIS HARD-BIRTHED COMPANY.

    The next time someone even mentions RAV-4 to me, in addition to Yaris, Echo, Coronal or a few other highly sketchy TOILETYOTA vehicles, I will stab them squarely and with 420 lbs feet of torque in the esophagus with a fountain pen or pencil, and drop kick them in their ear/temple region before their body hits the floor, before dragging their gasping-for-breath body to the nearest RAV-4, buckling them in the driver’s seat,putting a cinder block on the accelerator, and popping that sucker in drive pointed towards the nearest cliff, steep ravine or concrete/steel abutment.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      C’mon, DW, it seems like you’re holding something back. Tell us how you REALLY feel.

      PS: plan to test drive hybrid version sometime in next few weeks. We’ll see if I feel equally compelled to put it in the wall.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        As I replied to APaGttH (since he agreed that the ’17 CRAP-4 he rented for a long journey was a rolling pile of $hit) –

        “The Ford Escape is so much better than the Turdyota A$$-4 that it’s almost impossible to overstate how much better it is in nearly every way (especially ride quality, NVH, interior material quality, switchgear, gauges, comfort, etc.).”

        I never thought I’d live long enough to see a Ford product so far superior to a Toyota product in the same segment.

        Mr. Kiichiro Toyoda (founder of Toyota) would go ballistic and force all upper management and executives at Toyota, including his grandson and current CEO Akio Toyoda, to go into center square at Toyota City and commit seppuku publicly, if he were still alive.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Makes me glad I bought my Renegade. I love it!

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          The Escape is the worst car I ever rented/drove. When the radio would spontaneously come on with crackling static, I thought I heard a faint plea: “Kill me, please kill me.”, It was probably just wishful thinking, as I don’t think it had the dignity to dream of such a noble demise. YMMV

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            Explain. The last Escape I drove was pretty damn good. Much better than other compact CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Everyone rented “worst car ever”. I once, while ago, rented Malibu, and 3 years ago – Altima. And both were real bad. And I can add to this company 2008 uncle’s Camry, which also was bad.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Our 2017 Escape was so bad, not really fair to compare it with a 2916 Buick Envision we rented the Escape to pick up in the next state, but it had me thinking how they fix the handling for the Lincoln?

            Tge Escape had good engine and tranmsission tuning though.

        • 0 avatar
          analoggrotto

          I’ve rented most of those Toyotas fairly recently, and none of them were quite that bad. But then again, I never really thought Toyota had all that great build quality at any point in time, only better than a handful of others.

          I have also rented a new Ford Escape, the engine was hella impressive but something was on fire when I returned it to hertz. But that engine, quite fun and quite thirsty.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Wait! Even an MKC is better?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            I could see hundreds of pounds of mass added for the Lincoln version. Bit what they do for the steering and handling must be special.

            I had my old Toyota loving inlaws at the autoshow when the RAV4 was last redesigned. We jumped in the back seat and closed the door to hear a long, echoing vibration as the frame settled. It was the worst in the show if all the backseat we used. Then again this year we went and the RAV4 eched the same. Nothing has changed here.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Don’t make such a fuss, now, you’ll be all right, there, there, it’s okay…

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      So are you saying that you didn’t like the Run About/Recreational Activity Vehicle-4? I’m not quite sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Hello Ms. DeadWeight

      Perhaps a Vespa 150 TAP is the perfect vehicle for you. Turn your hate into action.

      http://newatlas.com/vespa-150-tap-cannon-scooter/30620/

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Yeah I test drove a 2017 RAV-4 Hybrid last Summer. I really wanted to like this vehicle since it has great gas mileage and decent features and they were going to take $4k off it’s $36k sticker. But I couldn’t stand the thing. Lots of road noise, dead steering, and a horribly designed interior filled with a mix of utterly cheap plastics mixed in with a few nice soft touch pieces. But if you’re just looking for economical and reliable transportation, then go for it. I was looking for a more fun to drive and better riding vehicle so I made my purchase from another maker.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I sure wish they would bring back the convertible version!

  • avatar
    whisperquiet

    “Copied from my earlier post two articles down-

    Was stuck with a brand new Toyota RAV-4 as a rental over the weekend because Sixt was not available in the city I was traveling to, the rental place messed up my online category reservation, and I couldn’t get another vehicle (long story) due to very pressing time constraints –

    – but I have a hate-filled rant to share that most people who are cynical yet realistic will enjoy:

    FK YOU, TOYOTA, DIRECTLY UP YOUR A$$ WITH A LONG, SHARP, POINTY OBJECT!!!!

    I am *literally* shocked as to how far Toyota has fallen in terms of interior quality, fit/finish, drivetrain (lack of) refinement, a$$ ride quality, stupid-looking switchgear and gauges, flimsy build quality, wheezing engines, and other attributes I’d sooner associate with a circa-2002 Kia (it’s a major insult to Kia to even mention them in the same sentence as the 2017 Scrapyota CRAP-4 I was stuck with for 36 hours, as Kia is superior in *every*way).

    I have a buddy whose kid has a 2004 Honda CRV that rides like and has the interior and exterior build quality and fit and finish superiority of something like a Mercedes E Class when contrasted with the total pieces of sh!t SH!TYOTA FUK-4 that I wanted to drive into a concrete embankment Aubrey McClendon-style, at 90 mph or higher (but I’d bail out, unlike Aubrey, just before impact), assuming the FAKYOTA PLASTC-4 was able to hold together long enough at speeds above 65 mph.

    FAK YOU, TOYOTA. YOUR FOUNDER WOULD ROLL IN HIS GRAVE IF HE SAW WHAT YOU’VE DONE WITH HIS HARD-BIRTHED COMPANY.

    The next time someone even mentions RAV-4 to me, in addition to Yaris, Echo, Coronal or a few other highly sketchy TOILETYOTA vehicles, I will stab them squarely and with 420 lbs feet of torque in the esophagus with a fountain pen or pencil, and drop kick them in their ear/temple region before their body hits the floor, before dragging their gasping-for-breath body to the nearest RAV-4, buckling them in the driver’s seat,putting a cinder block on the accelerator, and popping that sucker in drive pointed towards the nearest cliff, steep ravine or concrete/steel abutment.”

    I guess that great RAV 4 rental did not have the mentally soothing, neutral interior……..

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Laugh at the RAV4 Adventure if you must. But Toyota’s going to laugh all the way to the bank.”

    How much of this is Toyota can do whatever it wants oddly or incorrectly and buyers will still come in droves?

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      How much of it is the reality that awaits people who believe the hype about there being other options besides Toyota when it comes to a car you’re going to own five years down the road? I manage a shop that had to pronounce a 2012 Focus Titanium hatch and a 2013 Focus sedan as being not economical to repair on Monday because of an incredibly common Power-shift gearbox fault. The only thing unusual was that neither car got near the 130,000 miles that Identifix says is their expected catastrophic failure point. It wasn’t a typical Monday, but only because most of our customers don’t drive Fords. All I’m getting from this echo chamber is an image of Joe Piscopo saying, “you don’t know quality when you see it?” “I don’t know quality when I see it!”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        … and now we see a mechanic that agrees with my assessment of Ford. I think the people who love their Fords buy new ones before they fail and leave all their trash for other people to discover.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’ll post here as I did in the earlier thread.

    We rented a brand new RAV-4 last year to drive from Long Beach to Death Valley. To be 1000% clear, we were excited and we viewed this as an extended test drive as a potential replacement for my wife’s 2006 Forester. The one we got was a completely stripped FWD LE model, only option was floor mats.

    I echo everything DW wrote. It was brand new – the driver seat was broken, it would move forward or back. When I got in it was in a perfect spot, when my wife got in, 400 miles of driving later, the seat wouldn’t budge. After 20 minutes of push, pull, yank lift, and near violence, the seat was broken.

    The engine was wheezy and felt under powered, standing on the gas pedal reminded me of a Pontiac Grand Am I rented 20 years ago, hey, this pedal is for increasing engine noise and gradually increase forward motion.

    The front seats were torture chambers. They were horrible. We were both incredibly sore from the drive, there was no lumbar support.

    The interior was 1990s GM cheap – a sea of endless black plastics, different textures, gray and silver trim (think 2005 Grand Prix access of different colors), and lots of hard touch surfaces. Ergonomics were horrid, sans the infotainment unit, which was the most basic one offered but did work well. It was the only bright spot.

    The steering had no on center feel, and again, a GM analogy comes right to mind, which isn’t shocking as GM and Toyota share the electric steering units. It was exhausting to drive requiring 2 hands on the wheel and endless correction to stay straight. I can’t even imagine driving this say on the rutted highways of Pennsylvania or Michigan.

    The only thing kind I can say is that despite being FWD the off-road chops was very surprising. Drove out to Race Track and back among other very challenging roads and the RAV-4 did everything I asked. Never once did I think to myself, “oh crap, I’m going to get stuck.”

    But the only reason I can see anyone buying one of these is they are’t cross shopping. They just can’t be – because so many other vehicles are better.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Toyota steering reminds me cruise ship steering

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The RAV-4, like the Corolla, is pretty roomy within its segment (tho, the new “super-sized” CR-V seems to have taken the crown).

      Add to that aggressive dealing (albeit not as aggressive as Nissan) and Toyota’s brand reputation = sales.

      After it’s misstep with the previous cheapened Civic, the current Civic and new CR-V are selling on their merits.

      Mazda’s offerings do certain things better, but what hurts Mazda has been its limited engine options, more compact interior space and limited dealer network.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I hated my test drive of one, but the seats in the Limited are quite nice. But I have no experience with them on a longer drive.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am glad my wife bought a CRV. When we were looking for a new vehicle a few years ago we went to the Toyota dealership and test drove several. My wife found the Toyotas very cheaply finished and did not like how they drove. I am sure mechanically Toyotas are good but I would rather have a Honda. Even Hyundai and Kia are much nicer especially the interiors. We tend to keep our vehicles for at least 10 years and neither of us had the desire to own a Toyota for 10 years. Toyota is living on their past reputation and for quality most manufacturers have caught up and exceeded Toyota. Toyota has become the old GM.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My elderly parents got a Ford Escape after testing various CUVs about a year ago. The claimed the RAV4 had a very stiff and uncomfortable ride, it was immediately removed from the list. The CX-5 was the best handling, very car like. While overall they liked the CR-V, it didn’t come with all toys and gadgets the Ford did, for example: memory seats/mirrors. Previous vehicle was a loaded Sonata which they loved except for ingress and seating comfort after my mother broken her hip.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Toyota needs to become more competitive in that they cannot afford to rest on their past. Better interiors and more attractive designs would be a start. The crossover market is a growing market with growing competition. It is too important to just make a few changes and call it a new model. Honda introduced a new redesigned CRV and even Chevrolet has a new Equinox. Toyota cannot afford to rest on their past accomplishments and not all customers buy a vehicle without looking at the competition.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Don’t understand your comment, the new CRV is selling well. The RAV4 is selling well but as stated above it has some competition and should not rest on the past.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The current 1.5T/CVT CR-V is not going to continue the CR-V’s reputation for immortality. “More advanced” competitors like the CR-V and Ecoboosted Fire Escape aren’t really more advanced. Nobody involved thinks small displacement engines with wide ratio spread transmissions are an improvement over drivetrains like the one the RAV4 still enjoys. They’re being deployed on an ignorant public because we’re all paying the idiot tax for an electoral mistake made almost a decade ago. We’ve forsaken durable, dependable and refined engines for inelegant throwaway answers to questions posed by people stupid enough to think they’re smarter than markets and engineers combined.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Don’t disagree about the smaller turbo displacement engines but then all the manufacturers including Toyota either have these engines are will be going to them. I am skeptical of the long term reliability of these engines but time will tell for sure. I am willing to bet Toyota will eventually go the route of small turbo engines, which as you stated is now an advantage of the RAV4 for not having these turbo engines. I also believe that the car makers want you to lease so that in a few years you will come back and get another one of their newest and latest. What I really dislike is the trend toward doing away with oil dipsticks in both the engine and the transmission and having no grease fittings on the idle arms, tie rod, and ball joints on the newer pickups. No part is really sealed for life unless like is not permanent and is just the warranty period.

        Vehicles are lasting much longer than they did in the past and although this is good for the consumer it is not so good for the manufacturers and the new car dealers. They want you to keep buying a new vehicle every 3 to 5 years and if they can lease it to you then even better. Goes against the way I was raised which is to take care of what I own and make it last.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • stevelovescars: I’m a 5’6″ man and the seats were woefully unsupportive for me. In comparison, the...
  • APaGttH: We had a 2017 LaCrosse as a rental. I was so impressed with the stop/start system. Even better than the 2015...
  • APaGttH: I have to question the veracity of this. There are many places in the country you can’t buy 93 Octane...
  • SilverCoupe: Is this a trick question? I have never bought anything but a coupe since I started driving in ’73....
  • WalterRohrl: “On Wednesday, the union reached out to GM in the hopes of re-starting negotiations. So far,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States