The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Is Not The RAV4 Trail, Or Is It?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the 2017 toyota rav4 adventure is not the rav4 trail or is it

Ridicule it if you must, but the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Adventure gives the people more of what the people want.

Yes, consumers are buying utility vehicles for reasons related to hatchback practicality, all-wheel-drive availability, and peer review equivalency. But they’re also buying SUVs and crossovers — more often than cars now — because they sit up high.

And the RAV4 Adventure sits up a little higher. Improved towing capacity, black wheels, more black cladding, and “dirt-inspired styling” have, however, led Toyota Canada to call the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Adventure the Toyota RAV4 Trail.

Yes, Trail — a name Toyota off-road enthusiasts will know well. Why isn’t Toyota using the Trail name in the United States?

Because the Trail, my friends, has ended.

Just as we wanted to know earlier this month why Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was using different names for a new Ram 1500 special edition north and south of the border — it relates to ZZ Top and Steve Earle — we also wanted to know why Toyota was using different names for this upgraded RAV4.

While Toyota Canada spokesperson Melanie Testani suggested both names imply a similar sentiment, “Trail was chosen because there is history associated with the naming.” Indeed, there have been 4Runners and Tacomas and FJ Cruisers wearing the Trail badge in the past.

“Trail refers to rugged terrain and dirt trails, part of the Canadian landscape that’s ready to be explored,” Testani told TTAC.

Before you mock the thought processes behind such a decision with your commentary, give thanks for the fact that Toyota actually puts thought into the process and escaped the trap of alphanumeric gobbledygook.

Toyota Canada believes there’s a degree of recognition for the Trail badge in the brand’s light truck lineup. In the United States, however, spokesperson Sam Butto told TTAC, “Use of Trail was discontinued as part of a larger realignment of grade naming on body-on-frame vehicles.”

Not only will there be no RAV4 Trail in the United States, the days of genuinely rugged off-roaders earning the Trail badge have ended as well.

“Adventure is a fun-spirited name that purposefully allows room for interpretation and imagination,” Toyota says.

According to Toyota, “Adventure will mean different things to different people.”

“Adventure,” the official lines goes, “truly captures the essence of the “Let’s Go Places” spirit.”

Of course, the independent naming decisions don’t have anything to do with the RAV4 Adventure and RAV4 Trail being different vehicles whatsoever. In fact, on Toyota Canada’s media site, the file names for RAV4 Trail images say, “2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure.”

Hey, when it comes to Canadian names, mistakes happen.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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2 of 28 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Feb 16, 2017

    At least follows motorcycle classifications. A trail bike is a bike specifically built with trails, as opposed to roads, in mind. While an adventure bike is built to have an "adventure" on, whether on paved or unpaved roads. Or, even, if one is feeling unusually adventurous, on a trail.

  • White Shadow White Shadow on Feb 16, 2017

    The should put red tow hooks on it and call it the RavTrailHawk

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