Chicago 2017: The 2018 Toyota RAV4 'Adventure' is Code for RAV4 'Towing Package'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

No longer worried about being eaten by wolves, humans have developed a desire to carefully reintroduce a little excitement into their lives now and again. Sometimes, just the illusion of excitement is sufficient.

The compact crossover crowd isn’t exactly a pulse-quickening segment, so the 2018 Toyota RAV4’s Adventure trim, exposed Thursday at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, didn’t need to do backflips to stand out. The Adventure is essentially an appearance package with some tow prepping performed at the factory. However, Toyota’s current hit-or-miss styling seems to have made its mark on the RAV4, and is further improved by trim-specific upgrades both inside and out.

Mechanical changes are modest. The adventure-enhanced RAV4 increases ride height and upgrades the radiator while adding coolers for both engine oil and transmission fluid. It doesn’t improve the 2.5-liter four-cylinder’s 176 horsepower rating, but it more than doubles the towing capacity of the base model RAV4. All-wheel-drive Adventures can tug 3,500 pounds and front-wheel drive units can pull 2,900 lbs.

Exterior chances are noticeably more abundant, starting with Toyota’s use of flared wheel arches. The Adventure also has wheel well liners that nicely reduce the unsightly gap on the raised crossover and unique lower-body cladding, too. These are supposed to be protective elements for when you kick up a bunch of gravel while off-roading this puppy, but they serve an equally important role by toughening up the RAV4’s image. Black wheels, bezels, and roof rack round out the Adventure’s exclusive exterior touches.

Inside, Toyota has added a leather-wrapped shifter, door-sill protectors, all-weather floor mats, a and 120-volt power outlet in the cargo area. There is also an optional Cold Weather package that adds a heated steering wheel, heated cloth front seats, and a wiper de-icer.

Obviously, obligatory trim-specific badging will appear inside of the vehicle and out.

The Adventure is definitely not an off-roading behemoth, but it is the RAV4 trim you’ll want to take camping and it’s not a bad looker. Toyota didn’t give up pricing details but we expect it to come in just under $30,000 when it goes on sale this September.

[Images: Toyota]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • on Feb 09, 2017

    I like it, more important is I fit in the thing.

  • Thornmark Thornmark on Feb 10, 2017

    Looks like a good move for Toyota. Many small trailer owners would like something like this - reliable, versatile and relatively fuel efficient.

  • AZFelix This article does not appear to address non-functional exhaust tip segments attached to the muffler body. When stopped behind certain cars (especially at night), I have noticed that in some cars with dual tips projecting from a single muffler unit, one is fake. The functioning one is dark and sooty while the other has a clean and shiny inside with the solid back panel of the muffler being visible. I have seen this on a Camry and possibly an Accord and BMW if I recall correctly, and am certain these were all OEM exhausts. Feel free to chime in with other confirmed sightings. I also recall reading somewhere that Ford designed an exhaust system where the gasses were vented downwards through a hole proximal to the end of the tail pipe. This prevents discoloration of the metal and soot from building up on the exhaust tips. It was done to address complaints from owners.
  • Ajla Fair enough. He could have used more precision in his words.
  • ToolGuy I AM PLACING [sic] NICELY. There is NO NEED TO BAN ME. Personally I do lots of things which DON'T MAKE SENSE, sometimes to myself, often to others. WHO ELON MUSK ENDORSES is really kind of NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a FREE COUNTRY, in some ways, still. I wish I knew how to FORMAT MY COMMENT better. I USED TO KNOW HOW, maybe I am losing it slowly (lot of that going around, JUST SAYING).
  • Aja8888 I can't read those whole thread without throwing up....
  • ToolGuy Maybe I will GIVE IT A LISTEN. Probably when I'm MOWING THE LAWN. Probably with a BATTERY OPERATED MOWER. (There are also batteries IN MY HEADPHONES. And IN MY PHONE.) Does anyone remember how to make a NEW PARAGRAPH?