The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Is No Niche Market Special Edition - It'll Be More Popular Than Most SUVs

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the 2018 toyota rav4 adventure is no niche market special edition itll be more

In 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.

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 07, 2017

    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.

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jun 07, 2017

      The new CR-V is the best reason to buy a new RAV4. Everything else in the class was already disposable.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 07, 2017

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 08, 2017

      @ToddAtlasF1 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.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln in 1987 even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs. 1985 was the last year for the rear wheel drive Olds Delta 88 and rear wheel drive Buick Lesabre the rear wheel Caprice and Caprice Classic 3rd generation continued till 1990 when it was redesigned. B Body Buick Estate wagons continued thru 1990 as the Olds Custom Cruiser wagon and both were redesigned. GM held onto a few rear wheel drive full size cars but the Lincoln ad really brought home the similarly looking front wheel drive full size cars. Lincoln's ad was masterful.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
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