By on September 11, 2017

2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure - Image: ToyotaThe allegedly rugged and especially outdoorsy version of America’s best-selling utility vehicle will be priced below the top-of-the-range for its debut model year. The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure starts at $28,695, according to CarsDirect, which places the higher, more tow-ready RAV4 above the SE but below the XLE in Toyota’s compact crossover lineup.

Toyota has already sold 269,835 copies of the RAV4 in the United States through the first eight months of 2017, easily a record start for the RAV4 that appears destined to fulfill Toyota’s forecasts by cresting the 400,000-sale marker by the end of the year. The RAV4 Adventure, Toyota predicts, will generate 40,000 annual sales, though it will surely be stealing some of those buyers from other parts of the RAV4 lineup.

The RAV4 Adventure does not, however, come standard with all-wheel drive. Yet unlike other RAV4 variants, where the cost of all-wheel drive ranges from $915-$1400, the RAV4 Adventure’s optional all-wheel drive will add just $700 to the MSRP, CarsDirect says.

Potential indirect competitors are thick on the ground, but in terms of likeminded vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 Adventure’s list of direct rivals is short. There’s no offroadified Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester, or Mazda CX-5.

That leaves the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, which starts at $32,090. More ready for the Rubicon? Most definitely.2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure - Image: ToyotaBut while you may mock the RAV4 Adventure for its car foundation, you must admit that it is more — albeit only slightly more — prepared for a rough road. The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure offers extra ground clearance: four-tenths of an inch more than other RAV4s. There are also skid plates, which might come in handy when you realize that the extra ground clearance only produces 6.5 inches in total. The 18-inch wheels wear 235/55R18 tires, the same size as other high-trim RAV4s. The RAV4 Adventure will also tow an extra 2,000 pounds, for 3,500 in total, and it’s equipped with a 120V outlet in the cargo area.

The RAV4 Adventure AWD’s $29,395 price will place it above the RAV4 XLE, which Toyota says is priced at $27,895 with AWD, but below the RAV4 SE, which is priced at $31,185 with AWD. Further up the ladder, you’ll also find RAV4s Limited and Platinum, priced at $33,300 and $37,145 when fitted with four driven wheels. There’s also a hybrid lineup, featuring standard all-wheel drive, with prices ranging from $28,905-$35,025. All prices include $995 for destination fees.

Through the first two-thirds of 2017, the RAV4 that now tops Toyota’s sales charts is also nearly 12,000 sales ahead of America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle, the Nissan Rogue. Of course, that’s an unfair comparison, because Nissan is linking two vehicles, the Rogue and Rogue Sport, in one model family. The leader of the pack in each of the five previous years is also gaining momentum, rising 8 percent toward its own record sales pace this year, but the Honda CR-V is nevertheless nearly 20,000 sales behind the leader.

If Toyota conducts the final four months of the year at the same rate of growth achieved with the RAV4 to date, 2017 will end with a top-selling SUV/crossover generating more than 400,000 sales. That hasn’t happened since 2002, when the Ford Explorer produced 433,847 U.S. sales.

[Image: Toyota]

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

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16 Comments on “The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Will Certainly Not Be the Most Expensive RAV4...”

  • avatar

    I saw the “real” adventure trim of these Rav4s as rentals in Costa Rica for those that insisted on more comfort and space than a Diahtasu Terios had to offer, but didn’t want to pony up for a Toyota Fortuner. The Rav4s had black plastic bumpers front and rear, and black steel wheels with tires slightly underinflated to slightly lower the risk of rock punctures.

    • 0 avatar

      You won’t be back out of the stuck in muck with the RAV4 Hybrid as it battery only in reverse

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t disagree at all, the Toyota Hybrid+AWD combo is pretty poor in anything short of the most innocuous circumstances. That Terios I had was a little mountain goat though, old school Toyota mechanical full time 4wd with a solid rear axle. Incredibly sure footed scrambling up washed out Costa Rican jungle dirt roads.

  • avatar

    I just don’t get it – we put 1200 miles on a RAV4 in Death Valley last year – handed the keys to a brand new one and we hated it. It was a sea of black plastic, under powered, rattling, driver seat was broken, so-so ergonomics, hard to backup, and the seats were torture devices.

    I just don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar

      Roomy, reliable and durable, reasonably priced, fairly efficient, strong resale. It’s just a “buy it and forget about it” easy choice. I agree with your assessment of its shortcomings, add to that a brutally stiff ride on the pre-restyled variants. My in-laws I think regretted trading in their ’07 Highlander Limited on one, I think they were just too focused on MPG ratings and the long features list on the Rav4 XLE Limited. It’s their one Toyota purchase they sort of regret I think. For similar money, I’d buy an Outback or CRV.

    • 0 avatar

      And those tinny sounding rear doors when you close them. The Toyota loving inlaws took one for a test drive and bought Buick Encore.

      Is RAV4 about the oldest in the segment? The Equinox and CR-V newest even though the Honda is more expensive on cars dot com.

      • 0 avatar

        Same age as the Rogue. I’ve had a rental Rogue, aside from the coarse engine it’s a competent vehicle, long term value and historic CVT issues notwithstanding. Decent ride and NVH control for the class, seat comfort is better than the Rav4, and my understanding is that they are decently discounted on the lot. It even retains a viscous coupling lock button, handy in a pinch.

    • 0 avatar

      Rented the XLE AWD this past summer while visiting Houston and it wasn’t bad.

      The ergonomics was acceptable but the interior had some hard plastic and not much seat cushioning. It was roomy and it drove well provided you use the ‘S’ gear so it’s more lively and quicker to shift but didn’t records on the fuel economy.

      It’s ugly but I would just consider buying one notwithstanding the lack of seat/lumbar support.

      The newer Nissan Rogue was roomy and had good ergonomics but haven’t test drove it.

  • avatar

    This is a pretty good price considered the “Adventure” is basically a really beefy tow package.

  • avatar

    Toyota is a serial abuser of trim lines: le, xle, se, limited, platinum, how many do you need?

  • avatar

    So $35,000 for one of the best Chevy impalas ever is unreasonable, but $35,000 for this raises no objections……

  • avatar

    My question is how can they suddenly add 2000 lbs of towing capacity by lifting it a hair? Does it have a transmission cooler as well? Upgraded brakes?

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