Spied: 2019 Toyota RAV4, a Reborn Breadwinner

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
spied 2019 toyota rav4 a reborn breadwinner

Profitable as home water delivery in the desert, Toyota’s RAV4 compact crossover performs an increasingly important function in the division’s lineup. As passenger car sales fall, vehicles like the RAV4 compete in the most lucrative and hotly contested segment in the auto industry. Some 407,594 Americans took home a RAV4 last year. Five years earlier, that sales figure stood at 171,877.

Given the model’s impact on the company’s fortunes, messing with a good thing could be risky, just as standing still could lead to a drop-off in consumer interest. For the next-generation RAV4, due as a 2019 model, Toyota’s not playing it safe. The model pictured here goes in a styling direction we’ve seen before, though not on a production model.

Take a look at the wheel arches and the outline of the grille. The angle of the rear glass. Ring a bell? It should, as these traits show up in the FT-AC concept SUV put forth by Toyota at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

That concept was clearly a peek at the brand’s future design language, a dialect the next RAV4 speaks fluently, albeit without the body cladding. Still, those flush, squared-off arches look primed for a bit of brawny, dark gray plastic, should the trim call for it. Up front, a proper grille returns, replacing the plastic layer cake look of the current generation.

For 2019, the RAV4 ditches its old platform and moves onto Toyota’s modular TNGA architecture, already in use by the midsize Camry. Expect to find the 2018 Camry’s newly refined 2.5-liter four-cylinder under the hood, as well as a hybrid variant. Interior room is a mystery, though few vehicles these days grow smaller in successive iterations.

It’s also possible Toyota will endow the next RAV4 with a bit more off-road capability, at least in certain trims. Having an improved all-wheel drive system on board would not only compliment the newly rugged looks, it would help the RAV4 craft an image that doesn’t invoke soccer games or shopping. (Apologies for the automotive stereotype.)

Expect to see the 2019 RAV4 in the flesh late this year.

[Images: Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]

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  • Mike-NB Mike-NB on Jan 25, 2018

    I love the RAV4 and I certainly welcome a new one. I love these along with a few other Toyota products, namely the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and the Lexus RX350. These are, for car guys, very important products. The reason they are so important for those of us who like cars and like to drive them is that they take some of the guess-work out of defensive driving. Whenever I see any of these vehicles in my proximity I act like I'm a swimmer at the beach and a White shark is in the area. Is the guy driving the Golf going to do something stupid? Maybe, but not likely. Will the person in the Yaris, Corolla, Camry, RAV4 or Lexus RX350 do something utterly dumb? Wrong question! It isn't 'if' they will do something dumb but 'when' they will do something dumb. This is surprisingly effective and I think it works because these are vehicles that appeal to people who have zero interest in driving. If you have no interest in it, why take the time to do it well? And in case you're wondering, there isn't a hint of humour or sarcasm in this post. I honestly treat these vehicles differently in traffic and on countless occasions that has served me well.

    • See 2 previous
    • Ttacgreg Ttacgreg on Jan 26, 2018

      Have you noted FJ Cruiser drivers? They are likely to be aggressive, in my experience.

  • N8iveVA N8iveVA on Jan 26, 2018

    Anything would be an improvement. Test drove a RAV4 Hybrid. I don't think I've ever hated driving a vehicle more.

  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.
  • El scotto Tesla has one team making EV's because that is all Tesla does. Farley -rolls eyes- decided to split Ford into two huge warring factions: ICE vs EV. Hey Jimbo, it says "FORD" on the buildings.Lord only knows what GM did internally because it's GM. I'm betting it's like Ford pitting ICE vs EVs. With GM being GM every existing division will be divided.Stellantis will keep building Challengers and Rams. Someday they may figure out that Jeep is the fugu fish of the automotive sushi world and unload to some Chinese. EV's? no, not really.If this site was The Truth About HVAC (TTAH) some on here would tell us that central heating and air causes unknown illnesses, will be bad, and cause a degradation of our nation's moral fiber. By golly they shoveled coal and carry ash buckets and that shouldn't change.