Toyota Gen5 RAV4 increases performance, decreases fuel consumption; hybrid models to come in March 2019
Toyota has introduced the fifth-generation 2019 Toyota RAV4. Gasoline models arrive next month, and RAV4 Hybrid models follow in late March 2019.
2019 RAV4 Hybrid
Much has changed in the 22 years since the US market introduction of the first RAV4 compact crossover SUV. Compact crossover SUVs have grown in actual size, and segment growth shows no signs of abating. RAV4 is the currently the best-selling vehicle in its class, doubling volume over the last five years to sales of nearly 408,000 in the US in 2017. That makes RAV4 Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in the US, and the best-selling non-pickup truck in the country.
The new RAV4 powertrains increase performance while reducing fuel consumption. Second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0) comes standard.
The 2019 RAV4 105.9-inch wheelbase grows 1.20 inches over the previous model, adding to rear seat legroom. Overall length comes in at 180.9 inches (181.5 inches on Adventure grade). Height is reduced to 67.0 inches (with antenna) on LE and XLE grades and 67.2 inches on XLE Premium and Limited grades. Adventure grade come up just a bit higher with an overall height of 68.6 inches. Width is 73.4 inches on Adventure grade while the rest of the grades measure at 73.0 inches. Front tread width is 63.0 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 62.6 inches on 19-inch wheels. Rear width is 63.7 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 63.3 inches on 19-inch wheels.
Beneath the 2019 RAV4’s bolder sheet metal, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform provides the foundation for capability, comfort and safety. The longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks provide a stable, confident driving platform. Shorter front and rear overhangs aid the RAV4’s trail driving capability.
The 2019 RAV4’s unibody structure is 57% more rigid than the previous model, allowing tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility while also providing a smoother, quieter ride.
The TNGA-K platform allows for lower powertrain placement and lower center of gravity than in the previous RAV4. Using high-strength steel has reduced weight in the upper body, also helping to shift the center of gravity lower. A new saddle-style fuel tank distributes weight of the fuel evenly side-to-side. The previous model had the entire tank on one side of the vehicle.
The new parallel-type electric power steering system is rack-mounted rather than column-mounted as is the case in the previous model. The new design helps enhance turning response and a natural feel that can help reduce fatigue on long drives. Higher rigidity in the steering mounting and column further enhances steering responsiveness and feel.
Power and efficiency both make a leap in the 2019 RAV4 with the new Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission in the gasoline models. In the RAV4 Hybrid, the engine is teamed with Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT) making it the efficiency leader of the lineup with preliminary manufacturer estimated mpg of 41/37/39 (City/Hwy/Comb).
The combination of a very high compression ratio (13:1 on gas models, 14:1 on HV models, which uses Atkinson cycle), D4-S fuel injection (combining direct and secondary port injectors), high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing and ultra-low internal friction yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40% (41% for the RAV4 HV).
The gasoline models output 203 horsepower, while the hybrid delivers 219 combined net total system horsepower.
The new Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides a much wider ratio spread than the 6-speed automatic it replaces (7.8 vs. 5.425), resulting in quicker and smoother acceleration, getting drivers from 0 – 60 mph in 8.2 seconds (Limited grade). The new transmission provides torque converter lock-up in gears 2 through 8 to help eliminate power loss and the execution of ultra-smooth shifts. The driver can choose from Eco, Normal and Sport modes to tailor vehicle responses.
Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive. In addition to standard front-wheel drive, RAV4 gas models offer two types of available all-wheel drive. The new, segment- and Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect comes standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models. It can direct up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute it to the left or right rear wheel to enhance handling on or off pavement.
When AWD isn’t required—on long stretches of highway, for example—RAV4 can help achieve better fuel economy thanks to the Rear Driveline Disconnect system. The system uses the world’s first ratchet-type dog clutches to stop the rear-axle driveshaft’s rotation, thus helping to significantly reduce energy loss and improve fuel efficiency.
RAV4 Hybrid: Enhanced All-Wheel Drive Capability. As with the AWD system in the previous RAV4 HV models, the new AWD version employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. The 2019 system comes standard on all RAV4 HV grades and increases total torque to the rear wheels by 30% compared to the previous system.
During on-road driving, distributing more driving force to the rear wheels helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts for optimal acceleration performance and stability. The system also helps reduce understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability. Off-road, the increased rear-wheel torque helps provide powerful hill-climbing performance, even on rough terrain.
A driver-selectable Trail Mode helps make it possible to get unstuck by braking a spinning wheel and sending torque to the wheel with traction.
New to the 2019 RAV4 HV models, Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) essentially reads the road and learns driver patterns to help optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging operations based on actual driving conditions. The system accumulates data as the vehicle is driven and “remembers” features such as hills and stoplights, for example, and adjusts the hybrid powertrain operation to maximize efficiency. Operation is transparent to the driver.