Toyota RAV4 Review, the Little Samurai

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Toyota RAV4 was first introduced back in 1994 as the first eve compact crossover SUV. Toyota RAV4 was designed to represent a combination of two different segments’ characteristics. It was supposed to be small, light, low consumption as a compact sedan yet be capable enough to handle rather rough terrains, have enough space and a higher visibility angle as other SUVs do.

Toyota RAV4 Rear

Toyota RAV4 came in five different generations since then, neither are they all AWD nor are small and compact as they were supposed to be. Toyota RAV4 started to grow bigger and better as it gained more of the market share in North America until it has turned in to the best-selling Toyota model of 2020 shortly followed by Camry.

Toyota RAV4 Performance

The fourth generation Toyota RAV4 (XA40/2013-2018) presented the best looking version of the vehicle ever until it received a face lift in 2015 and got even better. Fulfilling the market needs, Toyota RAV4 started to grow big since the third generation and never offered the 3 door version since, therefore the 5 door version was the only version ever offered afterwards.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Interior

Engine department is filled with more economy choices than anything performance based. There are three gasoline and three diesel engines along with only one gasoline-electric hybrid setup. No V6 was offered for the fourth generation Toyota RAV4, only Inline-4 were available. Gasoline engines were two 2.0L and one 2.5L rated respectively at 149 and 176 horsepower, 144 and 172 lb.ft.

The 2.0L and 2.5L diesels were rated at 122 and 148 horsepower with 229 and 251 lb.ft. The gasoline-electric hybrid Toyota RAV4 AWD was the fastest accelerator version of the fourth generation. This set up was rated as combined output of 194 horsepower and 206 lb.ft that could make this very model to reach 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. Not only it was the fastest but also it had better mileage and better emissions compared to the sole 2.5L gasoline engine.

The transmission choices were one 6 speed manual, one 6 speed automatic and one electronic CVT which was only offered on the hybrid versions of Toyota RAV4.

The Latest, the Best

The fifth generation Toyota RAV4 known as codename XA50, came out in 2018. This generation is totally a new vehicle based on a new platform and more aggressive and futuristic design.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Front

The engine department got smaller with only three engine choices one 2.0L and two 2.5L rated at 169 and 203 horsepower with 150 and 184 lb.ft respectively. The hybrid version of 2018 was rated combined at 219 horsepower with 206 lb.ft while the Toyota RAV4 plug in hybrid/prime version offered in 2020 has combined power rating as 302 horsepower which in terms of acceleration means a 0 to 60 mph only in 5.8 seconds making this very version the second fastest vehicle in Toyota’s lineup right behind Toyota Supra.

Transmission department was also rattled a bit to accommodate one new 8 speed automatic. Toyota RAV4 puts performance right into a crossover making things more interesting for weekends.

TRD Version

Any Toyota gets better with TRD touches. TRD prefix stands for “Toyota Racing Development” is added to the name of those models that have gone through some extra especial Japanese engineering. The Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road model is RAV4’s most adventurous and performance oriented model. This special model uses the 203 horsepower 2.5L four cylinder mated with the 8 speed automatic driving all 4 wheels through Dynamic Torque Vectoring controlled AWD system. Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road has wider tracks and higher clearance along with LED illuminations and different coloring scheme.


Toyota models are known for not having good relationships with safety and crash tests. Back in 2019 the RAV4 handling in the famous moose test was described as “dangerous behavior” which led to an updated software release by Toyota to make RAV4 pass the test.

2020 Toyota RAV4

Fourth generation Toyota RAV4 also had some difficulties passing USA’s IIHS safety tests with some poor marks in small overlap frontal offset for driver and passenger.

Toyota RAV4 Price

2020 Toyota RAV4 models’ price tags starts at 25,950 USD for the LE Trim and goes all the way up to 36,880 USD for the Limited Hybrid trim.

What do you think?