Car Review: Updated RAV4 makes its case for top of the class in the compact crossover market

Compact crossovers are big sellers, and the RAV4 is one of the most popular rides on the market.

Last year, the not-so-small crossover saw a big makeover. Now, the RAV4 has more compelling style with a lot of curves and creased body work that will get you noticed.

The interior is also updated with more technology and is finally Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even Amazon Alexa-compatible, a big step for Toyota for 2020 models. There is also plenty of space for most buyers looking for a compact crossover.

I drove the previous generation RAV4 and was underwhelmed. The normal RAV4 was slow, and the Hybrid seemed even more pokey.

However, this new version breaks 200hp and the Hybrid has a welcome 219hp. While it’s no speed demon, it feels much livelier than past RAV4 models.

The XSE trim level handles well with very little body roll for a taller crossover.

Cost: $33,700; as tested $38,175

MPG: 41mpg city and 38mpg highway; I managed 39.6mpg in 337 miles of mixed driving.

Safety: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0; pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; full speed range dynamic radar cruise control; intelligent clearance sonar; rear cross traffic braking; road sign assist and lane departure alert with steering assist

Options: $640 XSE technology package; $200 panoramic sunroof; $375 XSE weather package; $1,620 Premium audio with NAV, Entune Apps & JBL; $395 special color; $50 cargo net and $200 panoramic sunroof with front power moon roof

Things to know: The RAV4 has a new look and feel and still is a good value for your dollar. The RAV4 Hybrid combines excellent fuel economy with satisfying performance.


• Large space in this compact crossover
• Fuel economy is very good for an AWD five-seat crossover
• Updated technology and safety features


• Hybrid model’s brakes feel disconnected from the rest of the car when compared to non-hybrid model
• Taller front seat riders might find that it lacks head room
• Styling is more daring and may not appeal to everyone

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