Stick Shift: 2019 RAV4 Hybrid

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is thoroughly transformed for 2019. With a full redesign, its never looked or felt better. In XSE trim especially. To start, 18” five-spoke wheels in black match dark trimmed side mirrors, low profile roof rails and integrated fog lights. Just to give us a little taste for the RAV4 makeover. It’s the interior though where you really get the full flavors of the transformation. High-end materials now fill the cabin space. Soft to the touch panels and a noticeable lack of cheap plastics have elevated the RAV4 in a big way. Sophisticated and modern seems to be the new direction more than ever. Apple CarePlay, built-in Wifi hotspot and other features make their 2019 debut, and they do it on an enlarged 8.0” touch display. 

Photo via: Toyota

While a hybrid plaque on the side of a small SUV usually is a sure indicator of dull performance, the RAV4 Hybrid challenges that idea. It boasts stronger than expected acceleration that comes on with a steady vigor. 219 hp from the 4-cylinder and additional electric motors ends up being more than enough in most situations. A continuous variable transmission (CVT) helps to keep the acceleration especially smooth.

If the bank account permits, the XSE package will deliver up plenty of extras. Leatherette upholstery, heated seats, satellite radio, Intelligent Clearance Sonar, QI charging and more. Just to name a few. You’ll also get every feature from the XLE trim level. That means extra USB ports, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts, a moonroof and proximity key entry. The standard Toyota Safety Sense package now comes with automatic lane keeping assist and traffic sign recognition as well. 

With the big redesign for 2019, the RAV4 Hybrid pulls away from the pack even further. It’s attractive shell wraps around a high-quality cabin boasting tons of cargo space and a descent back seat. What’s more, for a hybrid, it has brisk acceleration, a long list of safety and tech features, a high reliability rating and class leading fuel efficiency at 40 mpg. Mix it all together and the RAV4 Hybrid remains the great compact SUV measuring stick that most others need to line up against.

Price as tested: $38,234.00

By: Brandon Randall

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