2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road review: A good, rugged all-rounder

    The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a rugged-looking small SUV that sits on the prime of its mannequin vary. Not solely does it provide modestly enhanced trail-bashing functionality, it is each bit as refined and versatile as extra mainstream variations of the likable RAV4. With good-looking traces and loads of healthful goodness, there are few causes to not contemplate parking considered one of these machines in your storage.

    LikeStandard driver-assistance techSmooth, good-sounding engineCrisp steering feelNice inside

    Don’t LikeLow-resolution 360-degree cameraSome controls are laborious to useSteep as-tested worth

    TRD Off-Road ‘upgrades’ Separating the TRD Off-Road mannequin from extra workaday RAV4s is a variety of enhancements. Moderately broader fender flares assist give it a bulkier, extra planted look. Front and rear, the bumpers are new, and there is a completely different grille up entrance. The total look is cohesive and attention-grabbing, even when it is fairly much like what you get with the extra affordably priced Adventure-trim model of this Toyota. As for precise, substantive upgrades, they’re pretty minor. These RAV4s roll on particular 18-inch wheels which can be handled to a matte-black end. Providing enhanced traction in a wide range of circumstances are a set of 255/60R18 Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. Their sidewalls could scream Rubicon Trail, with their squared-off shoulders and blocky lettering, although the precise tread sample is way much less aggressive and higher fitted to on a regular basis street use.

    Behind these upgraded wheels is a particular suspension setup. The RAV4 Off-Road mannequin options twin-tube shock absorbers, purple springs for a jaunty look do you have to bury your face in a wheel effectively and new bump stops that supposedly present higher physique management when tackling rugged terrain. With Michigan nonetheless largely locked down, I have never been capable of put this declare to the check by doing a little correct off-roading, however this automobile does preserve a fair keel when confronted with potholes or whereas tackling pockmarked dust roads. Working together with these all-terrain tires is an ordinary torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. With a few user-selectable settings for various circumstances, this association can ship as much as 50% of the engine’s torque to the rear axle and it may possibly apportion that twist from the left aspect to the correct as wanted for improved dealing with. The rear part of this driveline may also disconnect when not wanted to assist enhance gas economic system.

    The TRD Off-Road comes with barely beefier tires, however no added floor clearance.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Curiously, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road has no improve in floor clearance. It’s bought the identical 8.6 inches you get in different fashions. If it is designed for path crawling as Toyota signifies, should not it have extra? Also, there are mainly no skid plates defending this automobile’s delicate underbody, so if you happen to do determine to take considered one of these from the mall to Moab, watch out. I do not wish to see you rip out a brake line or puncture the gas tank whereas traversing tough terrain, and also you definitely do not wish to pay for related repairs.

    A wonderfully aggressive powertrain While a hybrid drivetrain is on the market in different RAV4 fashions, the TRD Off-Road solely comes with one engine: the acquainted 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder, which is utilized in different merchandise just like the Toyota Camry sedan. This engine’s company identify is a bit schmaltzy, however the efficiency it delivers is completely respectable. Put that quartet of pots on the boil and also you’re rewarded with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine undoubtedly is not afraid to let its voice be heard when working laborious, however I truly assume it sounds fairly good, emitting an assertive rumble, particularly at greater revs. A responsive eight-speed computerized transmission is your solely selection, which I assume means it is probably not a selection in any respect. Fortunately, this gearbox is attentive, each easy and fast to shuffle by its gears, profiting from the engine’s out there grunt. It additionally helps ship respectable gas economic system. Driven usually, you possibly can count on 25 miles per gallon metropolis and 32 mpg freeway. Combined, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is rated at a not-unreasonable 27 mpg. These figures examine favorably with different small crossovers. According to the EPA, a Honda CR-V, one with all-wheel drive and the out there turbocharged engine, ought to return 29 mpg in blended motoring.
    The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a rugged-looking mall-crawler
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    On regular streets, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is nice sufficient to pilot. Its steering is unexpectedly crisp, each for a crossover and a Toyota, with a lightweight and exact really feel. Aside from a little bit of tire noise, its inside stays principally quiet, even at freeway speeds. Stand on the accelerator pedal and this RAV4 strikes with cheap authority. No, it will not shove you again into your seat like getting kicked within the chest, however the efficiency it gives is completely tremendous and greater than aggressive with rival crossovers. Comfort and comfort For probably the most half, I actually like what Toyota has carried out with the RAV4’s inside. The entrance seats are snug and there are many comfortable plastics and storage cubbies, plus I really like the purple stitching you get in TRD Off-Road fashions. In lieu of animal hides, my tester’s seats are coated in SofTex, a faux-leather materials that not solely appears to be like good, it feels good, neither low-cost nor plasticky. To defend the carpet from winter slop or muddy boot prints, TRD Off-Road fashions additionally function rubber flooring mats. The first and second rows are protected by these all-weather floorcoverings, as is the cargo space. Rear-seat passengers have loads of area. At 6 toes tall, I’ve no complaints about this automobile’s lodging as a result of there’s loads of room for each my knees and noggin. As for cargo area, there is not any scarcity, both. With the aft backrest up, you get a claimed 37.5 cubic toes of junk-hauling capability. Fold that ’em flat and also you get 69.8 cubes. As an added bonus, the RAV4’s flooring is kind of low, which makes it simpler to load heavy or cumbersome cargo. The inside supplies are good, however the infotainment tech is simply OK.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Up entrance, this automobile’s climate-control and audio knobs function a grippy rubber texture and have a swirl sample lower into them, which type of brings to thoughts the blades of a turbine engine. They’re simple to make use of and really feel chunky. Unfortunately, they’re flanked by a collection of tiny, rectangular buttons. Not solely do these switches look misplaced, they are often laborious to hit, particularly whereas driving. Adjusting the fan pace or mentioning a menu may be like making an attempt to string a needle whereas whitewater rafting. Keeping everybody completely satisfied and their units absolutely juiced, 5 USB ports are sprinkled all through this Toyota’s inside. These are commonplace fare on each RAV4, ditto for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. My tester additionally options an up-level infotainment system with navigation and an 8-inch touchscreen. Passengers are additionally handled to an 11-speaker JBL sound system. That infotainment system is ok, no extra, no much less. Toyota’s multimedia choices are usually underwhelming, with unattractive graphics and obtuse consumer interfaces. This one is fairly responsive and it definitely will get the job carried out, nevertheless it’s removed from my favourite. Other elective goodies embrace a helpful wi-fi charging plate, parking sensors and a 360-degree digital camera, although this final merchandise is hardly one thing to crow about. The decision of the picture it produces is appallingly low and the display appears to flicker when it is on, and that is a complete lot of not good. On the plus aspect, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is commonplace on all 2020 RAV4 fashions. This features a slew of driver aids like lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise management and computerized excessive beams. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is included throughout the vary as effectively, save for probably the most fundamental RAV4 LE mannequin. All this equipment is easy to make use of and extremely efficient. Neat because the TRD Off-Road mannequin is, inexpensive RAV4s are undoubtedly the higher purchase.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Is it well worth the worth? Whether in more-everyday trim or range-topping TRD Off-Road type, I can not say the RAV4 is my favourite small crossover. It competes in a section rife with wonderful options. The Honda CR-V is excellent, Subaru’s Forester is extraordinarily effectively carried out and the Mazda CX-5 virtually looks like a luxurious automotive. Still, though it could not excel in any explicit space, this Toyota is nice at nearly all the things. It’s effectively constructed, it is spacious inside and it gives loads of tech, plus it is refined, economical and attractively priced. Including vacation spot charges, an entry-level RAV4 LE begins at nearly $27,000, which is greater than honest nowadays; nevertheless, my generously optioned TRD Off-Road check mannequin rings up for round $41,500, a worth that is a lot tougher to swallow. Yes, that outlay does get you some extra functionality, however fact be instructed, it is most likely not price what Toyota is charging. Instead, that is my suggestion: Sidestep the TRD Off-Road mannequin and seize a extra middle-of-the-road RAV4 variant, just like the just-as-rugged-looking Adventure. You’ll save a giant chunk of change and the inherent all-around goodness ought to make you fairly completely satisfied.

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