2018 Toyota RAV4 TRAIL – A good vehicle, but you should wait for the new one…

With a new Toyota RAV4 being ushered in this year, I decided to take a quick look at the current iteration to see why it has continued to sell like flower crowns on Etsy the week before Coachella.

At first glance, I wondered why a new one was needed. The front looks a bit weird, but not bad at all.  Thedesigners have somehow managed to make the front end look modern, and functional, all while resisting the current trend to make it look like it has either thrown-up its own grill, or someone has taped a section of fencing to the front bumper.  And when you delve into the spec sheet of the “Trail” model- (heated steering wheel, 3500 lb towing capacity, bird’s eye view backup camera, Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a raised ride height for your off-road family adventures) it starts to look like it has already been brought up to 2019 standards. However, it’s a bit of a Grandpa in Sonny’s clothing.

After spending some time with it, I was impressed with the ride and body control. It’s smooth, composed and deals with Toronto bumps very well. The steering feels organic while maintaining predictability and the trim on the interior feels modern. The seats are comfortable, and the driving position is acceptable. However that’s where the modernity stops. The rest feels like it is need of that update. Desperately.

 

For starters, let’s tackle that engine. While smooth in its power delivery, it doesn’t live up to the standards of modern twin-scroll turbo motors.  The 175 HP 2.5 L four cylinder feels sluggish, and desperately

in need of some modern low down torque. It does get the AWD RAV4 up to speed but it doesn’t do it effortlessly. The transmission shifts fine, but even when it desperately drops a gear to let you pass on the highway, it truly feels like it was in vain. 

Sadly the infotainment makes the engine feel like it was designed yesterday. The graphics look like a first gen gameboy and the interface isn’t intuitive at all. However, I’m not going to harp on this, as we know that that a new RAV4 is on its way.The point is, the current RAV4 is still a solid car. With the AWD and ride height in the “Trail” edition, it will get the minor off-road job done all while hauling family and groceries, and indeed that’s what most people are looking for. However, I implore you, if you are shopping for this car, (or one like it), make sure you wait for the 2019, as the only thing the RAV4 could be, is better.

 

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