Our first drive also made it clear that the bestselling RAV4 will be an even more compelling choice when compared to the ever-growing number of other compact crossover SUVs. Subjectively, it definitely makes a better case for itself. What about objectively, though? For that answer, let’s take a look at its dimensions and engine specifications compared to all of its rivals.
Exterior dimensions and cargo capacity
As you can see from the highlighted areas, the new RAV4 is neither the biggest nor the smallest in any of the above areas. It’s still one of the biggest, though, and it’s particularly worth noting its ground clearance, which is now one of the highest in the segment. It previously had the least amount of ground clearance. Even the 2018 RAV4’s Adventure trim had a mere 6.5 inches of clearance.
One spec that’s noticeably absent is maximum cargo capacity, which is because Toyota quite noticeably omitted it from an otherwise comprehensive set of dimensions. Space behind the second row is down a bit from last year’s 38.4 cubic feet, but we’re guessing a lower roof and a greater D pillar slant will result in a more significant reduction in maximum capacity. This would, presumably, result in the RAV4 no longer being one of the most cargo-friendly SUVs on paper. That would’ve been a talking point for many journalists, so we’re guessing Toyota PR thought it better to just omit that number. Or, to be fair, perhaps it just didn’t get that spec done in time. Either way, the Forester and CR-V still reign supreme — both for cargo and back seat legroom.
One area we didn’t include is headroom. There’s less in the RAV4 for 2019, and there’s less of an open, airy feel in its cabin compared to the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester in particular. This is especially true when equipped with the RAV4’s optional sunroof.
Engine specs and fuel economy
The Toyota RAV4 now has the most base horsepower in the compact SUV segment. It’s actually not even close, as its 203 hp betters the next best, the Mazda CX-5, by 16 horses. Torque is a different matter, though. With 184 pound-feet, the new RAV4 actually has a healthy amount, more than the turbocharged Honda CR-V even, but various other turbocharged competitors offer considerably more. Impressively, however, the RAV4 manages to tie the current class leaders with 29 mpg combined (although that turbo engine in all but the base CR-V trim manages 30 mpg combined).
Now, let’s talk upgrade engines. The RAV4 is one of only two compact SUVs to presently offer a hybrid, but unlike the Nissan Rogue’s, the RAV4’s actually represents a mild performance upgrade. It’s even 0.3 second quicker from zero to 60 mph than the base engine. Of course, 7.8 seconds pales in comparison to what the big turbocharged four-cylinders up there are capable of. And in case it’s not obvious, all the eco-conscious powertrain choices are highlighted in green.
How they compare in pictures
2019 Toyota RAV4
Particularly in the areas of performance and fuel economy, the RAV4 is objectively better for 2019 and therefore more competitive. Cargo space is likely worse, but it’s also not horribly hampered, and we’re guessing the corresponding increase in style will represent a happy tradeoff to many.