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Auto review: 2019 Toyota RAV4 combines throwback looks with advanced tech

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

The battle for SUV bragging rights has begun, and like many boasts, it's about posturing at least as much as reality.

Jeep's TV campaign proclaiming, "SUV. These letters used to mean something. Letters earned in backwoods, high hills and step dunes ..." is one sign. Toyota's new RAV4 compact SUV is another.

As the number of SUVs on the market mushrooms, automakers will spend billions to make theirs seem different and special. Some will go for sleek looks, luxury, power and handling. Others by offering room for the kids and pets.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV does it with styling and some features intended to evoke a tough and capable image similar to what Jeep's images of military air drops and rock climbers recall.

The RAV4 doesn't have a history of heroic exploits off-road, but that doesn't mean it can't look like it does.

Behind the Wheel

 

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD

All-wheel-drive, five-passenger compact SUV

Price as tested: $38,989 (excluding destination charge)

Rating: Four out of four stars

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