- 2020 Toyota RAV4 starts at $28,090 before freight and delivery charges.
- Fuel-efficient powertrains, lots of interior space, plenty of standard advanced safety tech.
- Buzzy engine, hard-to-reach infotainment system controls, not that fun to drive.
There are many compact crossovers to choose from on the market right now, and having such a broad choice could very well lead to major head-scratching for several consumers. For those who don’t want feel like doing the legwork and crunching numbers, there’s the 2020 Toyota RAV4.
Redesigned last year, the RAV4 returns for 2020 with a few changes, such as the addition of the TRD Off-Road variant—which is the one we tested. It boasts a more rugged appearance and includes a reworked suspension for heading off the beaten path. While the RAV’s regular, all-wheel drivetrain feeds the front wheels under normal driving conditions and reassigns engine torque to the rear wheels when slippage is detected, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Trail and TRD Off-Road’s setup adds torque vectoring to vary the amount of energy sent to each rear wheel. It also benefits from some electronic aids such as hill descent control as well as Mud & Sand and Rock drive modes.
A naturally aspirated, 2.5-litre four-cylinder is standard fare in the 2020 Toyota RAV4, which develops 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. FWD is standard on LE and XLE trims, AWD is optional—but standard on Trail, Limited and TRD Off-Road editions. When equipped with all-wheel drive, fuel economy is rated at 9.2 L/100 km city, 7.1 highway and 8.2 combined. The TRD variant consumes about 0.4 L/100 km more.
A hybrid powertrain is also on offer, which produces a total output of 219 horsepower and nets a combined city/highway figure of 6.0 L/100 km. In the compact crossover segment, only the new 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid can do better, by a tenth of a litre, mind you. By the way, Toyota will introduce the RAV4 Prime for the 2021 model year, which features a 302-horsepower plug-in hybrid system and an estimated driving range of 62 kilometres.
Starting at $28,090 before freight and delivery charges, the 2020 Toyota RAV4’s standard feature list includes heated front seats, cloth upholstery, power and heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, a an infotainment with seven-inch touchscreen as well as Apple CarPlay and—new for 2020—Android Auto integration. A slew of safety features are also standard, such as pre-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, automatic high beams and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The $31,690 XLE adds four USB ports (for a total of five), an intelligent key with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers and a power sunroof and a power tailgate, among other things. The AWD option on these two trims costs an extra $2,100.
The $38,890 2020 Toyota RAV4 Trail gets a 3,500-pound (1,588-kg) towing capacity, SofTex simulated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, an eight-inch touchscreen with Connected Services by Toyota, wireless charging, a 120-volt power outlet, 19-inch wheels and a more rugged exterior appearance. The $41,710 TRD Off-Road edition is basically a package that adds onto the RAV4 Trail, but with an 18-inch wheel downgrade and a JBL sound system upgrade, among other tidbits. The $41,250 RAV4 Limited benefits from a surround-view camera system, heated rear seats, driver’s seat position memory, park sonar and more.
The 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid line ranges in price from $32,350 to $42,790, and the feature content is similar to the non-hybrid models. However, there is a sporty XSE Hybrid variant instead of a Trail/TRD Off-Road—which boasts black alloy wheels, grille and roof.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Toyota RAV4
- The RAV4 has a good reputation for being reliable. Its powertrains are generally sturdy and because they aren’t turbocharged, we can expect lower maintenance bills during long-term ownership. Those won’t keep their RAV4s until death do them part will be pleased with its strong resale value.
- The 2.5-litre engine may not be the most fuel-efficient in its category, but it’s one of the thriftiest. During our winter test aboard the TRD Off-Road variant, we managed 9.8 L/100 km, which isn’t and considering the cold temperatures and slippery roads we drove on. The RAV4 Hybrid’s fuel economy is exceptionally good, too.
- The 2020 Toyota RAV4 offers a spacious cabin, with room for everyone, including the middle rear occupant that isn’t stuck with a big floor hump. Cargo space is among the best in its segment, with a volume of 1,048 to 1,065 litres with the rear seatbacks up, and 1,977 litres when they’re folded down. Only the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester and the Volkswagen Tiguan can do better.
- The driver benefits from a good seating position, with a generally well laid-out instrument panel.
- Advanced safety features abound in the 2020 Toyota RAV4, even in the base LE trim levels. That’s peace of mind for crossover shoppers who plan to haul the kids around, and who are—let’s be honest—a little distracted at times.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Toyota RAV4
- It’s not a chore to drive, but it isn’t necessarily fun, either. The Mazda CX-5 is the most rewarding to drive in its segment.
- The 2020 Toyota RAV4’s engine is noisy at wide-open throttle, and it’s not a refined noise at that. Under normal driving, it’s more tolerable.
- Due to its location on top of the centre stack, the 2020 Toyota RAV4’s infotainment system screen and its surrounding buttons are a far reach. They require the driver to lean over to operate the system, and which interferes with our concentration on the road ahead.
- The RAV4 Trail and TRD Off-Road look cool, but don’t expect to follow a Toyota 4Runner or a Toyota FJ Cruiser over the hills and through the woods. Actually, the Trail badge fits the crossover well, but we wouldn’t go hardcore off-roading in the RAV4 TRD.
The 2020 Toyota RAV4 has a lot going for it, and has no true deal-breaking shortcomings. It’s one of those few vehicles on the market that consumers can purchase without shopping around and not be disappointed. It’s a sure bet.
That said, those who do shop around and prefer some driving excitement in their family hauler could certainly look elsewhere, and it’s also not the quietest compact crossover out there. Aside from the standard advanced safety features, one must spend more dough to get comfort and convenience features that the Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage offer at a lower price point.