It’s the best selling non-pickup truck in the U.S. and one of the most popular crossovers sold today. We’re talking about Toyota’s RAV4. But Toyota just enhanced this top seller with its TRD Off-Road edition.
The RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a spin-off of the Adventure trim model, which in itself, evokes visions of jaunts in a variety of outdoor pursuits. The TRD Off-Road goes further as it comes with large over-fenders, aggressive bumpers, blackened fog light surrounds, robust door handles, black alloy wheels and a faux front skid plate, all effects for a rugged look. Our test RAV came with a light grey roof that contrasted nicely with a black body.
But the Off-Road goes beyond appearance. It’s shod with wheels and tires made specifically for rugged trail driving with its 18-inch Falken Wildpeak A/T trail tires that have a tread pattern and compounds that were made to TRD (Toyota Racing Division) specs. They’re molded with a square shoulder design to protect against punctures and are Severe Snow Rated with open shoulder grooves to shed debris, mud and snow.
Added to this, the Off-Road uses twin-tube shocks to improve off-road control with new bump stops to maximize compression-direction and wheel travel to help body control over large bumps and dips says Toyota.
TRD Off-Road has 8.6 inches of ground clearance and its AWD system uses Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring with Driveline Disconnect system. The system directs up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, and sends it to the left or right wheels by using the brakes to grip and provide this transition. It enhances handling on and off pavement and when not needed, such as highway driving, the Rear Driveline Disconnect optimizes fuel economy. All systems working in sync to provide optimum off-road stability.
RAV’s Multi-Terrain Select AWD system offers Mud/Sand, Rock.Dirt and Snow modes, and displays selections on RAV’s multi-information display. Combine all these with short front/rear overhangs, and the TRD Off-Road can handle some rugged off-roads.
RAV4 TRD Off-Road’s interior also reflects the off-road theme with its red trim on the console, floor mats and seat stitching on the SofTex seats. The heated/cooled fronts are nicely supportive to keep the torso from sliding around during bouncy off-road treks. And they’re abundantly padded.
An 8-inch iPad type display sprouts from atop the dash and serves a host of functions such as front/rearview/surround/curb side camera views, audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth and Entune apps. Below it are large and easy to use HVAC controls. And tucked in at the bottom of the vertical stack is a convenient wireless phone charger.
A pad next to the 8-speed automatic transmission shifter controls the AWD system with its multiple driving modes including hill descent for steep downhill’s. The trans itself provides Eco and Sport modes, the latter livens performance by adjusting steering feel and accelerator response.
The gauge cluster has a digital speedometer with analog tach and fuel gauge. Within the speedometer is a smallish driver information display that includes a digital compass.
And a new addition is a digital rearview mirror that uses a camera to display an image that allows the driver to see a rear view despite obstructions as head restraints or luggage, plus a close-up view. With it, rear seats are not displayed and the mirror can be changed between optical or digital mirror mode by moving a lever.
Step-in into the rear seats is an easy 18.5 inches. They’re a bit on the firm side but with good leg room and generous head room as the ceiling bumps up an extra two inches - and this is with a sunroof. The seats can accommodate two adults or three youngsters.
With a low 26.5-inch liftover into the cargo area, the area with the rear seats upright offers 37.5 cubic feet of space that measures 38 inches deep, 42.5 wide and 31.5 high. Flip the 60/40s and capacity increases to 69.8 cubic feet for 72 inches of cargo loading depth.
The TRD Off-Road gets its off-road chops from a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder that generates 203-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 25 city, 32-highway mpg. Acceleration with full throttle and from a standing stop or passing mode is in linear fashion. When doing so the engine is a tad noisy, but dissipates at cruise.
Coupled to the 8-speed transmission, the Off-Road has a 3,500-pound tow rating for small-medium size boats, ATV and utility trailers.
RAV4 came with a host of safety features such as Toyota’s Safety Sense that includes pre-collision w/pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, road sign assist and automatic high beam, to name a few.
Ride wise on 18-inch Falkens is a tad on the firm side that’s attributed to the twin tube shocks plus the suspension is set to handle and smooth rough off-road terrain. So it’s a comfortable compromise.
Handling is planted be it on sharp turns or over rocks and humps. RAV4 gives a secure feeling both on and off-road.
As one of the top models in RAV’s line-up, the Off-Road carried a base price of $38,180 nicely equipped. Options include the following: TRD Off-Road Weather Package ($1,015) that adds heated/cooled front seats, rain sensing wipers with De-Icer function; Premium JBL Audio w/navigation ($1,620), 8-inch display w/voice recognition, Wi-Fi connect and much more; TRD Off-Road Technology Package ($1,950) with front/rear parking assist, automatic braking, digital rearview camera and more; two-tone paint ($500) and delivery ($1,120) took the bottom line to $41,385. That’s $1,751 more than the similar Adventure model we previously reviewed.
With that price comes impressive government safety ratings of a full five stars for overall safety; four for driver frontal crash, five for passenger; five for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
Along with that, RAV comes with a 36 month/36K new vehicle warranty; 60 month/60K powertrain, and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
Toyota has another winner with RAV4’s TRD Off-Road that caters to extreme outdoors oriented owners – even the country club set.