Skip to main content

Toyota aims to turn its grocery-getter RAV4 into a genuine off-roader

The Toyota RAV4 isn’t a bona fide off-roader like its Land Cruiser and 4Runner stablemates, but Toyota insists the current version can handle mud and dirt better than most vehicles of its type. The automaker is doubling down on that claim with the new 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model, which debuts at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.

Because it shares a platform with cars like the Corolla and Prius, the RAV4 isn’t an obvious candidate for an off-roader. But Toyota is making the best of what it has. The TRD Off-Road is based on the RAV4 Adventure trim level, which boasts a respectable 8.6 inches of ground clearance and a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system that shunts power back and forth between the rear wheels. The system also features multiple driving modes for different types of terrain.

Toyota then changed the suspension setup, using lessons learned from its RAV4 rally car. Yes, Toyota really did build and race a RAV4 rally car at one time. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, after all. And it builds the Supra, too.

The TRD Off-Road also features Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail tires, which are designed to handle more rugged terrain than the standard RAV4 tires. The rubber is wrapped around model-specific 18-inch wheels. Fender flares, a new front bumper, and a new grille help give the TRD Off-Road a more aggressive look. The interior gets red trim and accent stitching, SofTex upholstery, and lots of TRD badging.

The standard RAV4 is available with both hybrid and conventional gasoline powertrains, but Toyota will only offer the latter on the TRD Off-Road. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and is connected to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but expect the new model to command a premium over the RAV4 Adventure, which starts at $32,900. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show is proving to be a busy one for Toyota, with the 2020 Tacoma pickup truck and Sequoia TRD Pro, a version of Toyota’s seven-seat family SUV with enhanced off-road capability, also debuting in the Windy City.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Tesla Autopilot vs. full self-driving: What’s the difference?
A Telsa Model 3 drives along a road.

It's no longer the only company with self-driving cars on the road, but Tesla was one of the first brands to make this innovative functionality available to the public. Thanks to an array of cameras, sensors, and AI technology, most Telsa vehicles are capable of driving themselves to some degree. However, this doesn't mean drivers can take a nap behind the wheel. In fact, none can be used without driver supervision -- and there are some serious limitations to the tech.

Tesla currently offers features known as Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. But what's the difference between the two? And is one more reliable than the other? Here's everything you need to know about Tesla's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology.
Tesla Autopilot

Read more
2025 Chevrolet Bolt: rumored price, release date, design, and more
A Chevy Volt parked on the beach.

It looks like the Bolt isn't dead after all. Only a few months after Chevrolet announced that it would be killing the Bolt EV, the company reversed course and said that the Bolt will live on. And, finally, we have a few more details about what will likely remain one of the cheapest EVs in its next iteration.

That's not to say it'll ever be the same again, though. On the contrary, Chevrolet says that it'll be releasing a new-and-improved second generation of the Bolt that'll be built on General Motors' Ultium platform. In other words, it might end up being a whole lot better than the already great-value current-generation Bolt -- which will be super helpful in helping make for higher-quality cheap EVs.

Read more
The 4 best pressure washers for cars in 2024
A man washes his truck with the Westinghouse ePX3100v Electric Pressure Washer.

Whether you do your driving with an off-road vehicle, one of the most impressive EVs on the road, or anything in between, the driving experience can be made all the better by knowing you look good doing so. Keeping your vehicle clean isn’t always the easiest chore, nor is it something everyone likes to do. You can make shorter work of it with a pressure washer, and with warmer weather around the corner we decided to round up the best pressure washers for cars in 2024.
The best pressure washers for cars in 2024

Buy the

Read more