I lastly did it: I am a dad. The humorous factor is, I've all the time owned dad automobiles, even earlier than I wanted to. Proudly owning something with lower than 4 doorways by no means made a lot sense, which is how I ended up with a steady of souped-up grandpa automobiles from the Sixties and Seventies. Now that I am a father, the '74 Oldsmobile sedan I introduced my spouse and son residence from the hospital in appears a bit dated. And that, my pals, is how I discovered myself on this quest to search out the right new dad automobile. The most recent contender: the 2019 Toyota RAV4.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4: By the Numbers
Base Worth/Worth as Examined: $26,595/$39,084
Powertrain: 2.5-liter inline-four, 203 horsepower, 184 lb.-ft. torque; eight-speed automated transmission; all-wheel-drive
Gasoline Financial system: 25 mpg metropolis, 33 mpg freeway
Towing capability: 1,500 kilos
Random dad reality: Redesigned for the 2019 mannequin 12 months, the North American market-focused fifth-generation RAV4 is predicated on the front-wheel-drive Toyota New International Structure platform (TNGA-Ok) that underpins the Toyota Camry, the Toyota Avalon, and the Lexus ES 350.
The summer time earlier than I turned 24, I labored as an oceanfront lifeguard—"ripping hapless beachgoers from the jaws of dying," as our tv camera-loving captain preferred to place it. That winter was considerably much less glamorous. The Virginia Seashore oceanfront shrivels up and dies when the climate turns chilly, and so does all of the seasonal work. Happily, a marine development firm was on the town replenishing seaside sand and wanted an fool out-of-work seaside lifeguard to swim round within the Atlantic Ocean with a survey pole in the midst of the winter. They provided $12 an hour and a free wetsuit, so I used to be their man.
That is how I discovered myself driving a '98 Toyota RAV4 to the development web site one morning. My skyjacked 1980 GMC four×four pickup was out of service resulting from some undertaking, so I took my girlfriend's automobile to work. It was light-weight, peppy, and had a handbook transmission and all-wheel-drive; apart from the truth that it seemed like an anime sketch, it was an awesome automobile. However not everybody thought so. "Hey Beeeeyn," a hard-hatted coworker mentioned because the little automobile's tires crunched throughout the gravel parking zone, "The place'd ya git that li'l
ol' bitch cawr?!"
He had some extent. Early RAV4s have been significantly lovable. Happily for individuals who care about such issues, the brand new RAV4 comes off as way more grownup. It isn't pickup truck-masculine (no matter that even means), however it's good-looking in a manner that exudes dignity. And this easy-on-the-eyes RAV4—which incorporates enhancements which might be greater than skin-deep—comes at a time when crossovers are all anybody needs to purchase. In different phrases, the RAV4 has arrived.
2019 Toyota RAV4: Inside & Cargo
There's little doubt that Toyota did its homework on the RAV4's inside. It appears to be like contemporary and fashionable, and even a bit upscale. The sprint controls are easy and well-marked, and so they aren't overabundant. A crisp aluminum spear ties collectively the vertical parts of the infotainment stack and instrument cluster.
However for you mother and father on the market, your child does not care about all that crap. As I discover again and again, my son is most content material within the again seat when there's sufficient area between rows for his child-safety-astronaut-pod to take a seat on the right angle. This wasn't a problem within the right-sized RAV4, although it could be attention-grabbing to see how tight it could be with two automobile seats be there. There would nonetheless doubtless be sufficient room for an grownup passenger, although.
The seats are snug and there is loads of leg, hip, and shoulder room alike. With its top, the RAV4 additionally has loads of headroom, too. My child loved gazing out the panoramic roof glass—a novelty since most states determined to face very younger passengers rearward, with a view solely of opaque seat fabric/leather-based for the primary a number of years of their lives.
The rear cargo space is beneficiant; at 37.5 cubic toes, there's loads of area for a cumbersome medium-sized stroller, and a load of groceries or a weekend's price of bags plus the child junk my mother and father needed to get out of their storage after a few a long time. With the rear seats folded virtually flat (they do not go utterly horizontal, sadly), cargo area is sort of 70 cubic toes. One among my browsing buddies simply purchased a RAV4, and he loves that he can stash his boards and different gear contained in the locked car.
2019 Toyota RAV4: Driving & Gasoline Financial system
Anybody who's serious about a crossover just like the RAV4, Honda CR-V, or Nissan Rogue—that are all principally barely totally different variations of each other—should not count on sports activities automobile efficiency. The RAV4 does not attain freeway pace unexpectedly, but it surely will get there in an affordable period of time (Automobile and Driver says eight.three seconds). Curvy roads aren't the RAV4's forte, but it surely makes a compelling case for itself round city, within the 25-to-50-mph vary. Good low-end torque from Toyota's marvelous naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine makes for clean stoplight-to-stoplight driving.
On the freeway, at baby-safe speeds, the RAV4 rides easily and accelerates with out an excessive amount of noise, as long as you do not mash the pedal to the ground. However there is a good purpose to not drive aggressively on this tall crossover; gas financial system is noticeably delicate to larger speeds. Regardless of the EPA's 28-mpg mixed gas financial system score, I needed to decelerate so as to hold that quantity at 26.5 mpg. The bottom front-wheel-drive fashions get barely higher gasoline mileage—30 mpg on common, based on the EPA—and Toyota has promised a hybrid mannequin later this 12 months. The hybrid could have a barely larger 219-horsepower score, in addition to a 40-mpg gas financial system score, although understand that hybrid battery packs normally lower into cargo area. It might be a superb choice for households making an attempt to keep away from spending an excessive amount of cash on gas. In spite of everything, if there's one factor that is sure moreover dying and taxes, it is that gasoline costs will finally rise once more.
2019 Toyota RAV4: Security
Neither the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS) nor the federal authorities has but rated the brand new RAV4 for crashworthiness. Automated emergency braking and a three-year subscription to a service known as Security Join that contacts emergency providers within the occasion of a crash are commonplace throughout the RAV4 lineup. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross site visitors alert is optionally available on the bottom LE and commonplace on higher trims. Rear cross site visitors braking and low-speed braking sonar are unavailable on the LE, however both optionally available or commonplace because the trims turn out to be extra haughty.
The Lengthy and Quick
Seems to be good, drives good, is nice. Once you examine the brand new RAV4 with its predominant opponents—the CR-V, the Rogue, the Mazda CX-5, the Subaru Forester—it holds up fairly effectively. What was as soon as a fairly bland trying commuter lump has been sculpted into one thing that appears first rate whereas performing its primary features effectively. It is nonetheless an equipment deep down, however that is the purpose of the sort of car.
With solely minute variations between numerous small crossovers, your selection between which one to select actually boils down to private choice, cost-reduction promotions, and what's on the dealership lot (until you are the sort who special-orders mundane automobiles). Personally, if I ended up shopping for a RAV4, I believe it is fairly unlikely that, two years in, I would look again ruefully upon the day I pulled the set off on Toyota's little household hauler and wished I had purchased a Rogue as an alternative. (Perhaps a Forester, however that is as a result of it comes commonplace with all-wheel-drive.) My child will not know the distinction anyway, as long as there's room for all his stuff again there.