As Toyota prepares to roll out its all-new, fifth-gen RAV4 this winter, the automaker has one final trick up its sleeve to keep the current generation competitive in a bustling segment of compact crossovers. Introduced late last year, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure is aimed directly at active lifestyle buyers who need a little more capability from a crossover. While the production version of the RAV4 Adventure is nowhere near as extreme as the Adventure Concept that Toyota debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, it is still a cool-looking CUV with a promise of added versatility and utility.
Keep reading to learn more about the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Exterior
The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure is hands down the toughest-looking RAV4 in the CUV’s 24-year history, although it’s predictably not as aggressive as the concept. The Adventure trim level does add a more rugged appearance with wider fender flares, fake front skid plate, beefier plastic rocker panel guards and a slightly taller ride height (6.5 inches versus the RAV4’s standard 6.1 inches). While minor, the higher ride height improves the RAV4 Adventure’s departure angle from 21 degrees on a stock RAV4 up to 23 degrees, and every bit helps when hitting the trails.
From there, the RAV4 also gets a blacked-out treatment with darker headlights, black grille, roof rails and mirrors as well as black 18-inch, V-spoke alloy wheels. The RAV4 Adventure is only available in five colors, including this tester’s Silver Sky Metallic paint job, and the matte black hood graphic is standard.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Interior
Not much has changed inside the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure, but it certainly isn’t as plush as the RAV4 Platinum we recently tested. Instead of the Platinum’s two-tone leather and marble-like trim, the Adventure comes with cloth seats, unique door sills and an accent trim that Toyota says is supposed to imitate carbon fiber, but really looks more like a snake skin pattern. Fitting in with the more rugged outward appearance, the RAV4 Adventure’s cabin is finished off with a 120-volt power outlet in the cargo area and all-weather floor mats (and cargo mat) featuring the trim level’s mountain logo.
The RAV4 Adventure is based on the XLE trim level, which means you get standard features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel and manually adjustable front seats. This tester was equipped with the $2,090 Extra Value “Power Premium” Package that includes the Smart Key System, Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite and height-adjustable power liftgate.
The main reason why the current RAV4 remains so popular is how well it manages passengers and cargo. One thing we appreciated about the RAV4 Platinum’s interior was the clean, uncluttered layout with enough room for five passengers and lots of storage space, too. The rear seating offers plenty of headroom and legroom with the added ability to recline the seat backs for added passenger comfort, and when rear passengers aren’t there, the headrests can be folded down to improve rearward visibility for the driver. With the seats in place, the RAV4 can hold 38.4 cubic feet cargo space, but fold the seats down and this amount grows to 73.4 cubic feet.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Powertrain
In the final year of production, it’s no surprise that the RAV4’s powertrain was left alone. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter inline-four rated at 176 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, which mates to a six-speed automatic transmission. This transmission is what gives the RAV4 a superior feel to CVT-equipped rivals like the Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V. The new RAV4 Adventure is offered in both FWD or AWD with this AWD tester having EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway**.
Everyone’s idea of an adventure differs, so the RAV4 Adventure has a little bit of everything. Combining the Dynamic Torque Control AWD with the 0.4 inches of added ride height upgrades the RAV4 from a soft-roader to a crossover ready to tackle terrain that is more challenging. The AWD system can send up to 50 percent of the engine torque to the rear wheels automatically, and the AWD Lock button allows the driver to manually engage the rear axle at speeds under 25 mph.
The biggest payoff that the RAV4 Adventure brings to the table is the standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, which gives this trim level a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds, which far surpasses the 1,500 pound capacity of the non-Adventure trims – the SE is not recommended for towing. This is helpful since most of the adventures that the RAV4 Adventure will be facing are likely family road trips, and the bump in towing abilities means that the RAV4 is now a doable option for weekend boaters and campers.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Safety
The RAV4 continues to get a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the 2018 model year sees the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) added to the list of standard safety features. This bundle of driver assist features includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function, Automatic High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Toyota’s Star Safety System is also standard with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control. Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake‐force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology. Opting for the Power Premium package also includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Overall
Instead of being a full-on off-roader like Toyota’s TRD Pro lineup, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure is a more capable RAV4 with a more rugged appearance. The new Adventure might be more of a stopgap trim level to sweeten the deal for prospective buyers until the 2019 RAV4 goes on sale, but it wouldn’t take much – really just some meatier tires and a little more power – to make this a true Jeep Compass Trailhawk contender.
With the new Adventure grade, the 2018 RAV4 lineup is now available in a total of tern trim levels, with the base LE priced at $24,660* and the mid-level 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure starting at $28,650*. With its optional features, the model used for this test drive review had an as-tested price of $31,785.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.