This week is a bit of a family feud, as we’re comparing the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with the redesigned 2019 RAV4 Hybrid. Think of it kind of like Thanksgiving dinner — but with cars.
The styling of the latest RAV4 is far more aggressive than its predecessor. It also rides on a new, stiffer chassis, designed to provide more passenger space and improve handling. So if you’re looking to decide between a used or new version of Toyota’s popular compact SUV, stay tuned as we compare the engines, cabins, infotainment, and price.
Of course, you shouldn’t buy a car without a thorough test drive. So if you’re deciding between the 2018 and 2019 Toyota RAV4, visit AutoNation.com to find a nearby dealer. Full text of the video follows after the video.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs 2018 Toyota RA4 Hybrid: Powertrains
First, let’s look at the powertrains. The 2018 RAV4 Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with electric motors front and rear, for a total output of 194 horsepower. A CVT automatic is the only transmission option, it’s EPA-rated at 34 miles-per-gallon city, and 30 highway.
For 2019, the RAV4 retains its 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and front and rear motor setup, and CVT transmission. But both power and fuel economy are up significantly. Total system output is now 219 horsepower, and fuel economy has jumped to 41 city and 38 highway.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs 2018 Toyota RA4 Hybrid: Cabins
Now, let’s look inside the cabin. While reviewers have generally praised all flavors of the 2018 RAV4, it’s been noted that there were some cheap-feeling plastics in the interior. Fortunately, Toyota took note, and for 2019, those have been replaced by premium soft-touch materials. The new chassis’ slightly longer wheelbase also means there’s more room in the passenger compartment, and storage behind the rear seats also climbs slightly, from 35.6 cubic-feet in the 2018 model, to 37.6 cubic-feet in the 2019. Fold the seats flat, and both versions provide about 70 feet of space for cargo.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs 2018 Toyota RA4 Hybrid: Infotainment
One update to the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid that buyers are sure to appreciate involves upgrades to Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. While 2018 models offered a standard 6.1-inch touchscreen and an optional seven-inch version, for 2019, those numbers have gotten bigger. Now, the seven-inch version is standard, and a new eight-inch screen is available as an option.
Both 2018 and 2019 models come with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, with features like wireless charging, satellite radio, and navigation coming paired with the larger touchscreen. Aside from the upgraded size of the display, 2019 models also get a couple of additional standard features unavailable on 2018 models, including a WiFi hotspot, and, for the first time on the RAV4, Apple CarPlay.
While Android Auto is still unavailable, the inclusion of Apple’s popular smartphone integration software has long been an Achilles heel for Toyota products. But the designers took car of that problem for 2019.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs 2018 Toyota RA4 Hybrid: Safety
Turning to safety, the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid wasn’t specifically tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But both front- and all-wheel drive versions of the standard RAV4 earned a five-star overall safety rating. It also comes standard with an advanced suite of safety features, including pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure alert, and adaptive cruise control.
That said, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid was tested by the NHTSA, and it earned a five star overall safety rating. It comes with a similar list of standard and available safety options. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive headlights are optional on lower trims, but standard on XLE, XSE, and Limited models. The bottom line here is that regardless of whether you decide to go with a 2018 or 2019, you can feel confident in the safety of your vehicle.
2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs 2019 Toyota RA4 Hybrid: Price
Now, it’s time to talk price. Just as you’d expect, pricing for the 2018 RAV4 will vary depending on mileage, trim levels, and options.
Pricing for the base RAV4 Hybrid LE starts at $27,700, with the top-spec Limited trim coming in at $35,700.