2019 Toyota RAV4 first drive review: Compact SUV makes huge improvements

It’s been 22 years since the first-generation Toyota RAV4 arrived in US shores. Back then, compact-based crossovers or small SUVs were as ubiquitous as smartphones, emojis, and selfies – in short, it was a tiny market, compared to the behemoth it has become today. Who would have thought larger SUVs would take the place of family sedans or station wagons as the everyday driver?

Styling and packaging

Where the new Honda CR-V is still focused on a car-like approach to its styling – as, arguably, it should be, since the CR-V is still based on the 10th-gen Civic platform – Toyota took a completely different approach for the new 2019 RAV4. Gone are the soft styling cues; in instead comes a more rugged, go-anywhere design.

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