With so many good compact SUVs to choose from, a redesigned model needs to set new benchmarks to stay relevant on any fleet’s selector list. The completely redesigned 2019 Toyota RAV4 — in this case the Hybrid XSE AWD model — does just that. It increases power, reduces fuel consumption, adds interior room, and sports a brawnier stance compared to the outgoing model.
Toyota’s AWD system also gets an upgrade, with only front-wheel power used when AWD isn’t needed and a new “torque-vectoring” system that improves handling when AWD is in use.
With five trim levels, the RAV4’s interior appointments have been upgraded as well. The stitched leather with the black cabin accents give the XSE model the feel of a luxury crossover.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, Toyota’s suite of active safety features, comes standard on all trims.
With increased ground clearance and truck styling cues, the RAV4 Hybrid XSE (a trim exclusive to the hybrid) plants itself next to Jeep’s smaller models, but with superior fuel economy. With standard AWD, the RAV4 Hybrid can handle inclement conditions while delivering an EPA-rated 41 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy — a worthy combination for fleet needs that few other models can claim.
The increase in fuel economy compared to the 2018 hybrid model (34 city, 30 hwy) is remarkable considering the increase in horsepower — from 194 hp in the 2018 model to 219 hp in the new model.
In three days of driving, I averaged 36 mpg in mostly city driving, which more often than not included kids and gear and only casual consideration of fuel economy.
A coworker did much better: Using “hypermiling” techniques, he averaged an astounding 75 mpg in one six-mile stretch in stop-and-go conditions. He was able to feather the throttle coming out of dead stops to keep within battery mode as much as possible.
In another 10-mile roundtrip in similar conditions — but with enough traffic to disrupt any hypermiling and kick the motor into traditional power — he averaged 49 mpg.
Toyota has essentially held the line on pricing for the RAV4 Hybrid, bumping base MSRP from $27,385 for the 2018 model to $27,700 for 2019. A 2019 RAV4 Hybrid will make up the difference compared to its ICE counterpart at roughly five years in service if driving 15,000 miles a year.
2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE AWD Specs:
- Engine: 2.5L I-4 (219 hp, 163 lb.-ft.)
- Transmission: 2-spd CVT w/OD
- All-Wheel Drive: Standard on hybrid models
- Cargo Space: 37.7 cu.-ft., 69.8 cu.-ft. with rear seats folded down
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet