We drove a $39,000 Toyota RAV4 that outsells rivals from Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. Here are its coolest features.

Toyota RAV4 Limited 2019Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The Toyota RAV4 is all-new for 2019 with new styling, fresh interior, and an impressive suite of standard safety tech.
  • The RAV4 is the best-selling compact crossover SUV in the US, ahead of rivals like the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Ford Escape, the Subaru Forester, and the Mazda CX-5.
  • Business Insider recently had a chance to spend a week with a 2019 Toyota RAV4 prototype in Limited trim.
  • The base 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE with front-wheel drive starts at $25,500, while the top-spec Limited trim starts at $33,500. With options and fees, our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited carried an as-tested price of $38,565.

The Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in America. More than 427,000 RAV4s rolled out of US showrooms in 2018, behind only the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and RAM 1500 pickup trucks.

The original RAV4 made its US debut back in 1996 and over next two decades became a dominant force in the compact crossover SUV segment that now accounts for roughly one out of every five vehicles sold in America.

In the marketplace, the RAV4 is a direct rival to the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Subaru Forester, the Mazda CX-5, the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Ford Escape.

For 2019, Toyota has introduced a new fifth-generation version of the RAV4.

Business Insider recently had a chance to spend a week with a 2019 Toyota RAV4 prototype in Limited trim.

"The new Toyota RAV4 delivers a capable, high-tech, and easy-to-live-with compact crossover in a handsomely styled package," we said in our review.

Read more: We drove a $39,000 Toyota RAV4 to see if the best-selling SUV in America is worth the money. Here's the verdict.

However, we also expressed our displeasure with the Toyota's harsh drivetrain.

"The 2.5-liter engine is one of the most coarse-sounding four-cylinder engines I've encountered in a long time," we said. "Under hard acceleration, the engine buzzes and strains like a poorly executed 20-year-old tuner Honda Civic."

The base 2019 Toyota RAV4 LE starts at $25,500, while the mid-grade XLE, XLE Premium, and Adventure models start at $27,300, $29,500, and $32,900. The top-grade Limited trim starts at $33,500.

Hybrid variants of the RAV4 start at $27,700 for the LE and run all the way up to the Limited trim, starting at $35,700.

All-wheel drive is available as a $1,400 option on all trims except the Adventure and Hybrid variants, in which it comes standard.

With options and fees, our 2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited carried an as-tested price of $38,565.

Here's a closer look at its coolest features:

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1. Fresh styling: The RAV4's new sheet metal is handsome and modern, delivering suburban civility with a subtle evocation of 4Runner/Land Cruiser ruggedness.

1. Fresh styling: The RAV4's new sheet metal is handsome and modern, delivering suburban civility with a subtle evocation of 4Runner/Land Cruiser ruggedness.

2. New platform: The new RAV4 is built on Toyota's new TNGA-K global midsize platform shared with the Camry sedan. According to Toyota, the new platform is lighter and is designed to deliver a more confident driving experience. Previous RAV4s were built on compact platforms shared with the Corolla and the Prius.

2. New platform: The new RAV4 is built on Toyota's new TNGA-K global midsize platform shared with the Camry sedan. According to Toyota, the new platform is lighter and is designed to deliver a more confident driving experience. Previous RAV4s were built on compact platforms shared with the Corolla and the Prius.

3. Interior quality: RAV4's interior is also new and consider us impressed. Material quality was outstanding, and everything felt well put together.

3. Interior quality: RAV4's interior is also new and consider us impressed. Material quality was outstanding, and everything felt well put together.

4. Cabin Ergonomics: Toyota worked hard to make the RAV4's cabin easy to live with — and it shows. Cabin ergonomics are top-notch. Everything the driver needs is clearly marked and easily within reach.

4. Cabin Ergonomics: Toyota worked hard to make the RAV4's cabin easy to live with — and it shows. Cabin ergonomics are top-notch. Everything the driver needs is clearly marked and easily within reach.

I'm a fan of the various storage nooks found throughout the RAV4, like this one right above the glove box.

I'm a fan of the various storage nooks found throughout the RAV4, like this one right above the glove box.

5. Comfortable front seats: The leather-upholstered seats in our test car were soft and supportive, with ample adjustments available.

5. Comfortable front seats: The leather-upholstered seats in our test car were soft and supportive, with ample adjustments available.

6. Infotainment is getting better: Atop the center stack is an 8-inch touchscreen running the latest version of Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Entune is not one of our favorite systems.

6. Infotainment is getting better: Atop the center stack is an 8-inch touchscreen running the latest version of Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Entune is not one of our favorite systems.

Even though Toyota has made improvements to the system, it's still clunky to use, and its presentation is decidedly outdated.

Even though Toyota has made improvements to the system, it's still clunky to use, and its presentation is decidedly outdated.

Entune is not without its merits: The system has plenty of features, such as app integration, WiFi connectivity, and built-in navigation.

Entune is not without its merits: The system has plenty of features, such as app integration, WiFi connectivity, and built-in navigation.

And the physical shortcut buttons around the bezels dramatically improve Entune's usability.

And the physical shortcut buttons around the bezels dramatically improve Entune's usability.

7. Apple CarPlay capability: It's available for the first time on the RAV4 and allows you to bypass Entune.

7. Apple CarPlay capability:  It's available for the first time on the RAV4 and allows you to bypass Entune.

8. One of the RAV4's highlights is its advanced camera system.

8. One of the RAV4's highlights is its advanced camera system.

Not only does it have a rear view and an overhead view ...

Not only does it have a rear view and an overhead view ...

... it also offers a 360-degree panoramic view that will swing around to show the car's surroundings.

... it also offers a 360-degree panoramic view that will swing around to show the car's surroundings.

The system also has a feature that shows you what the car looks like from the perspective of those around it.

The system also has a feature that shows you what the car looks like from the perspective of those around it.

Here's an overhead view from the front left.

Here's an overhead view from the front left.

9. Standard safety tech: All RAV4s come standard with Toyota's Safety Sense suite of semi-autonomous driver-assistance technologies, including pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane-tracing assist, and traffic-sign assist.

9. Standard safety tech: All RAV4s come standard with Toyota's Safety Sense suite of semi-autonomous driver-assistance technologies, including pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, lane-tracing assist, and traffic-sign assist.

10. Panoramic sunroof: This massive panoramic glass roof is also a nice extra. It gives the cabin an open, airy feeling.

10. Panoramic sunroof: This massive panoramic glass roof is also a nice extra. It gives the cabin an open, airy feeling.

11. Wireless charging.

11. Wireless charging.

12. Cargo room: Open the power liftgate and you'll find 37 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold down the second row, and cargo capacity increases to 69.8 cubic feet.

12. Cargo room: Open the power liftgate and you'll find 37 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold down the second row, and cargo capacity increases to 69.8 cubic feet.

13. Spare tire: Under the cargo floor is a spare tire, an increasingly rare feature in cars these days.

13. Spare tire: Under the cargo floor is a spare tire, an increasingly rare feature in cars these days.

14. Rear view mirror camera: Our test car came with a screen embedded in the rearview mirror that can be turned on or off using a toggle switch at the bottom. The system took a while to get used to but worked like a charm. It'll be particularly useful when the RAV4 is packed with people or cargo and rear visibility is obstructed.

14. Rear view mirror camera: Our test car came with a screen embedded in the rearview mirror that can be turned on or off using a toggle switch at the bottom. The system took a while to get used to but worked like a charm. It'll be particularly useful when the RAV4 is packed with people or cargo and rear visibility is obstructed.

15. Advanced all-wheel-drive system: Our test car came with a fancy Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel-drive system designed to send up to 50% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels. It can also distribute power between the left rear and right rear based on road conditions.

15. Advanced all-wheel-drive system: Our test car came with a fancy Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel-drive system designed to send up to 50% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels. It can also distribute power between the left rear and right rear based on road conditions.

16. Digital instrument display: In front of the driver is a hybrid digital/analog instrument cluster. Our test car's 7-inch information display worked well and offered a bevy of driving data. Lower-trim cars come with a 4.2-inch display.

16. Digital instrument display: In front of the driver is a hybrid digital/analog instrument cluster. Our test car's 7-inch information display worked well and offered a bevy of driving data. Lower-trim cars come with a 4.2-inch display.
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