Off-Roading

2020 Toyota RAV4 fills in the gaps, remains a formidable choice for families

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

It's not uncommon for automakers to introduce a new generation of a vehicle one year and then make zero changes to it the next. That's basically where we are the 2020 Toyota RAV4, not that there's anything wrong with that.

The 2019 RAV4 was a well-executed package when it debuted. The generational difference between the current RAV4 and the previous is transformational for the RAV4 customer. The RAV4 was improved in almost every way.

There were two main areas that the RAV4 appeared to be a miss - tech and blacked out fascia elements. Toyota has remedied that in the 2020 RAV4. Now, the RAV4 comes standard with Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration were already standard. The RAV4 LE and XLE trims get standard satellite radio.

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

There's also a new trim level, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road. The grade has more than just appearance enhancements. It truly earns its TRD Off-Road badging.

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road builds off the RAV4 Adventure grade. It has 8.6 inches of ground clearance and a suspension, wheels, and tires that have been engineered for rugged trail driving (read: not true off-roading). The equipment on the vehicle was inspired by Ryan Millen's Rally RAV4.

The SUV comes with more rigid flow-formed 18x7 matte-black TRD alloy wheels with Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tires. The tread pattern on and compound of the tires meets TRD technical requirements and have strong shoulders to help protect against punctures.

There are re-valved twin-tube shocks with internal rebound springs. These help absorb the jostle of the trail and pass on a smooth-is ride to passengers.

The model comes standard with dynamic torque-vectoring all-wheel drive with driveline disconnect. This technology helps the RAV4 put the right amount of power to the right wheel depending on the terrain so that the SUV does not get stuck. However, the technology doesn't guarantee that the RAV4 TRD Off-Road won't get stuck.

There are several drive modes owners can choose including Mud & Sand for beach driving, Rock & Dirt for trails, and Snow for wintery conditions.

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Toyota has equipped the model with standard hill start assist, trail sway control, downhill assist control, and a driver's information screen that shows off the torque allocation by wheel as well as slip control data.

The SUV is available in an exclusive two-tone Magnetic Gray Metallic with Ice Edge Roof color combination but other color combinations are available. At the front and rear there are dark gray fascias. LED fog lights are standard.

In its cabin, the model features red stitching and trim accents. Black SofTex covers the seats and the headrests have the TRD logo stitched in them.

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road starts at $35,180.

The next generation of Toyota's trucks and SUVs market was revealed via this leaked image.

Photo by Haskins, gr86.org

A participant at a recent Toyota dealership conference has leaked a slide to gr86.org showcasing Toyota's future product plans. It shows which models are slated for redesigns, and when.

It's important to note that Toyota hasn't confirmed any of the information in the image but the timeline seems likely based on cursory knowledge of the company's product development plans.

Additionally, at this time, it is unclear how the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis will impact this timeline.

2021 Toyota Sienna (Fall 2020)

First up is the Toyota Sienna. The so-called Swagger Wagon was supposed to have its debut at the New York International Auto Show in April (now rescheduled for August) then go on sale this autumn. This is the same planning that was underway for the Sienna's chief competition, the refreshed 2021 Honda Odyssey.

A note on the Sienna section points out that the model is "all hybrid." It's likely that the Sienna will get the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid's powertrain, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. The powertrain gets 243 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, and 36 mpg combined in the Highlander. The current Sienna only gets 21 mpg combined. The new model will probably come in front- and all-wheel drive variants.

The biggest question is its price. The Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200. That's around $7,000 more than the starting price of the 2020 Sienna, which does not have a hybrid option.

All-New Crossover (Fall 2020)

This one is also labeled "All-Hybrid". Toyota has sold a hybrid version of its C-HR in some global markets for the past few years. Could they be bringing a hybrid version of a refreshed C-HR to the U.S.? Could it be something else?

There is a chance that this is the Yaris-based crossover that Toyota was supposed to unveil during the cancelled Geneva Motor Show. However, that model is currently only slated for sale outside the U.S.

2022 Toyota 86 (Summer 2021)

The Toyota 86 started its run as the Scion FR-S in 2012 and was co-developed by Toyota in partnership with Subaru, who from the deal got the BRZ. Its timeline is right for a total redesign and both companies have acknowledged that such a move is currently underway. Seeing the model arrive on dealership lots in mid-2021 makes sense.

The post on gr86.org's forum says that the slide before this showed that the 2022 Toyota 86 will be powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine. That's the same engine that is available in the redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy that provides 260 horsepower to those models. However, that engine could be for the GR version of the 86 (possibly called the GR86), as a high-performance variant. Having 260 horsepower in a vehicle as lightweight as an 86 is a lot to handle for the average consumer.

All-New CUV (Q3 2021)

Toyota is well underway in the building of their shared Alabama production space with Mazda. The companies have confirmed that the first vehicles will roll off the line there in 2021. It would make sense for this slideshow slot to be occupied by the new SUV Toyota said would be produced there for the U.S. market after they shifted plans away from Corolla production. What will that new model be called? Will it be rugged? World is that Venza is under consideration.

2022 Toyota Tundra (Q4 2021)

When an engineer let it slip that long awaited redesigned Tundra model was coming in 2021 a few years ago during the Texas Truck Rodeo, it seemed too far away, but here we (almost) finally are. The platform of the Tundra is the gateway to a whole new generation of Toyota trucks and the end of 2021 will feel like they're just getting started with the truck reveals.

What's on tap? There's a good chance, given Toyota's commitment to electrified powertrains, that we'll see a Tundra Hybrid come to market. This powertrain could also serve as an option for a Sequoia Hybrid and 4Runner Hybrid. Both models currently suffer from low fuel efficiency and outdated features.

2022/2023 Toyota Sequoia and 2022/2023 Toyota 4Runner (2022)

In 2022, the trucks conversation really picks up. As stated above, expect electrified models that deliver the types of prowess and creature comforts that customers have long expected from the trucks.

Hopefully the 4Runner will also get better braking capability, but its innovations may takeover the traditional drive experience of the current-generation 4Runner, which is one of the things enthusiasts love about it.

In the meantime, there's new Trail and Nightshade editions of the trucks coming soon to a dealership near you.

2023 Toyota Tacoma

Though it hasn't made this slideshow, word on the street/a bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan is that the Tacoma will be revised for 2023. In the meantime, Toyota has given the Tacoma a facelift for the 2020 model year and confirmed that it's moving Tacoma production out of Texas.

General Motors, Ford, and FCA plants are among those shut down by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Toyota, Ford, and Nissan, among others, all rely on American labor to manufacture and assemble their vehicles for sale in the U.S. The list of automakers effected by the COVID-19 pandemic is all-encompassing. Below, AutomotiveMap rounds up how each company is responding.

BMW

BMW Plant Spartanburg South Carolina

Photo courtesy of BMW

According to reporting by the Greenville News, production at BMW Upstate has not been effected by the coronavirus outbreak as of the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18.

FCA

Toledo Assembly Complex Jeep Wrangler

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

UPDATE: According to a release, "FCA plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as headquarters operations and construction projects, are intended to remain closed until April 14, dependent upon the various states' stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production. The Mopar Parts Distribution Centers, which have been deemed essential to keeping first responders and commercial vehicles on the road, will continue to operate with paid volunteers. The status of production for FCA's Mexico operations will be subject to a separate announcement."

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FCA began to cease production at their plants across North America, starting March 18 - a move that will continue through the end of March. At the end of the month, FCA will work to enhance its manufacturing operations to facilitate the changes agreed with the UAW including shift timings, structures and enhanced cleaning protocols.

FCA has 27 plants across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Ford

Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

UPDATE: On March 26, Ford announced that they are aiming to restart production at select plants in North America as early as April 6. Ford is planning to resume production at Hermosillo Assembly Plant on April 6 on one shift. On April 14, Ford is planning to start building vehicles at Dearborn Truck Plant, Kentucky Truck Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant's Transit line and Ohio Assembly Plant.

To support these assembly plants, Ford also is aiming to resume production April 14 at:

  • Dearborn Stamping Plant
  • Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant
  • Integrated stamping plants within Kansas City and Kentucky Truck plants
  • Sharonville Transmission Plant
  • Portions of Van Dyke Transmission, Lima Engine and Rawsonville Components plants

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Production at Ford's U.S., Canadian and Mexican plants will be halted after March 19's evening shifts to through March 30 to thoroughly clean and sanitize the facilities.

Ford temporarily closed Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) final assembly building yesterday after an employee tested positive for Covid-19 and is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building, as promised as part of the company's coronavirus emergency response protocol. That plant will close starting the evening of March 19 through March 30.

General Motors

Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Last Impala

Photo courtesy of General Motors

On March 18, General Motors began what they're calling a "systematic orderly suspension" of manufacturing operations in North America. The suspension will last until at least March 30. Production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that.

General Motors has 32 plants in North America.

Honda

Marysville Auto Plant Honda

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

On March 18, Honda announced that it would adjust production at all of its automobile production plants in North America, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Those plants include:

  • Performance Manufacturing Center (Ohio)
  • Marysville Auto Plant (Ohio)
  • East Liberty Auto Plant (Ohio)
  • Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (Indiana)
  • Honda Manufacturing of Alabama(Alabama)
  • Honda of Canada Manufacturing – Plants 1 & 2
  • Honda de Mexico – Celaya Auto Plant

Honda will suspend production for six days beginning March 23, with current plans to return to production on Tuesday, March 31. Honda transmission and engine plants in North America that serve Honda auto plants also will suspend production for the same time period. Honda will reduce production by approximately 40,000 vehicles during that time.

During this time, Honda will continue full pay for all of its approximately 27,600 associates in North America.

Additionally, Honda will utilize this time to deep clean its production facilities and common areas.

Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai has taken numerous steps to protect their employees during the pandemic. The company is increasing the frequency of cleaning in high-touch areas like door knobs/handles, elevator buttons, and counter tops. They're restricting visitors at Hyundai facilities and have suspended training sessions at all Hyundai Training Centers.

At Hyundai Motor Manufacturing (HMMA) in Alabama, one of the members of its workforce tested positive for Covid-19 on March 18. All team members were notified of the situation.

Beginning March 18, Hyundai suspended production in all areas of HMMA and deployed sanitation measures across the entire facility.

HMMA has also suspended public tours.

Kia

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

UPDATE: According to a release, "Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) will suspend production at its West Point, Ga. facility effective Monday, March 30. Operations will be halted for two weeks, including a previously planned shutdown April 6-10 for new model equipment changes. Production is planned to resume on Monday, April 13."

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The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting that Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) will stop production for two days, resuming on March 23, in reaction to supply chain issues.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

The German automaker has not announced any closures or production slowdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic at its Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama as of the afternoon of March 19.

Nissan

Nissan Canton Assembly Plant

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has announced that it will temporarily suspend production of its manufacturing facilities in the U.S. from March 20 to April 6. According to a statement, "Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus at any Nissan facility. Areas deemed business-essential will operate with enhanced safety measures."

Subaru

Subaru of American Inc.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Workers at Subaru of Indiana Automotive continue to work but non-essential visitors are banned in response to the outbreak. The plant will fully close on March 23 and remain closed through at least March 29.

Tesla

Tesla Fremont Factory

Photo courtesy of Tesla

After initially protesting and taking a stand against the government-enforced shutdown of its Fremont manufacturing plant, Tesla appears to have acquiesced.

According to USA Today, "On Tuesday, the auto maker's factory in Fremont, California, was declared a "nonessential business" after Alameda County enacted a shelter-in-place order, which could have led to a complete shutdown. NBC Bay Area reports the factory will remain open with a smaller workforce for 'minimum basic operations.'"

Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota has temporarily suspended production at all of its automobile and components plants in North America, including Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The manufacturing facilities will be closed from March 23-24, resuming production on March 25, 2020. The company's service parts depots and vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Chattanooga plant

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

VW's Chattanooga production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee has announced that it will close starting March 21. All workers will receive full pay during the shutdown.

Volvo

Volvo plant operation

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo has announced that it will idle its South Carolina plant from March 26 to April 14. This news comes on the heels of an announcement that all the company's China plants are back open.