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.

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The Rivian R1T is undergoing final testing in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

Four new performance testing videos featuring the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck have dropped on YouTube. Three of the videos show a specific area of performance while the last wraps it all up showcasing a trail ride. Whether you're an electric vehicle enthusiast, truck fan, or someone who enjoys the road less traveled (or a combination thereof), there's something for everyone.

The first video hones in on the launch performance of the truck. The R1T, like other electric vehicles, has power at all four wheels, giving it instant torque when the driver presses on the accelerator. The wildly wrapped R1T rapidly gains speed as it heads down a dirt path. Watch the video below.

The second video features the R1T drifting around a series of corners at a controlled facility in the Arizona desert. With the dust kicked up, the effect is dramatic. Late last year, Rivian showcased its model's ability to complete a tank turn. The company has already trademarked the phrases "Tank Steer" and "Tank Turn". You can see the drifting video below.

The third video Rivian posted features an off-roading adventure with the R1T speeding down a desert trail. The drive is a test for the dynamics of the vehicle which will have to compete with the suspension and handling capabilities of traditional trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra when it comes to market. Watch the video below.

Rivian says, "Last weekend, we grabbed our cameras and chased a few engineers around the desert as they put the R1T through its paces." The video shows off trail riding, rock climbing, and some on-track driving. Let's be honest, this one is the most exciting - especially the rick climbing bit. You can watch the full video below.

Rivian is looking to start deliveries of the vehicle in 2021. Production was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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