I had an amazing time in Carmel Valley, CA with Fit Fathers and Automotive Rhythms exploring the attributes of the 5th generation 2019 Toyota RAV4 while enjoying wilderness activities such as trail running and meditating with Mother Nature from the exquisite grounds of Carmel Valley Ranch. Representing as Toyota’s best seller, the CUV’s edgier exterior styling is pretty prolific while featuring a new grille, higher clearance, wider body, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, panoramic moonroof and much more. Inside you’ll find added legroom, unique trim highlights, soft touch materials, Verizon WiFi connectivity and an upgraded JBL premium 11-speaker, 800-watt audio system with Clari-Fi sound restoration technology and A-pillar horn tweeters.

California is a special place and satisfies my soul with picturesque landscapes, endless amounts of fitness focused outdoor recreation and a plethora of healthy food locations from farmer’s markets to plant-based restaurants. In fact, it was my Born Day weekend so Toyota ascertained that every meal was replete with organic, vegan meals including a very special vegan chocolate cake. To make sure the media group also experienced the typical routine of a RAV4 owner Toyota set aside time for bike riding along the coast, hiking the grounds of Carmel Valley Ranch and Kayaking in the chill Pacific waters. Believe me, RAV4 aficionados do not let life get in the way, they command their destinies and turn obstacles into opportunistic freedom.

The 2019 RAV4 is offered in 9 grades and 13 distinct models including a Hybrid and the Adventure which is pretty thorough on rough terrain in route to campsites for example. Specifically, the Adventure features the Multi-Terrain Select that allows drivers to choose between Snow, Mud & Sand and Rock & Dirt while Drive Mode Select differentiates Eco, Normal or Sport. There is also Downhill Assist Control for creeping steadily down slopes. Dynamic Torque Vectoring (DTV) AWD is a Toyota first and adds bravado to the Adventure and Limited model RAV4s. On a short off-road course I witnessed the small wonder handle its business, especially up steep inclines and around tight, muddy bends. The system can distribute up to 50% of torque to the rear and also allows each rear wheel to receive torque independently. Although, DTV is very loud and led me to believe that the vehicle was bottoming out. I also took the Hybrid out on the course and it accomplished the task with its Electronic On-Demand AWD and Trail Mode but struggled a bit in comparison to the RAV4 Adventure.

In addition, the Adventure also incorporates a menacing split front grille, unique 19” alloy rims, larger and aggressive wheel well mold, relocated side view mirrors, a newfangled Lunar Rock hue and specific orange accents inside the cabin. The Hybrid is enhanced with 18” wheels, black exterior trim, exclusive interior blue highlights and a distinctive grey grille. All RAV4s have a higher ground clearance, wider body, a bit shorter length, a bit longer wheelbase, standard LED headlights, rear tailgate spoiler and an available panoramic moonroof. The rear floor board is adjustable for an increased vertical height of 2.” You can store the cargo cover underneath as well.

Connectivity is plentiful with up to 5 USB ports, Entune Audio or Entune 3.0 Audio Plus with Apple CarPlay, Waze, Toyota + Amazon Alexa, Remote Connect, Safety Connect, a 7” touchscreen with integrated backup camera or the available 8” screen, Qi Wireless Charger and Wi-Fi Connect Powered by Verizon. You can link 5 devices but a separate plan is required and Verizon determines the cost. Furthermore, a Bird’s Eye View Camera is available on the Limited model for even more driver clarity.

There are also a few notable first-time implementations for the RAV4 starting with passenger protection systems. To begin, the crossover receives the heralded Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 which includes Pre-Collison System w/ Pedestrian Detection, Enhanced speed reduction capabilities, Pedestrian Detection in low-light, Day-Time Cyclist Detection, Road Sign Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert w/steering assist, Automatic High Beams and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Other firsts include dual chrome exhaust tips, available rear seat vents and the optional Digital Rear View Mirror which I first experienced on a Cadillac.

Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine paired with the Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. It kicks out 203-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Vehicle towing capacity is 3,500 lbs and comes with Trailer Sway Control. Expect 29 combined mpg for gas models and 39 combined mpg for hybrid models.

Pricing starts at $25,500 for the LE FWD and can increase to $35,700 for a Hybrid Limited. The RAV4 created the compact SUV segment and continues to set trends for active lifestylers and customers who love adventure. So, let’s go places!