There is a new trim level for Toyota’s RAV4 called the Adventure. Perhaps that’s the subtle work of the marketing department, or maybe that’s done on purpose. Maybe it’s a more cleaver and less redundant way of saying “adventure starts with the new RAV4.” Of course the other, and much bigger question is: Starting at approximately $28,000! I thought these things were supposed to be cheap?
Bang For The Buck
Nearly $30,000 seems like a lot of scratch, to me, for an entry-level cute-ute/crossover/thingo. $30k can get you a lot of ride, even if you’re looking for something more or less off-road capable. So if you were to drop that much on Toyota’s RAV4 Adventure, what do you get for your money?
The condensed version is that the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure adds select exterior styling features and grade-specific interior bits and bobs. Falling between the XLE and SE versions, the Adventure gets large over-fender flares and big 18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels, mounted with 235/55R18 tires. Toyota says this means the RAV4 Adventure is “ready to play in the dirt,” and I can hear you serious off-roaders, King of The Hammers participants, mud-boggers, and all the rest chuckling from here.
But let’s face facts: 90% of rides like the RAV4 Adventure are bought by people who will never take them off-road. So yeah, Toyota is playing to that ego-fault and, like other crossover-thingo manufactures, Toyota is making money hand over fist. The RAV4 Adventure also comes with exclusive gray lower valance panels and rocker panel guards, black headlight bezels, black fog lamp surrounds, roof rails, and exclusive Adventure badging. You know, since it says Adventure, it better look the part. It also sits a bit higher with an overall height increase of 10-millimeters, while ground clearance is up a total of 6.5-inches from 6.1-inches.
On the inside there are exclusive interior features such as carbon-fiber-like trim panels, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and RAV4 Adventure logos on the door sill protectors. There are also all-weather floor and cargo mats with RAV4 Adventure badging and a 120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area to serve as a convenient portable charging station and/or handy power source during tailgate parties, camping trips, and the like.
Drive Options & Towing
The 2018 RAV4 Adventure (which Toyota hilariously terms as being “active lifestyle-inspired”) comes in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited Slip Differential. If you choose the all-wheel drive version, you get Dynamic Torque Control. Whether you choose the front driver or the more off-road suited all-wheel drive model, both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package with an upgraded radiator and additional engine oil and transmission fluid coolers. With the available tow hitch receiver and wiring harness, the RAV4 Adventure is capable of towing 2,900 lbs. (FWD) and 3,500 lbs. with Dynamic Control equipped AWD models. Not too shabby in either case.
Safety & Security
Like all RAV4 models, the Adventure comes standard with an alphabet soup of safety, comfort, and convenience gizmos. You get Toyota Safety Sense P that includes Toyota’s Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams; you also get Hill-Start Assist Control.
Colors & Availability
The RAV4 Adventure comes in five exterior colors: Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and Ruby Flare Pearl, which is both new to the RAV4 and an additional cost. Other exclusive features include heated seats, a power driver’s seat, heated leather steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package. The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure is available now starting at $27,700 for the FWD model and $28,400 for the AWD variant.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.