Toyota Invited Us to Northern Cali to Test Drive the 2019 RAV4

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to know the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4, with the Central Coast of California serving as the backdrop. The words that come to mind describing this completely redesigned fifth-generation model are: Empowering, Confident and Sexy. Yes, I know it is a vehicle we are talking about but… hear me out.

Before the holidays, Toyota invited us out for a three-day retreat filled with activities and an in-depth sneak peek into their latest RAV4 model. First off, this 2019 RAV4 looks nothing like it’s predecessors, yet there is a strong familiarity when viewed from the front. The grill shape, for example, takes inspiration from tough Toyota off-road trucks. The all-new design brings back more of an SUV appearance and it’s a look that expresses strength and capability. To quote RAV4’s Chief Engineer, Yoshikazu Saeki; “Just looking at the new RAV4 ignites the urge to get in and go somewhere”. Which it totally did! So, on day 3 of our retreat, I hopped in the Limited Edition RAV4 in Magnetic Grey Metallic and drove through the famous “17-mile drive” in Pebble Beach. Is it just me, or is there is something truly therapeutic about winding roads, blasting music and ocean views?

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

My trip with Toyota started at beautiful Carmel Valley Ranch, a 500-acre resort nestled in the mountains with its own vineyard, private golf course, beautiful hiking trails, deer roaming the property, an agenda organized of indoor and outdoor activities daily, fancy cocktails and delicious food. The property was stunning, with some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. The only way to truly convey the vibe Carmel Valley Ranch and it’s hospitable staff gives off, is that it was like being at Kellerman’s — you know, the fictional resort from the movie Dirty Dancing set in the 60’s, where families would escape city life and spend their summer. The only thing missing was the guy on the loudspeaker and Patrick Swayze. I highly recommend Carmel Valley Ranch to anyone who is looking to catch up on some R&R. Truly fabulous!

During my retreat, I experienced everything this all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 has to offer. The vehicle preview started with an up close and personal show and tell with the brand’s team, highlighting the awesome features each vehicle has to offer. The all-new 2019 RAV4 has five models in the line-up; LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited. Hybrid models will be available Spring 2019. Some of the stands outs that caught my eye were:

  • Multiple Drive Modes, Eco, Sport and Normal, so you can drive based on your mood
  • AWD with Multi-Terrain select for safety; Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt and Snow
  • Panoramic Sunroof and increased windshield size which gives a better view of the road traveled
  • Customized JBL sound to the interior of the RAV4 (legit sounds like you are at a concert)
  • 26/35/30 across the LE, XLE & XLE Premium models, 25/33/28 for Adventure & Limited
  • Affordable, Starting at $25,800

For more about the RAV4, visit

After our tour of each model, the Toyota team shuttled us up to a private “off-road course” located on the property.  The course was carved out on the top of a mountain, with views of the entire valley. Each guest within the media team had the opportunity to take the Adventure and XSE HV models off-roading through the course, as either a passenger or as the driver. I was too chicken to be a driver, so I opted as a passenger and excitedly road through the course twice, once in each model. This is where they really showed off what this bad boy can do! The most impressive feature to me was how with a click of a button, the Adventure model just knew what to do and took over… safely navigating steep terrain whether it was going up or downhill. It was an empowering feature.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review
2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

As if off-roading was not enough, day two also included a 15-mile bike tour of Monterey Bay and as you can see from the picture below, the Toyota team and other guests were excited to be enjoying such an incredible adventure.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

Overall the Toyota team made sure our trip was not only about getting to know this awesome new vehicle, but meeting new people, having fun and enjoying all that the Central California Coast has to offer. We were truly humbled to be apart of the unveiling of this affordable, high performing all-new generation of RAV4’s!

2019 Toyota RAV4 Review

So, back to the intro of this piece; can an SUV be sexy? By definition sexy means exciting, stimulating, interesting and appealing. The new RAV4 confidently meets the criteria.

Words by Tiffany Allegro

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