Compact crossovers are certainly not the first class of vehicle that comes to mind when you think of an off-roader, but Toyota is looking to change that perception with the RAV4 TRD Off-Road.
Based on the brand new RAV4 Trail model, the TRD Off-Road adds on a set of all-terrain tires, TRD tuned suspension, interior accents, fog lights and badging. Under the hood, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides the power, putting out 203 horsepower and 183 lb-ft of torque, sent though an eight-speed automatic.
The suspension upgrades are noticeable when you pickup your speeds off-road, keeping the occupants in relative comfort, while the all-terrain tires provide plenty of grip when off-road. Cruising on the highway, these Falken Wildpeak A/Ts are quiet and barely noticeable.
The TRD Off-Road also gets a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system that comes with both Mud/Sand mode and Rock/Gravel mode. This system is able to re-route 50 percent of its power to the rear wheels, while also being able to fully disconnect that rear axle for better fuel economy when city driving.
There are two more upgades that would have truly made a difference here: a two-inch lift and skid plates. Without more ground clearance the RAV4 can’t make it into tough places, and without protection you’re constantly nervous about breaking something underneath.
The other area where the TRD Off-Road makes little sense is in the price department. In Canada, our test model stickered for nearly $43,000, which means both the Subaru Forester Sport and Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk undercut this Toyota by about $8,000. Even the upgraded Trailhawk Elite has a starting MSRP of $38,645, offering more off-road capability for less money.
To see the RAV4 TRD Off-Road in action, watch the video embedded above.