Even if off-roading won’t be on the cards for most of us.
The reality of the modern car-buyer is simple. We like jacked-up, high-riding off-roaders, but not only do we do precious-little off-roading, but we expect our off-roaders to perform admirably as city-cars. That means all the looks (and preferably the capability), with none of the fuel-consumption drawbacks and so on.
The boffins at Toyota clearly took all of this into account when it formulated the Toyota RAV4, an SUV that seems to offer the ownership experience of a hatchback with all the benefits of driving a proper off-roader. But perhaps there were quarters that were still unimpressed by its rather masculine, tough looks and said they wanted more. To that end, this is the RAV4 TRD Off-Road.
Yes, there are unique bumpers, a two-tone paintjob, and dark lower-fascias front and rear. And yes, there are 18-inch TRD alloys wrapped in specially-designed Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail tyres. But it’s not all looks – there’s also a new suspension setup that improves body control, and is better suited to isolate smaller bumps to provide a better ride over bumpy trails (or cobblestones, perhaps). The twin-tube shocks have also been revalved, and carry new springs to improve secondary damping.
And inside, there are red accents on selected trim pieces (we’re not entirely sure why), as well as SofTex upholstery. On that, SofTex is said to be lighter but more durable than leather, and match the TRD all-weather floor mats. You’ll also find TRD branding wherever the company could fit it – a special edition is only so if clearly marked as such, after all.
There are no changes under the bonnet, so the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is motivated by a 2.5-litre DynamicForce 4-cylinder petrol mill, putting out 151kW and 249Nm. That power is then sent to all-four wheels via an 8-speed DirectShift transmission, through a Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive (TV-AWD) with Rear Driveline Disconnect (which cuts out the rear wheels to save fuel).