Feb 28, 2020 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: Toyota 2020 RAV4

Off-roading in Sedona in the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD. Photo: Bill Rapai/Axios

Last week in Sedona, Arizona, we spent time trail-driving in Toyota's new 2020 RAV4 TRD off-road model.

Why it matters: I don't always get to try out a vehicle's full capability during a short press loan. This was a rare opportunity to get off the beaten highway.

The big picture: The RAV4, America's top-selling crossover, is the latest Toyota model to get its TRD (Toyota Racing Development) package inspired by the brand's off-road and desert racing history.

Details: With an 8.6-inch ground clearance, its suspension, wheels and tires are engineered specifically for trail driving.

  • A knob on the center console lets the driver choose between terrains: Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, or Snow.
  • But even in normal highway driving, the RAV4 was comfortable and smooth — a great family hauler with tons of cargo space.
  • The TRD package includes a helpful 360° bird's-eye view camera in low-speed drive and reverse to ensure you don't clip a rock — or a curb.
  • And I adored the RAV4's two-tone "Lunar Rock/Ice Edge" matte paint job.
  • The TRD off-road model starts at $35,180; our test model was priced at $42,902.

In Sedona, we explored several trails, carefully crawling over red rock shelf on Schnebly Road until the trail got more challenging.

  • Later we kicked up some dirt on the dusty trails in the Coconino National Forest, terrain that seemed more suited to the RAV4's capability.

The bottom line: I spent $12 on an "ultimate" car wash at the end of the week, but it was worth every penny. Sometimes, it's still fun to drive.

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