A bold face and big fenders visually reinforce the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road’s rugged capabilities. (Toyota)

A bold face and big fenders visually reinforce the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road’s rugged capabilities. (Toyota)

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road gives lineup extra trail cred

The newest model to join Toyota’s compact SUV family builds on the existing RAV4 Adventure model.

Toyota presented a fully remodeled RAV4 compact SUV for 2019, and then added a TRD Off-Road model to the RAV4 lineup for 2020.

The TRD Off-Road is based on the existing RAV4 Adventure model, which was previously the most trail-worthy in the group with its 8.6 inches of ground clearance and a more advanced all-wheel drive system than the other models.

TRD Off-Road also shares the Adventure’s appearance traits, including tall roof rails, big fenders, and burly bumpers, grille, and fog light surrounds.

The place where Adventure and TRD Off-Road go separate ways and TRD Off-Road takes the road less traveled is in the suspension, wheels, and tires. TRD Off-Road’s suspension is tuned for better body control and less jarring over bumps on trails as well as streets. TRD Off-Road gets 18-inch matte-black alloy wheels wrapped with Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires with squared shoulders and a Severe Snow rating. Cool TRD badging completes the package.

This new RAV4 is at home on more rugged ground than the other models in the lineup, but it is not equipped for extreme or even sort of extreme off-roading involving things like rock crawling. Don’t even think about it.

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road has a roomy interior with comfortable seats and lots of places for small-item stowage. (Toyota)

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road has a roomy interior with comfortable seats and lots of places for small-item stowage. (Toyota)

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the TRD Off-Road, providing 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic. It’s the same powertrain used throughout the current RAV4 lineup, and is a good match for this small SUV. Acceleration is not instantaneous, but the power is punchy enough to make you forget about that tiny delay.

The EPA rating is a respectable 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined.

Standard features on the TRD Off-Road include a full complement of safety and driver assistance technologies, LED headlights and LED fog lights, an infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio, SiriusXM radio, and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

My tester was embellished to the tune of $6,207 in options, whose spendiest contributors were TRD Off-Road weather and technology packages, and a premium JBL audio system with 11 speakers, navigation, and an 8-inch touchscreen.

The specially tuned suspension of the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road provides better control and less jarring off-road as well as on the highway. (Toyota)

The specially tuned suspension of the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road provides better control and less jarring off-road as well as on the highway. (Toyota)

The TRD Off-Road interior provides plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Even those occupying the rear seat are given lots of consideration, and the cargo area with those seats in upright position still provides 37.5 cubic feet of space. There are multiple handy places up front for stowing smaller items.

Seats are comfortable, and covered in SofTex, a better-than-leather material. Red stitching provides a special touch for the TRD Off-Road model.

2020 TOYOTA RAV4 TRD OFF-ROAD

Base price, including destination charge: $36,300

Price as driven: $42,507

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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