The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road sits at the top of the RAV4 lineup as the most expensive and most capable model in the mix. Rather than apply some chunky tires and black fender liners and call it rugged, Toyota leaned into their TRD Off-Road bag of tricks to give the RAV4 some genuine credibility when off the beaten path.

The most noticeable difference between the RAV4 TRD Off-Road and other more pedestrian RAV4s are the broader fender flares and more aggressive Falken Wildpeak 255/60R18 all-terrain tires. The front and rear fascia are new, along with a new grille treatment. One look at the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, and you know it’s itching to take the occupants up a mountain pass or down a forest fire road to the campsite by the lake. Thankfully the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is just as well suited to the street since that’s where most of these will spend their days.

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road also gets a unique suspension featuring twin-tube shocks, red springs (which somehow has become the off-road color of choice in springs), and bump stops configured to give more control on uneven surfaces. Surprisingly, there is no additional ground clearance, nor are there any skid plates or other underside armor, so tread lightly and avoid rocky terrain.

Power for the RAV4 TRD Off-Road comes from the 203-horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque, 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine. This engine can be found in other Toyota applications and does a great job of powering the RAV4. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and shifts smoothly with little intrusion.

Power is delivered to all four wheels via a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system with user-selectable drive modes for different terrain encounters. This all-wheel-drive system can split power up to 50% to the rear axle and can disconnect the rear drivetrain entirely to improve fuel economy. Fuel economy is EPA rated at 25 city/32 highway/27 combined.

The interior of the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is a nice place to spend time on the road. Seats are comfortable, and I particularly love the synthetic SofTex seating surfaces. These seats are more comfortable than traditional leather and are made out of renewable materials.

Standard on the TRD models are rubber floor mats front and rear, which are important for anyone who has ever been off-road. Being able to remove the mats and hose the dirt off after a trek to the beach or the campsite is invaluable.

Our tester came equipped with the $1,015 TRD Off-Road Weather Package, which includes a heated steering wheel, ventilated and heated front seats, and rain-sensing wipers.

Rear-seat accommodations in the RAV4 are a little on the tight side for adults over six-foot-tall, but not terrible. Cargo space is EPA rated at 37.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 69.8 cubic feet with the rear seat down. The cargo load floor is low, which makes it easy to load and unload cargo.

Interior controls are a good mix of physical knobs and buttons that put all functions at easy reach. The RAV4 has a great mix of technology for all occupants and features five USB ports across the seating layout. Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay functionality come standard.

Our tester featured a $1,620 Premium Audio package, which includes an 8-inch touch screen, 11-speaker JBL sound system, and voice recognition.

Our tester also came equipped with a $1,950 TRD Off-Road Technology Package. This package includes front and rear park assist, automatic braking, Homelink, and a 360-degree camera. The 360-degree camera is terribly low-resolution and really should be better on a car sold in 2020. A wireless charging port is also included, but my iPhone 11 Max Pro, in a case, didn’t even come close to fitting in the charging slot.

All 2020 RAV4s include Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes adaptive cruise control (impressive for a vehicle of this price), lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road has a starting price of $35,180, and our RAV4 tester had a price-as-tested of $41,385, including destination. That’s quite a bit of money for a vehicle that competes with the Honda CR-V’s likes and even the Subaru Forester at that price.

There’s something to be said, though, for Toyota’s legendary reliability, build quality, and, in this case, the RAV4’s rugged good looks. I’m not entirely convinced the TRD model is the best RAV4 to buy, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything in the 2020 RAV4 lineup.

Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Toyta for review

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Zerin Dube