I think a big part of the crossover appeal isn’t that they’re just lifted wagons that are easy to get into, but that they often look rugged and outdoorsy, all about plundering nature on an individual level. They’re not true SUVs, but if they look the part, people can still buy into that image. Evidently that’s the route designers went with the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

Granted, Toyota probably didn’t need to make the new RAV4 look like anything; it sells 30,000 to 40,000 a month in America alone, making it one of the top-selling cars in the country and in the entire lineup. The RAV4 prints money, basically, making this probably the most important car debuting at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

But it looks somewhat interesting this time around, kind of. It embraces a 4Runner-ish, trucklike, butch look that belies the Toyota New Global Architecture platform it rides on, same as the Camry and other cars. It is bigger than the car it replaces, having a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase and being half an inch wider, despite being shorter overall.

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For the record, I don’t mind how it looks, especially in these two-tone paint jobs. I don’t know if it needed weeks of teasing, but it’s solid.

You get two powertrain options here: a 2.5-liter inline-four with an eight-speed auto, or hybrid version of the same engine with a CVT. No power or fuel economy stats have been disclosed yet.

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Here’s the fun-ish part: the RAV4 Adventure variant, which comes with a more aggressive grille and fog lamps, standard all-wheel drive with torque vectoring and terrain select mode, overfenders and roof-rails. That actually looks like it could be a good time, under the right circumstances.

The new RAV4 goes on sale at the end of 2018, and the hybrid version drops early next year.

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