2020 Toyota RAV4, Sequoia TRDs: One Has the Looks, the Other the Goods

03-toyota-rav-4-trd-off-road-2020.jpg 2020 Toyota Rav4 TRD Off Road | photo by Christian Lantry

Crossover SUVs like the 2019 Toyota RAV4 are known for being great on-road conveyances, but most don’t have quite the chops to go any farther off-pavement than rough dirt roads through the woods. That’s OK, though, as owners rarely call upon them for such duties. But it doesn’t hurt sales at all if the crossover looks like it’s ready for the Rubicon Trail.

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Toyota agrees, and it has bestowed upon us at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show the new 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road, a butched-up cute-ute with more aggressive tires, red-painted coil springs, a set of semi-serious off-road shocks, special red-stitched interior trim and unique exterior trim. It should make bumpy dirt roads a bit more tolerable, and the Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires should have more grip in the dirt … but as off-road packages go, this one’s pretty tame, as befits the mid-grade TRD Off-Road trim.

If you’re serious about heading off-road, you want something with Toyota’s most wilderness-capable badge, the TRD Pro. And Toyota is adding to the stable of TRD Pro rigs with the addition of the 2020 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro full-size SUV. The massive seven-passenger, full-size pickup-based SUV gets significant updates to its suspension to make it far more capable in the muck.

Aluminum-bodied Fox off-road shocks, new springs with different rates and a front skid plate helps protect sensitive underbody parts. There are 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels and a new grille up front, flanked by LED headlights. Inside, black leather seats with red stitching, embroidered head restraints and all-weather floormats are standard.

The Sequoia’s 5.7-liter V-8, part-time four-wheel-drive system with locking center differential, and six-speed automatic transmission carry over untouched. The rest of the TRD Pro lineup has proven to be highly capable, and the changes to the Sequoia should be, as well; perhaps it’ll be enough to inject a little interest into the ancient SUV’s lineup. It could use the help – it didn’t finish all that well in our last big full-size SUV comparison test.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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