But back to the effort to make the RAV4 more distinctive. A big part of that is the driving experience. The TNGA platform yields a 57 percent stiffer structure, a lower center of gravity and a new electric power steering system mounted to the rack as opposed to the column. The result is a compact SUV that’s more involving than the rather indifferent transport pod it replaces. It doesn’t engage like a Mazda CX-5, but there is still an eagerness to its turn-in, and it demonstrates impressive poise.
There are now Normal and Sport modes, but the differences between them were negligible. So too are the differences between the myriad trim levels. We drove all of them, and although the gas-only XLE perhaps felt a bit lighter and more playful, and the sport-tuned XSE Hybrid a bit more caffeinated in its response to inputs, there isn’t a massive gap. That’s just