Toyota must have known this.
The second they slapped the Adventure badge as a trim designation on the rear of the new RAV4 that someone would put it to a test.
That test began one early Ft Lauderdale morning.
Even in the lack of natural sunlight, the Toyota stood out with its two-tone colour setup, a white roof termed Ice Edge in the brochure, and a magnificent shade called Blue Flame. It all matched perfectly with the black trim pieces around the body.
The roof rails, 19-inch matte black wheels and silver front underbody protection plate all made it a very handsome vehicle.
Entering the RAV4 was just a matter of pulling the door handle with the keys in pocket. The power rear tailgate made loading gear for the trek into the sizeable trunk a breeze. Items that needed to be within reach were swallowed up by the storage options in the cabin.
The soft cossetting electronically adjustable front seats were even better once the heating function was activated. Pressing the start/stop button quietly fired the Toyota to life.
The eight-inch infotainment screen cycled through the Toyota logo before blasting music from some random music station out the JBL stereo. Hard buttons along the side of the screen provided shortcuts to main functions. A twist of the knob had the music lowered.
The next choices were to either connect the cell phone set on the centre console’s wireless charging pad or use the multitude of USB ports around the interior. USB it was.
The RAV4’s navigation screen was way more inviting than the Google Maps phone app, and touching the on-screen voice prompt allowed the intended destination to be spoken in. It was immediately recognized, route calculated and displayed.
Slipping the RAV4 into reverse revealed that the rear-view mirror is actually a video screen too. Not that it’s needed to since the rear parking camera uses the infotainment screen.
Through the city streets and following the navigation prompts led to the famous Interstate 95. South was the direction. Already showing off its Safety Sense 2.0 technology by automatically dimming the lights not just to oncoming traffic on the other side of the road, but to those in front of the vehicle as well. On the four-lane highway, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control took over acceleration and braking duties, matching the speed of traffic at any of the three user-defined distances, and then resuming the set speed when the road was clear.
The Lane Tracing Assist was the most interesting, as when activated the RAV4 would steer itself between clearly marked lanes but requiring hands to still be on the wheel.
I-95 became FL-826 which then turned into the two-lane stretch that is US-1 South. By this time, the 2.5-litre engine and slick-shifting, eight-speed automatic transmission had already consumed much of the 186 miles of travel.
The seat heaters were switched to cooling mode to help the automatic dual climate control counter the heat of the rising sun. The morning’s light streamed in through large windows giving a better view to the quality of the interior materials and styling. Despite its ride height and tyres, the RAV4 presented a serene ride quality, quiet and smooth.
Upon entering the narrow streets of Key West the RAV4, while looking large was nimble enough to find a parking space right near the destination, the southernmost point in the Continental United States.
A few photos wrapped things up quickly. The route back would have been just the same hadn’t the South Florida weather degraded into one of its famous thunderstorms. Not that it ultimately mattered to the RAV4. The auto headlights came on as did the auto wipers. Cocooned in the warmth, safety and refinement of the Toyota’s cabin the all-wheel-drive system offered plenty of confidence in the less than ideal driving conditions.
Over eight inches of ground clearance, anti-lock braking, and Dynamic Torque Vectoring kept the RAV4 tracking true back to the start of the adventure.