In-depth reviews

Toyota RAV4 SUV review

"The hybrid-only Toyota RAV4 will appeal to company-car drivers and its striking design helps it stand out in a busy class”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Low CO2 emissions
  • Bold new looks
  • Functional interior

Cons

  • Poor infotainment system
  • Limited model range
  • No seven-seat option

The Toyota RAV4 has transformed from a rather dull wallflower into a striking SUV with hints of the bold Toyota C-HR crossover. Not only does it look far more interesting, but the RAV4 is now only available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Aside from picking a colour and trim level, your only choices when buying a RAV4 are whether to go for front or four-wheel drive, or the plug-in option, although the latter is considerably more expensive. Fuel economy of over 45mpg is possible for the hybrid, which is sure to impress private buyers, and company-car drivers will appreciate the low CO2 emissions figures across the RAV4 range, which place the car in the mid-range Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) bandings.

The plug-in hybrid RAV4 is in another league again when it comes to efficiency figures, managing up to 282.5mpg with CO2 emissions of just 22g/km. You'll need to keep its battery topped up to achieve anything close to this but it's impressive nonetheless. The Japanese firm has now revealed a RAV4-sized electric SUV called the bZ4X, if you want zero-emission driving with a Toyota badge.

The slightly anonymous design of the previous RAV4 has been replaced by boxy wheel arches, a squared-off nose with an aggressively large grille, and an abundance of angular slashes and edges in the bodywork. In standard trim, silver bodywork accents give the car a typically rugged SUV look, with higher trim level models getting a blacked-out roof and door pillars.

Toyota has smartened up the car’s styling for 2022, with a new headlight design, a refreshed grille and blockier fog light surrounds. A new Adventure trim is also being introduced, with rugged styling cues borrowed from the Toyota Hilux pickup truck.

While the design of the new RAV4 is potentially divisive, it's certainly more appealing and less anonymous than the old car. The RAV4 did need to stand out more than it did before, particularly when the competition, including the Skoda Karoq, Ford Kuga, BMW X3, Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008, makes the class so strong.

While not as daring, the inside of the RAV4 is perfectly suited to family life thanks to sturdy materials and excellent quality, along with neat touches like rubberised rotary controls. The entry-level Icon trim has plenty of features but the eight-inch infotainment system is one of the RAV4's biggest disappointments. It has somewhat outdated graphics, and a poor interface, but at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration has now been added, to avoid putting some buyers off the car entirely.

The Toyota wins back points for practicality, with a powered hatchback, fitted with the Design trim and above, revealing a sizeable 580-litre boot. A stretched interior also means adults will be able to travel more comfortably in the back, even if the RAV4 is smaller than the huge Skoda Kodiaq and lacks a seven-seat option. What might sweeten the appeal of the RAV4 further is Toyota’s class-leading ‘Relax’ warranty, which provides cover for up to 10 years and 100,000 miles.

See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric.

Recommended

Top 10 best sports and performance SUVs 2022
Cupra Formentor
Best cars
12 Aug 2022

Top 10 best sports and performance SUVs 2022

Vauxhall Mokka SUV review
2021 Vauxhall Mokka - front 3/4 dynamic
In-depth reviews
11 Aug 2022

Vauxhall Mokka SUV review

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
Best cars
11 Aug 2022

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022

MINI Convertible review
Best Convertible: MINI Convertible
In-depth reviews
10 Aug 2022

MINI Convertible review

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
MG HS
Deals
12 Aug 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Top 10 best electric family cars 2022
MG ZS EV - front
Best cars
8 Aug 2022

Top 10 best electric family cars 2022

Kia EV4 SUV to take on the Volvo XC40 Recharge
2024 Kia EV4 - front
News
5 Aug 2022

Kia EV4 SUV to take on the Volvo XC40 Recharge

More on RAV4

Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2022
Hero
Best cars
15 Jul 2022

Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2022

Hybrid SUVs and 4x4s can be as cheap to run as family hatchbacks, yet also offer lots more space. Here are 10 of our favourites.
Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2022
Hero
Best cars
20 Apr 2022

Top 10 best plug-in hybrids 2022

The best plug-in hybrids offer good electric range, low running costs and strong performance
Top 10 best used SUVs 2022
Skoda Karoq - front 3/4 view
Best cars
12 Apr 2022

Top 10 best used SUVs 2022

Want to find an affordable SUV? Check out our list of the top 10 best used SUVs available.
New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Toyota RAV4
14 Sep 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed

New RAV4 model introduces Toyota’s 2022 upgrades for its rival to the Hyundai Tucson
Toyota RAV4 PHEV lineup expanded with new entry-level Design model
Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota RAV4
26 May 2021

Toyota RAV4 PHEV lineup expanded with new entry-level Design model

The Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid combines hot hatch performance and 46 miles of electric range
New Suzuki Across plug-in hybrid SUV starts at £45,599
Suzuki
20 Oct 2020

New Suzuki Across plug-in hybrid SUV starts at £45,599

The Suzuki Across is a rebadged Toyota RAV4 PHEV with 46-mile range
New Toyota RAV4 Black Edition joins range in October
Toyota RAV4 SUV
31 Jul 2020

New Toyota RAV4 Black Edition joins range in October

Special edition RAV4 goes on sale in October with darkened styling and trim
Top 3 used comfortable SUVs for £9,000
Renault Kadjar SUV
27 Apr 2020

Top 3 used comfortable SUVs for £9,000

“Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for a medium-sized SUV that’s comfortable and relaxing to drive, what can you recommend for £9,000?”
Top 3 low-emission SUVs for £500 a month
Audi e-tron SUV
1 Nov 2019

Top 3 low-emission SUVs for £500 a month

“Dear Carbuyer, I want a low-emission SUV that is family friendly and well-equipped. What does £500 a month buy me?”
Toyota RAV4 SUV 2019: price, specification and on-sale date
Toyota RAV4
27 Feb 2019

Toyota RAV4 SUV 2019: price, specification and on-sale date

The all-new Toyota RAV4 has arrived, starting at £29,635
Toyota RAV4 SUV (2013-2019)
Toyota RAV4 SUV
2 Jan 2019

Toyota RAV4 SUV (2013-2019)

"The Toyota RAV4 is a practical and well equipped SUV that's affordable to run and comes with a reassuring warranty"
2018 Toyota RAV4 to gain hybrid power across range
Toyota RAV4 hybrid
22 Sep 2017

2018 Toyota RAV4 to gain hybrid power across range

RAV4 Hybrid – previously reserved for plusher models – is now offered with all trim levels
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review (2013-2018)
Toyota RAV4 hybrid
7 Aug 2017

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review (2013-2018)

“The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is practical and safe, but its small battery puts it at a serious disadvantage next to plug-in hybrid SUVs”
Skoda Superb crowned best new car to own
Skoda Yeti SUV
7 Jun 2017

Skoda Superb crowned best new car to own

The results are in for Carbuyer’s Driver Power survey and it’s a one-two finish for Skoda, with Lexus scooping bronze
Toyota RAV4 recall: Over 48,000 UK cars affected
Toyota RAV4 SUV
18 Feb 2016

Toyota RAV4 recall: Over 48,000 UK cars affected

Toyota is recalling 48,616 UK examples of the RAV4 SUV for a seatbelt problem
Toyota RAV4 hybrid SUV revealed
Toyota RAV4 SUV
7 Apr 2015

Toyota RAV4 hybrid SUV revealed

A hybrid version of the Toyota RAV4 small SUV shown to public at New York Motor Show
Toyota RAV4 Business Edition revealed
Toyota RAV4 SUV
20 Jan 2015

Toyota RAV4 Business Edition revealed

A new Business Edition trim is added to the RAV4 as part of a package of updates to the SUV range
Toyota Yaris and RAV4 among 35k recalled cars
Toyota Yaris hatchback
9 Apr 2014

Toyota Yaris and RAV4 among 35k recalled cars

Toyota Yaris, RAV4, Hilux and Urban Cruiser models recalled amid safety concerns
Toyota RAV4 SUV (2006-2012)
Toyota RAV4 SUV
28 Jun 2013

Toyota RAV4 SUV (2006-2012)

“The RAV4 is a solidly built and reliable family car with lots of space and decent off-road capability.”      

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022