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

Used car deals
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.

Aside from picking a colour and trim level, your only choice when buying a RAV4 is whether to go for front or four-wheel drive. Fuel economy of over 45mpg is possible, 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 BiK bandings.

The slightly anonymous design of the previous RAV4 has been replaced by boxy wheel arches, a squared-off nose with an aggressively large grille, and an abundance of angular slashes and edges in the bodywork.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.

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 Kodiaq, 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 It has somewhat outdated graphics, and a poor interface, but at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration has now been added, to avoid putting some buyers off the car entirely.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.

See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric.

Most Popular

Cupra Formentor SUV review
Cupra Formentor SUV front 3/4 cornering
Cupra Formentor
13 Oct 2020

Cupra Formentor SUV review

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k
Volkswagen ID.3 - front 3/4 view - 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Volkswagen ID.3
14 Oct 2020

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k

Audi Q8 gains plug-in hybrid versions with 28-mile electric range
Audi Q8
14 Oct 2020

Audi Q8 gains plug-in hybrid versions with 28-mile electric range

More on RAV4

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
302bhp Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid to launch in spring 2021
Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota RAV4
24 Sep 2020

302bhp Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid to launch in spring 2021

The Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid combines hot hatch performance and 46 miles of electric 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.”