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

  • Best-in-class electric range
  • 0-62mph in six seconds
  • New entry-level Design model starts from £46,495

The Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid range has been bolstered by the arrival of a new entry-level ‘Design’ trim level. It’s available to order now, with prices starting from £46,495.

Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2023Top 10 best hybrid SUVs 2024

The new Design trim sits beneath the Dynamic and Dynamic Premium models in the RAV4 PHEV lineup, reducing starting price of the car by around £900. The arrival of this new base-model brings the RAV4 PHEV slightly closer to a number of plug-in rivals, including the Ford Kuga PHEV and the Volvo XC60 Recharge hybrid.

2021 Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid: specifications and prices

The RAV4 plug-in hybrid was unveiled in early 2021 and the new Design model becomes the entry point to the range. Starting from £46,495, It comes with a long list of standard equipment including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Inside, a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system is fitted, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An electrically operated tailgate is also standard, alongside safety features like rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

Above this is the Dynamic trim, which gets 19-inch alloys, connected services, heated front and rear seats, plus a fast-charging cable and wireless smartphone charging. Prices for the Dynamic model start from £47,395.

Opting for Dynamic Premium adds extras such as black leather upholstery, ventilated front seats with memory function, a head-up display and a panoramic roof and a nine-speaker premium JBL stereo system. It starts at £50,895.

Like the regular RAV4 hybrid, the plug-in model uses the same 2.5-litre petrol engine, but with a more powerful electric motor and a bigger battery. Toyota has revealed the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid will offer 46 miles of range, 282mpg and official CO2 emissions of just 22g/km, making it eligible for exemption from London Congestion Charge zone charging.

Engines, performance and economy

Combining the electric motor and petrol engine results in a total output of 302bhp, which is roughly the same amount of power as the performance-focused Volkswagen T-Roc R. As a result, acceleration is similarly impressive, with the RAV4 PHEV reaching 62mph in 6.2 seconds. Aside from the Toyota Supra, no other car in Toyota’s current UK line-up is as fast off the line.

The RAV4 plug-in hybrid gets Toyota’s electric four-wheel-drive system, which places a motor on each axle to power both sets of wheels. Regenerative braking is fitted to scoop up the energy lost in braking, and you can control the level of harvesting using two paddles behind the steering wheel. You won’t be able to drive using just the accelerator like you can in some fully electric cars, but the car’s electric range can be topped up while you’re driving.

Design, interior and practicality

To complement its powerful performance, the Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid comes with sportier styling elements, including 18-inch alloy wheels, black trim, a new grille mesh design and a subtly tweaked bodykit.

The sportiness continues inside, with contrasting red stitching on the seats (trimmed in black leather in the range-topping model). The dashboard is carried over from the regular RAV4 but every model gets a new nine-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Despite the batteries being stored underneath the floor, the reduction in boot space is minimal. You’ll have 520 litres to fill with the seats in place, compared to 580 litres for the standard hybrid version.

Read our review of the Toyota RAV4 for more information, or see where it features on our list of best medium-size and family SUVs.

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