New Toyota RAV4 GR Sport is a racing-inspired family SUV

New sporty trim level for Toyota’s RAV4 hybrid family SUV gets an aggressive bodykit and subtle handling tweaks

  • Sporty bodykit with two-tone roof
  • Tuned suspension
  • Due on sale towards the end of 2022

After the release of the Corolla GR Sport and C-HR GR Sport, Toyota’s hybrid family SUV is the latest to receive a Gazoo Racing-inspired trim level. The new Toyota RAV4 GR Sport sits at the top of the RAV4 lineup and features a racy bodykit as well as tuned suspension and a high level of standard equipment.

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

Pricing for the new car is yet to be revealed, but we expect it to start from around £42,000 when it goes on sale towards the end of 2022. The RAV4 GR Sport will be available in both self-charging hybrid and plug-in hybrid form and is set to rival the likes of other sporty-looking SUVs such as the Ford Kuga ST-Line and the Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line.

Like BMW’s M Sport trim, the GR Sport specification brings several visual upgrades over the standard RAV4. The GR Sport gets gloss black body cladding – which is usually matte-black plastic on lower-spec cars – as well as a two-tone roof. GR Sport also introduces a tweaked black grille, stamped with the Gazoo Racing logo, and a set of 19-inch model-specific gloss black alloy wheels.

On the inside, you’ll immediately notice the RAV4 GR Sport’s figure-hugging sports seats. Wrapped in leather and suede, these have the GR logo embossed into the headrest and should be grippier than the ones found in the standard RAV4. Other interior upgrades include plenty of gunmetal trim, plus Toyota’s top-of-the-range infotainment setup; this comprises a 10.5-inch touchscreen alongside a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

In keeping with Gazoo Racing’s rally heritage, the RAV4 GR Sport will only be available with all-wheel-drive – something that isn’t replicated by the smaller Yaris Cross GR Sport, which only comes in front-driven form. Toyota also claims it has tweaked the RAV4’s suspension for a sportier drive, which should help it keep up with sharper-handling rivals such as the Mazda CX-5.

What does this mean for car buyers?

Toyota realises not everyone is able to live with or get their hands on the critically-acclaimed GR Yaris hot hatchback and the RAV4 GR Sport should appeal to those who like that car’s sporty styling but need a lot more practicality. The only thing that could affect sales is a high starting price of over £40,000 – a GT-Line Kia Sportage costs from just over £30,000, though this doesn’t come as standard with a hybrid powertrain. Hopefully, Toyota will offer the new sporty RAV4 with compelling finance deals to bring in even more buyers. Its 10-year ‘Relax’ warranty also provides a solid reason to buy into the brand.

Looking for a family car that can provide real thrills? Check out our list of the top 10 best sports and performance SUVs

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