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In-depth reviews

Toyota RAV4 SUV - Interior & comfort

Plenty of kit and comfort but the infotainment system is a generation behind

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

3.5 out of 5

Interior quality is a highlight for the RAV4, with sturdy materials that might not always be the most stylish in the class, but appear robust and likely to look just as good after a decade of wear. The chunky heater controls are well suited to an SUV and the panoramic rear-view mirror (a camera mounted in the boot) is helpful, if a little strange to get used to at first.

Perhaps the biggest gripe, though, is the infotainment system. Despite a sizeable eight-inch screen which controls the DAB radio, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity, it feels way behind the competition, with poor graphics and a clunky interface. At least you can now bypass Toyota's software by using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay (powered by your smartphone), which was recently added to the RAV4 after it launched.

Toyota RAV4 equipment

As of mid 2023, the RAV4 lineup has been heavily simplified, with just the two mid-range trim levels remaining: Design and Excel. Design models get LED headlights, rear parking sensors, a 10.25-inch infotainment display, rear-view camera and DAB Radio, as well as 18-inch wheels, keyless entry, a powered tailgate, front parking sensors and sat nav. 

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Your next step is then to Excel trim, which gets a heated steering wheel, adds power adjustable driver and passenger seats, black leather upholstery, and upgrades the headlights to projector LEDs. There used to be a GR Sport trim above this with slightly sportier styling on top of the Excel’s equipment, but has been discontinued for the standard hybrid model, although it’s still available on the plug-in hybrid RAV4.

While GR Sport doesn’t make the RAV4 a sports car in the same vein as those from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division, it does get several of the Excel’s equipment features, plus paddle shifters to let you take control of virtual gear ratios, special Alcantara seat upholstery, 19-inch GR Sport alloy wheels, a mesh grille, and other sporty touches.

Options

Buyers can add a panoramic sunroof to both the Excel and GR Sport models, while all RAV4 variants can be optioned with a choice of either saddle brown and black, or grey and black leather trim. The Excel gets further leather trim options in either grey or beige, while metallic paint is optional on all bar the GR Sport, which has its own distinctive two-tone finishes. The entry-level Icon can be specified with the navigation upgrade fitted as standard to the other three trim lines.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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