Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review & Prices

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a practical family SUV that has a roomy cabin, plenty of standard equipment and an economical hybrid system, but alternatives have tech that’s easier to use

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RRP £39,885 - £50,310 Avg. Carwow saving £2,693 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Practical cabin with good passenger space
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Hybrid comes as standard

What's not so good

  • Some scratchy cabin plastics
  • Awkward and noisy CVT gearbox
  • No through-loading from boot to rear seat

Find out more about the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Is the Toyota RAV4 a good car?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is an affordable family SUV with a spacious cabin and a big boot.

No one really thinks of the RAV4 as a trailblazer, but rumour has it that Adam and Eve learned to drive in one. Basically, back in 1994 it was the first of the small ‘leisure SUVs’ which these days are seen on just about every street in the UK.

The RAV4 Hybrid now has a wide range of alternatives, such as the Honda CR-V and VW Tiguan, but in its latest form stands out from these cars thanks to its super-angular looks.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a mishmash of creases, angular shapes and blunt surfaces whichever angle you approach from. Its gaping octagonal grille looks more like it belongs on a menacing sports saloon than a practical family runabout. You might like it, but your neighbour might not, or vice-versa. In any case, it’s certainly striking.

Sadly (or not, depending on your view) the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is less daring inside. It combines simple surfaces, clean lines and posh-looking metal-effect trims that look pretty understated and rather classy and most of the surfaces you’ll touch regularly feel plush and sturdy. There are some scratchy plastics however and it’s not quite as solid-feeling as a Volkswagen Tiguan. Still, it looks much more exciting than a Honda CR-V.

One area needing improvement is the infotainment system, an update added much-needed features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it’s still really starting to show its age now.

The seats are very supportive; in mid-range models, you get lumbar support and plenty of electric adjustment that means even taller folk will find space to stretch out.

The striking Toyota RAV4 makes a good alternative to the crop of humdrum family SUVs – especially if you rank practicality and running costs above sporty handling

If you’re designated driver for a burly five-a-side football team, then everyone will fit in just fine and even entry-level cars will allow you to recline the rear seat backs by a few degrees.

You won’t break a sweat fitting a child seat either, as the ISOFIX points are easy to find and a wide opening and flat floor means sliding things into the Toyota RAV4’s boot is an easy task.

There is more room than the boot in the Honda CR-V and, even though there are no levers in the boot to do so, you can flip the back seats down flat to carry really big stuff – such as a bike.

The simplicity extends to the engine range and driving experience, too. The only engine option in this range is a hybrid system (although there is a plug-in hybrid reviewed separately) and this lets you cruise almost silently around town using just the power of its electric motor. You get an automatic gearbox as standard, too.

The downside of the auto ‘box is that it makes the 2.5-litre petrol engine rev loudly every time you put your foot down. It’s reasonably quiet when you’re cruising at motorway speeds, though, and the RAV4 irons out bumps pretty well, too. As an added bonus, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting close to Toyota’s top claimed fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg.

The relaxation stakes are further upped by the driver assistance features that make the Toyota RAV4 relaxing to drive for long periods and help prevent avoidable accidents – perfect if you’re looking for a safe family SUV that’s easy to live with every day. If you are after something that offers a touch of entertainment then the SEAT Ateca is more fun to drive, though.

By going hybrid the RAV4 has taken a few more small steps for mankind and if it sounds like your next car, take a look at the latest Toyota RAV4 deals, or get offers on our favourite model – the hybrid model in Design spec. If you're interested in the plug-in version, we also have a range of new Toyota RAV4 PHEV deals available. There are also some great used Toyota RAV4 cars in stock.

How much is the Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a RRP range of £39,885 to £50,310. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,693. Prices start at £37,357 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £385. The price of a used Toyota RAV4 Hybrid on Carwow starts at £18,995.

Our most popular versions of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid are:

Model version Carwow price from
2.5 VVT-i Hybrid Design 5dr CVT 2WD £37,357 Compare offers

The Toyota RAV4 sits at the pricier end of the medium-sized SUV spectrum costing a few thousand pounds more than the base Honda CR-V; both are self-charging hybrids but the RAV4 is better equipped and a tad quicker. 

The VW Tiguan is even cheaper than the CR-V, but the entry-level model has a 130hp petrol engine that is both thirstier and much slower than the RAV4. Higher-spec Tiguans offer a similar spec/performance ratio as the RAV4, although there is no self-charging hybrid in the range, only a pricey plug-in hybrid version. The RAV4 is also available as a separate plug-in hybrid model.

Offering striking looks, a good level of standard equipment and the benefits of a hybrid powertrain, the RAV4 offers the most value in mid-spec Design trim.

Performance and drive comfort

The Toyota RAV4 is quiet, refined and economical in most situations. There’s plenty of driver aid, too, but the engine gets rather vocal if you are pressing on

In town

The RAV4 has an elevated driving position, thin windscreen pillars and light controls, all translating into a competent city driving experience. A mid-sized SUV is never going to be as agile as a little city car around town, but driver aids like Brake Assist, Road Sign Assist, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera go some way to making your daily commute less stressful.

The comfort level is good over rougher patches of road, and the hybrid engine allows you to use the electric motor for much of your low-speed city driving. 

On the motorway

The well-insulated interior and smooth drivetrain help make the Toyota RAV4 a consummate motorway cruiser. There’s precious little tyre noise and only some minor wind whistle from the door mirrors. However, the CVT automatic transmission will have the engine mooing away unhappily as it hangs onto the revs whenever you need some extra power.

At steady speed cruising, it settles down into a distant hum, although like most so-called ‘self-charging’ hybrids you won’t get much electric driving range at motorway speeds. 

All trims come standard with driver attention alert, adaptive cruise control, lane trace assist and lane departure alert, while the comfortable seats and airy interior will keep your passengers happy.

On a twisty road

This is not the vehicle for you if an engaging driving experience is a top priority. Few SUVs are, but the RAV4 feels competent enough around corners exhibiting minimal body lean and offering decent grip levels. The SEAT Ateca or Ford Kuga are more fun on a winding road, but the RAV4 is more composed over bumpy roads – arguably the better compromise in this class.

Space and practicality

The RAV4 will take four adults and their luggage without a problem. The boot is also generously proportioned, but only higher specs get electric seat adjustment and lumbar support

The front seats in the RAV4 are comfortable and offer tons of adjustment (although height adjustment for the passenger is only available on the Excel trim), and head and leg room are impressive, too. You’ll have to pay up for the Excel or Dynamic trim before you get electric seat adjustment and lumbar support for the driver, though. The steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach on all trims.

There’s plenty of storage for personal effects, the front door bins will take large water bottles without a problem, and the central armrest opens up to reveal a further storage area. A wireless charging tray is situated just ahead of the gear lever, with a pair of cupholders just behind it. A little slot below the driver’s side air vent is the perfect spot for wallets, and a little tray in the centre console will take loose keys and coins.

Space in the back seats

The rear seats offer above-average space for taller passengers, and the rear seatbacks can tilt backwards – even if only a little. The two outer seats are comfortable and supportive, although the central pew is narrower and not as comfortable for longer trips. It’s wide enough back there so that three adults won’t have to rub shoulders the whole time, and there’s plenty of space for bulky baby seats, too. The ISOFIX mounting points are hidden behind some fabric padding, so it can be a fiddle to clip them in, though.

Boot space

Luggage capacity is great for the class. The RAV4 offers 580 litres with all five seats in place, and 1,189 litres with the rear row folded flat. Load it all the way to the roofline and you can pack 1,690 litres of flat pack furniture in there.

To put things into perspective, the Volkswagen Tiguan offers 520 litres, although this can expand up to 615 litres with its rear seats pushed forward (there won’t be any rear legroom left, though). The Peugeot 3008 has 520 litres while the Mazda CX-5 offers a slightly lower 506 litres. 

Aside from the impressive luggage space, the RAV4’s boot is flat and wide, with an adjustable boot floor and a handy flippable floor section that can be wiped clean. Shopping hooks and an elasticated net let you secure smaller items, too. You don’t get a ski hatch and the rear seats only offer a 60:40 split, but those are about the only negative points here.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The interior feels well-made and is sensibly laid out. The infotainment system really needs an upgrade though, and some materials could be better

The RAV4’s interior feels solidly put together and has plenty of soft touch plastics around the cabin. The grab handles and the areas around the glovebox and centre armrest still feature some cheap-and-nasty looking plastic trim, which is not something you get in most similarly priced alternatives.

There are four trim levels to choose from, namely Icon, Design, Excel and Dynamic. Leather is available on the upper trims, as is electric adjustment and heating for the front seats and steering wheel. Only the Excel trim offers a memory function for the driver and electric controls for the front passenger, though.

The restrained interior styling will appeal to consumers looking for a more traditional cabin layout, but the outdated infotainment system sticks out of the dashboard like a big electronic sore thumb.

The base Icon trim gets an 8.0-inch version of Toyota’s touch 2 media system. It now comes with the basic necessities like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity, but it lags behind more modern systems in useability, responsiveness and graphic quality. But on the plus side, it features a row of useful shortcut buttons down either side of the screen, and the climate control is still accessed via rotary controls on the dashboard.

The Design trim gets navigation thrown in, although you can use the standard smartphone connectivity to use your phone’s navigation app. You also get front parking sensors, keyless entry and an electrically operated boot with this trim.

Move up to the Excel and Dynamic grade to get access to the optional and rather impressive JBL Premium Sound System. Some other notable interior features are leather (or partially leather) interior trim and ambient lighting in the cup holders and around the glovebox and door bins.

A 7.0-inch driver information screen is standard on all trims. It’s placed in the driver’s binnacle between two analogue dials and offers up various driver-related bits of info while on the move. A neat feature 10 years ago, but behind the times in a world of fully digital and configurable driver displays.

MPG, emissions and tax

Unlike the majority of its mid-sized SUV alternatives, the Toyota RAV4 hybrid comes with just one engine option, although there is also a separate plug-in hybrid RAV4. It is a 2.5-litre petrol engine paired with an electric motor, and together they produce 215hp which is sent via a CVT automatic transmission to the front wheels. 

It can drive for short periods purely on the electrical energy stored in the battery pack and will deliver up to 50.4mpg in mixed driving conditions. CO2 emissions are 126g/km. Being a self-charging hybrid means you won’t need to plug it in either, the car does that for you whenever you brake or use the petrol engine.

The 0-62mph time is a decent 8.4 seconds, although it is accompanied by a strained mooing sound from the engine bay thanks to the CVT transmission’s tendency to keep the engine revs at a predetermined optimum point. Apart from traffic light sprints, the self-charging hybrid motor is smooth and refined, and is both quicker and more frugal than the Honda CR-V’s 184hp self-charging setup.

In fact, only the diesel-powered offerings found in the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca offer similar fuel economy. What most alternatives do have, though, are more powerful engine options.

An all-wheel-drive layout is also available on the three upper trims, offering improved grip but slightly worse fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg and 130g/km of CO2 emissions. Performance claims are identical to the front-wheel-drive version.

Safety and security

The RAV4 was awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2019. It received a 93% adult occupant rating, and 87% for child safety. 

Safety assists were rated at 77% and every trim gets the Toyota Safety Sense 2 system which includes adaptive cruise control, lane trace assist and a pre-collision system. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard too, with front parking sensors and keyless entry fitted to the higher three trim levels.

Reliability and problems

The Toyota RAV4 should provide many miles of problem-free driving. Most owner reviews have scored it highly on reliability and commented favourably on its low running costs. There have been three recalls on the RAV4, these have been for potential issues with the brake booster pump, emergency calling system and front suspension arms.

Toyota offers a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty for the RAV4, and a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty for the hybrid components. If you service your car each year or 12,000 miles (whichever occurs soonest) at a Toyota authorised repairer, you will get an additional 12-month/10,000-mile warranty up to a maximum of 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Buy or lease the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £39,885 - £50,310 Avg. Carwow saving £2,693 off RRP
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