Toyota RAV4 review

29 Jul 2021

It’s time to say goodbye to the stereotypical gas-guzzling planet-polluting SUV’s, the Toyota RAV4 is here! The new Toyota hybrid is stylish, reliable and pumps out less CO2 than most city-dwelling small cars. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. This relatively large SUV really is one of the most efficient cars in its class. 

With a hybrid, for those who have never driven one, you fill it up with petrol in the normal way, but there’s also an electric motor to share the effort and cut fuel consumption. These modern alternatives to fuel-powered motors are a great step towards reducing your impact on the environment. There are two running options available: 
1) To run it as a plain hybrid that charges up as you drive 
2) or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), which gives you the option to plug it in for a much longer electric-only range.
This latest release from Toyota is the fifth generation of the RAV4 and they have ripped up its rulebook on conservative styling for this motor. The RAV4 is sharp-edged with square-wheel arches that stand out compared to the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan. Although the RAV4 is a pretty small seller in the UK, it does hold real significance around the globe. Back in 2017, the hybrid was the fourth best-selling car on the planet – and the best-selling SUV of them all.

What is the interior like? 

The materials that make up the upper surfaces look smart and feel plush. Compared to cars like the Honda CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 feels more upmarket inside. The dashboard is slick, smooth and modern. The layout is functional however, some may find the extra buttons low down between the steering wheel and the door hard to find without taking your eyes off the road. 
More good news, it’s spacious! Drivers of all shapes and sizes are well catered for in terms of head and legroom in the Toyota RAV4. With this fifth generation, you will find a wide interior so you won’t feel your passenger encroaching into your personal space. 
The Toyota RAV4 has a bigger boot than most of its rivals. In tests, the hybrid’s boot has fit an impressive 10 carry-on suitcases below its tonneau cover. For reference, that's the same as the Peugeot 5008. Of course, you’re able to fold down the rear seats when you need extra space. This enormous load bay is perfect for a trip to the tip or a family holiday. 

How does it drive? 

The good thing about having an electric motor and a petrol engine is that they work in unison. This means acceleration isn’t too shabby and overtaking is a breeze. 
“When the twin e-motors Megazord with the unremarkable 2.5-litre non-turbo petrol engine, the result is a heady 302bhp” (Source:
The two-wheel-drive model can do 0-60mph in 8.4sec while the four-wheel drive is fractionally quicker. We do think that it is worth noting that the front-wheel-drive RAV4’s 800kg maximum towing capacity is rather weak. 
Large SUVs are known for being relatively fun to drive, unfortunately, hybrids don’t tend to handle as tidily as pure petrol or diesel SUVs. Due to the Toyota RAV 4’s greater weight, it can cause it to roll into corners more than other SUV’s. It doesn't have a great deal of grip compared with rivals, either, although the four-wheel-drive models have a bit more traction in slippery conditions. Luckily, the RAV4 is a quiet drive when at a gentle cruise and in stop-start traffic

Our final thoughts

The RAV4 has received an excellent rating from Euro NCAP. Not only does it get the full five stars overall, but the Toyota has received some of the highest in the class — better than nearly all of its rivals. 
The safety rating, along with the impressive low emissions and spacious interior, make this SUV an ideal family car.
If you are looking for the Toyota RAV4 to be your next family car, see our range of leases here or contact the team today. 

*Image credit - Toyota Press Centre