Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
There are certainly cheaper options, including the Mazda CX-5 and Peugeot 5008. However, the RAV4 is priced broadly in line with its closest rival, the Honda CR-V Hybrid and undercuts the Kia Sorento by a healthy margin. Plug-in hybrid models are the most expensive by far, costing considerably more than a Citröen C5 Aircross Hybrid or a Ford Kuga PHEV. However, there are many other four-wheel drive plug-ins that cost a similar amount including the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 and the Suzuki Across, which is closely related to the RAV4.
The extra technology in hybrid cars, especially plug-ins, makes them more expensive to build, so this isn't surprising. Besides, you'll make some of that cost back in fuel savings; in our What Car? True MPG tests, the two-wheel-drive RAV4 hybrid achieved a combined MPG of 49mpg. In the same test, the smaller 2.2-litre diesel unit in the Mazda CX-5 achieved 47.4mpg. The news is even better if you primarily drive around town; during the urban section of our test the RAV4 chalked up an astonishing 91.9mpg. That beats even Toyota’s own Yaris hybrid small car, let alone conventionally powered SUV rivals.
However, it's company car drivers the RAV4 is most compelling for; with low CO2 emissions of just 103g/km (lower than the CR-V’s 126g/km, let alone the 145g/km of the similarly-specced Mazda CX-5) you'll reap rewards in benefit in kind (BIK) tax payments. It’s even better news with the plug-in; a seriously low CO2 rating of just 22g/km and an official all-electric range of over 40 miles puts it in a lower tax bracket than even the Ford Kuga PHEV. It's also worth noting that the RAV4 is expected to depreciate at a slower rate than the vast majority of rivals.
Equipment, options and extras
It might be pricier to buy than some rivals, but equipment levels are high. All models come with adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding door mirrors and rear privacy glass.
It’s still worth stepping up to Design grade, though, to gain some of the options we’ve mentioned before, from front parking sensors to sat-nav, as well as further additions such as bigger alloys and keyless entry. Excel and Dynamic are very well equipped, with niceties including leather trim, a heated steering wheel and heated seats, but bump up the price significantly. Four-wheel drive, available on Design, Excel or Dynamic trim levels, adds a considerable premium, too.
It’s unlikely you’ll need to worry about your RAV4 breaking down, or at least that’s what Toyota’s reliability record would suggest. In the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, Toyota came third out of 31 brands, behind only Lexus (which is actually owned by Toyota) and Suzuki, which is an impressive result.
The RAV4 itself performed exceedingly well in the large SUV category coming second to the Lexus NX. As back-up, you also get a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty; that’s far better than you get as standard on most of its rivals and is beaten only by Kia’s seven-year effort.
Safety and security
The RAV4 has received an excellent rating from Euro NCAP. Not only does it get the full five stars overall, but if you look at the scores in each category it racks up some of the highest in the class — better than rivals including the Peugeot 5008, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. In other words, it's one of the safest cars in the large SUV class.
That’s helped by the fact it comes with a long list of safety equipment which includes automatic emergency braking (including for pedestrians and cyclists), traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assistance and an SOS emergency call function.
Go for Excel trim or above and you'll also get blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, the latter of which warns you of approaching vehicles when you're backing out onto a road.
Stylish, practical and good to drive – one of the best se...
Great on interior space, comfortable and tidy to drive, but th...
Worth considering if you need a muscular tow car that seats se...
Not the best large SUV to drive but, in seven-seat form,&...