Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
When the Toyota RAV4’s electric motor and petrol engine work in unison, acceleration isn’t too shabby and overtaking is a breeze. The two-wheel drive model can do 0-62mph in 8.4sec, that’s faster than in the hybrid versions of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, although it’s worth noting this version of RAV4 has a rather weak towing capacity of 800kg. The four-wheel drive version is fractionally quicker at 8.1sec and is also a much more capable tow car, matching the Sorento and Santa Fe hybrid’s 1650kg.
The RAV4 Plug-in pairs the same 2.5-litre petrol engine with a more powerful electric motor for a combined power output of 302bhp, and that's a pretty speedy combination – enough for 0-62mph time of just 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. That means it’s as quick as the impressive Land Rover Evoque P300e, and comfortably quicker than the Ford Kuga PHEV and the Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e.
Suspension and ride comfort
Ride comfort is not the RAV4's strongest suit. The suspension is rather firm so the Toyota thuds over potholes and motorway expansion joints more than you might like in a family-friendly car. It’s by no means back-breaking, but it never feels particularly settled, and you’ll find it twitches as you drive along all but the smoothest of roads.
Its main rival, the Honda CR-V hybrid, is noticeably more settled around town and retains its composure better over sharp ridges and potholes. The Peugeot 5008, which isn't available as a hybrid but is roughly the same size as the RAV4, is another more comfortable alternative. The RAV4 is less wearing on long motorway journeys than the firmer Mazda CX-5 though.