In-depth reviews

Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid review

Despite being a little late to the game, the Toyota RAV4 Plug-In is a worthy hybrid family car – but the price will be a sticking point for some

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Long electric range
  • Quiet and refined
  • Practical

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Laggy infotainment system
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid46 miles282mpg22g/km

The Toyota RAV4 opened the world’s eyes to the idea of a compact and urban-friendly SUV way back in 1994 – long before the Nissan Qashqai or Volkswagen Tiguan arrived in the UK. Since then, Toyota has sold almost 230,000 examples – with the latest, fifth-generation version on sale since 2019. But, to widen its appeal and prepare the car for a zero-emission future, Toyota has now launched the very first RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid.

The numbers – from price, through to power and performance – aren’t exactly what you'd expect from a Toyota. This is a family SUV with a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an 18.1kWh battery. It’s got 302bhp and a 0-62mph time of just six seconds. It’ll do 46 miles on electricity at speeds of up to 84mph and emits just 22g/km of CO2 – putting it in one of the very lowest company-car tax bands. Charge it regularly and Toyota says it’ll do 282mpg.

The catch? Prices start from almost £50,000. But obviously there’s more to a car than how much it costs to buy. After all, most people will stick down a modest deposit, pay the fixed monthly PCP payment, and hand it back after three years. What’s important is whether this new RAV4 plug-in hybrid can justify those figures, and whether it’s objectively a better car than a Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 – or even a Volvo XC60.

The answer, unfortunately, isn’t all that straightforward. It’s quiet, comfortable, and practical, comes loaded with kit, and offers the longest pure-electric range in the segment. But on the flip side, it’s faster than it has any need to be, isn’t much fun to drive, and is still plagued by a laggy and unresponsive infotainment system. Quality is fine, but perhaps not befitting of its sky-high price; premium rivals from BMW, Audi and Volvo cost a similar amount, but feel more luxurious inside.

While the new Toyota RAV4 plug-in may be a good car in its own right, that price is going to be a significant sticking point for many potential customers. While we’re maybe not comparing apples with apples, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you can get a Ford Kuga or Peugeot 3008 with a plug-in powertrain for £10,000 less; these models also come in under the £40,000 threshold for lower road tax

That said, if you can run one as a company car and charge on a regular basis, the new Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid could be a really satisfying car to live with. For a more detailed look at the model, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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