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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. To widen its appeal and prepare for a zero-emission future, Toyota has now launched the very first RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid.

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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 fuel economy

The catch? Prices start from around £46,500. 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 RAV4 plug-in hybrid can justify those figures, and whether it’s objectively a better car than a Ford Kuga or 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 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 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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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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