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In-depth reviews

Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid interior, dashboard & comfort

As ever, the Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid is a quiet and comfortable car to drive, but it perhaps doesn’t feel as premium as its price tag might suggest

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Interior, dashboard & comfort rating

3.5 out of 5

Inside the Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid, it’s pretty much business as usual. The seats get some new upholstery and unique stitching, but anyone coming from the standard car will feel right at home. That’s no bad thing – the Plug-In Hybrid feels built to a good standard, if not quite as high-end as some of this car’s similarly priced premium rivals.

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The touchscreen? It’s still a bit laggy and not as responsive as we’d like, but there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now, which means you can control all of your phone’s functions via the simple menus, or using voice control.

We’ve no complaints about the rest of the layout, though, with big, rotary dials for the climate control, and plenty of adjustment in the driver’s seat – making it really easy to get comfortable. Visibility isn’t bad for a car of this type – only aided by the standard-fit reversing camera.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid dashboard

Sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ll struggle to tell the standard RAV4 and its plug-in sibling apart. Apart from a couple of PHEV-specific dials and some unique seat fabric, it feels very familiar inside.

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But while it doesn’t feel quite as high-end as say, a Volvo XC60 or BMW X3, it’s more than a match for the plug-in hybrid Ford Kuga. The dashboard layout is functional, with a large touchscreen sat above separate controls for the air-conditioning and heated seats. Speaking of which, the old-fashioned rocker switches for these mean they cannot be controlled remotely, when pre-heating the car on a cold day, for example.

Equipment, options & accessories

There are three specification levels to choose from. The Design (£46,495) features a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED projector headlights and a nine-inch touchscreen that comes with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. As well as a powered tailgate and a host of safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert. Dynamic (£47,395) get 19-inch alloy wheels, plus wireless phone charging. It also throws in Toyota’s Safety Sense 2 package, with intelligent cruise control and pedestrian detection for the autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

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For an extra £3,500 you can go for the Dynamic Premium (£50,895), which boasts black leather seats, a panoramic roof, a JBL stereo, head-up display and ventilated front seats. We’d stick with one of the cheaper options, as many of these items feel like frivolities rather than essentials. In addition, every model comes with two charge cables – a three-pin plug, and another for charging at public points and home wallboxes. There’s a small under-floor storage box in the boot, meaning you needn’t keep the wires alongside your shopping or luggage.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

Infotainment has never been a Toyota strong point – and little has changed with its latest systems. The laggy screens and complicated menus are put to shame by both mainstream and premium rivals when it comes to layout and functionality.  Admittedly, that’s less of an issue now that you can bypass the built-in system via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – all on a large nine-inch screen. All versions also get sat-nav, wireless phone charging, a reversing camera and two USB slots.

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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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