Toyota RAV4 Hybrid interior, dashboard & comfort
A solid but plain interior and poor infotainment see the Toyota RAV4 lose ground on rivals here
Toyota's interiors have long been more solid than spectacular, and the latest RAV4 doesn't deviate from that formula. It's definitely well built inside, though, and feels unlikely to develop any annoying rattles or squeaks over the course of ownership. Some double-stitching and soft-touch materials in key locations lift things somewhat, but it's still a primarily functional rather than luxurious environment.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid dashboard
Controls are well laid-out in the RAV4, and the chunky heating controls with a rubberised finish are a nice touch, as is the rubberised grip on the inside of the doorhandles.
The air-conditioning buttons are all very logical, too, and while the touchscreen system that dominates the dashboard is one of the worst in the class for graphics and functionality, it's at least straightforward to use thanks to the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen.
There are quite a lot of buttons on the steering wheel in the RAV4, but they're easy to figure out, and the analogue driver's dials are also easy to read, although a prominent 30mph and 70mph marker would be good additions.
Equipment, options and accessories
Currently, the RAV4 Hybrid is available in five trim levels: Icon, Design, Excel, Dynamic and Adventure. Entry-level Icon cars are only available with front-wheel drive, but still get dual-zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, a 10.5-inch central touchscreen, 7-inch instrument panel and 17-inch alloys.
All new RAV4 Hybrids also feature new LED headlights and front foglights, LED lighting for the cabin, power adjustment for the front passenger seat and USB-C ports for charging your phone.
Design is the first trim level to offer the choice of front or four-wheel drive, while also adding a 12.3-inch digital driver's display, keyless entry and start, a powered bootlid, front parking sensors and 18-inch wheels. This would be our choice for a balance of comfort and affordability. Excel brings leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting and headlight washers.
The Dynamic version of the RAV4 comes with some styling additions including a different set of 18-inch alloys, contrasting gloss-black roof, sports seats and LED projector headlights.
A ruggedly styled Adventure trim level joined the RAV4 Hybrid range in early 2022. Four-wheel drive is standard here and the Adventure also comes with 19-inch matte-grey alloy wheels, wider wheelarches and more off-road-focused features like scuff plates at the front and rear. A panoramic roof (which is optional on Excel and Dynamic trims) and side steps (which are optional across the range) are included on the Adventure as standard.
Infotainment, apps and sat nav
As part of an update for 2023, the RAV4 Hybrid now comes as standard with a 10.5-inch central touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and updated virtual assistant. Plus, all but entry-level Icon models now get with a 12.3-inch digital driver's display, while base cars get a 7-inch unit.
Older models come with an eight-inch touchscreen that was blighted by dated, grainy graphics even when we first tested the RAV4 Hybrid. Sure, the system in the RAV4 is fairly straightforward to use – thanks largely to the physical shortcut buttons on either side of the screen – but it's far from being best in its class. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were standard at least.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe latest Toyota RAV4 is a striking-looking and efficient hybrid family SUV, but there are more versatile seven-seat alternatives for similar money
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsFuel economy can vary depending on the sort of driving you do, but the Toyota RAV4's CO2 emissions are impressively low
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Toyota RAV4 represents a good deal for company-car users, but private buyers are likely to find a diesel SUV cheaper to buy and run
- 4Performance, engine & driveHybrid drivetrain and CVT gearbox limit ultimate driver appeal, but the Toyota RAV4 rides and handles well for what it is
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingA solid but plain interior and poor infotainment see the Toyota RAV4 lose ground on rivals here
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Toyota RAV4 is practical and spacious, but it's not an outright class leader in this area
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Japanese brand is world-famous for its reliability, and the Toyota RAV4 comes with a good package of safety systems as standard across the range