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 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 Black Edition. Entry-level Icon models are only available with front-wheel drive, but still gets you dual-zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 17-inch alloys.
Design is the first trim level to offer the choice of front or four-wheel drive, while also adding sat nav, keyless entry and start, a powered bootlid, front parking sensors and 18-inch wheels. This would be our choice for 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, with some styling additions include a different set of 18-inch alloys, contrasting gloss-black roof, sports seats and LED projector headlights. Meanwhile the top-of-the-range 'Black Edition' version of this car brings an all-black monochrome finish inside and out, with the wheels and nearly every piece of exterior trim finished in black, in addition to the Galaxy Black paint shade.
However, Toyota has announced it will be adding a new Adventure trim to the RAV4 Hybrid range when it refreshes the ruggedly-styled SUV for 2022. Adventure models will come with all-wheel-drive, 19-inch matte grey alloy wheels, wider wheel arches and more off-road focused features like scuff plates at the front and rear.
All 2022 RAV4 Hybrid models will also feature new LED headlights and LED front fog lights. Plus a new 10-spoke alloy wheel design, meanwhile the cabin gains new LED lighting, power adjustment for the front passenger seat, and USB-C ports for charging your phone.
Infotainment, apps and sat nav
The eight-inch touchscreen is blighted by dated, grainy graphics, Toyota has at least added Apple CarPlay or Android Auto since the RAV4 first arrived; these are smartphone integration apps that allow you to use your phone's maps, music and other functionality very easily.
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.
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