2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. Its Competition

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

All-electric car buyers have a limited range of options, but the field is growing fast.

The Nissan Leaf five-door hatchback is the highest-selling battery electric vehicle in the U.S., but its unusual looks, 73-mile range, and appliance-like character may not appeal to everyone, though upgrades are promised for the 2013 model.

The Tesla Model S is just entering production, but early models of the electric luxury sedan are almost twice the price of the RAV4 EV.

Two plug-in hybrids--the Chevy Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid--give far lower electric ranges (38 miles and 6 to 11 miles, respectively) but their gasoline engines eliminate range anxiety.

The low-volume Ford Focus Electric is a more conventional looking (and better handling) alternative to the Nissan Leaf.

None of these cars are crossover utility vehicles, though; the nearest thing to an all-electric crossover is expected to be the 2014 Tesla Model X, but that is a long way from production at the moment.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 20122012 Toyota RAV4 EVBrowse Used Listings2012 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet VoltBrowse Used Listings2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 20122012 Ford Focus ElectricBrowse Used Listings2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show2012 Nissan LeafBrowse Used Listings2012 Toyota Prius Plug In 5dr HB (SE) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota Prius Plug InBrowse Used Listings2012 Tesla Model S prototype2012 Tesla Model SBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The unlikely Toyota-Tesla partnership has produced what may just be the best battery-electric vehicle below Tesla's own Model S luxury sedan. Its power, 100 miles of real-world range, and interior space add up to a very appealing electric crossover.
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the plug-in electric car you drive as far as you want--if you can find one to buy.
The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is fun to drive, matches the Nissan Leaf for range and efficiency, and looks just like a "regular" car, which may appeal to some buyers. It's available only in very limited markets, however, and its $40,000 price will likely turn off some potential customers.
The 2012 Nissan Leaf is, quite simply, the first battery electric vehicle built in volume by any major carmaker; if you can get comfortable with its range of 70 to 100 miles, it's the greenest car you can buy.
The 2012 Tesla Model S sedan turns out to be a much better car than most expected; it just might meld sport-sedan driving, interior space, and comfort with zero-emission running in one revolutionary package.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy51 MPG City / 49 MPG Hwy
ElectricElectric/Gas I4ElectricElectricGas/Electric I4Electric
EPA Class     
Sport Utility Vehicle - 2WDCompact CarsCompactMidsizeMid-sizeNA
Style Name     
FWD 4-Door5-Door HB5-Door HB4-Door HB SV5-Door HB (GS)4-Door Sedan
Four Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Sport Utility VehicleHatchbackHatchback4 Door Hatchback5 Door LiftbackSedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. 2012 Chevrolet Volt2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. 2012 Ford Focus Electric2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. 2012 Nissan Leaf2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. 2012 Toyota Prius Plug In2012 Toyota RAV4 EV vs. 2012 Tesla Model S