2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. Its Competition

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson 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
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2012 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet Volt
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2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 20122012 Ford Focus Electric
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2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show2012 Nissan Leaf
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2012 Tesla Model S prototype2012 Tesla Model S
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Quick Specs
6.8
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.
7.4
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the plug-in electric car you drive as far as you want--if you can find one to buy.
8.4
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.
7.8
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.
8.4
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    
$22,650$39,145$39,200$35,200$57,400
Gas Mileage    
19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas I4Electric/Gas I4ElectricElectricElectric
EPA Class    
Sport Utility VehicleCompact CarsCompactMidsizeNA
Style Name    
FWD 4-Door I4 (SE)5-Door HB5-Door HB4-Door HB SV4-Door Sedan
Drivetrain    
Front Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
54555
Passenger Doors    
N/A44N/A4
Body Style    
4 DoorHatchbackHatchback4 Door HatchbackSedan
Transmission    
Automatic w/ODAutomaticAutomaticAutomaticNA
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Chevrolet Volt2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Ford Focus Electric2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Nissan Leaf2012 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2012 Tesla Model S