2022 Toyota RAV4

Consumer Reviews
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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 12, 2021

Buying tip

Seek out a RAV4 Prime for the tax breaks and performance, but dealers will expect a premium.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 lives up to its meat-and-potatoes hype, but the Prime serves up green-car red meat.

What kind of car is the 2022 Toyota RAV4? What does it compare to?

With the RAV4, Toyota hits a bulls-eye for compact crossover SUV styling and features, though interior space misses some key marks by mere inches. Its Prime plug-in is a gem, and that makes it a rival for the Ford Escape as well as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.

Is the 2022 Toyota RAV4 a good car?

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The RAV4 earns a TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10; Primes would rate higher thanks to gutsy green performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Toyota RAV4?

Toyota has tweaked the crossover’s exterior and interior. Most notably, it now sells an SE Hybrid with cloth upholstery and a 7.0-inch touchscreen and 6-speaker audio; it can be optioned with heated front seats, a sunroof, a power tailgate, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Updated headlights on all models at or above the XLE grade could help its safety score, too.

Since 2019, the RAV4 has flaunted a chunky, ruggedly smooth body, somewhere between a CrossFitter and a powerlifter with its squared-off wheel wells, gunsight windows, and bluff front end. The interior’s the post-workout cool-down, with spare lines and only the essentials laid out around a big touchscreen. If it looks ready for adventure, well, there’s actually a trim level called just that.

Base versions won’t inspire much planet-exploring, though. The 203-hp inline-4 in most RAV4s does the job and little more, and it’s raucous when pressed hard, though it shifts smoothly and though the vehicle handles with more interest than any RAV4 from the past. Things get interesting with the highly efficient Hybrid, which sacrifices almost nothing to the driving experience—and get downright compelling in Prime trim, which straps on a big battery pack for sub-six-second acceleration and 42 miles of electric-only driving. If you can find one, buy it.

The RAV4’s interior looks swell, but the seats could be more swole. The padding they wear feels thin, and some head room has been sacrificed to the sleek roofline. Cargo space doesn’t suffer, though—and neither does safety, as all RAV4s come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control, not to mention strong if not perfect crash-test results from both the IIHS and the NHTSA. 

How much does the 2022 Toyota RAV4 cost?

Prices will be firm by the end of the year, but expect to pay about $28,000 for a RAV4 LE—if you can get a dealer to agree to MSRP. It has cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Select the RAV4 XLE Hybrid and for about $30,000 you’ll get an efficient crossover with a big touchscreen and big fuel economy numbers. If you can score a Prime without much markup—tell us where and how?

Where is the 2022 Toyota RAV4 made?

In Georgetown, Kentucky, unless it’s a Prime, which is made in Japan.

8

2022 Toyota RAV4

Styling

The RAV4 taps rugged details and angles for a ready-to-rumble look.

Is the Toyota RAV4 a good-looking car?

It hits lots of high notes and takes lots of angular chances—and it all works. We think the RAV4’s worth a couple of points above average for the exterior and one for the neatly detailed interior, for an 8 here.

With hints of 4Runner and Tacoma in its profile, the stylish RAV4 has a squat stance and an abundance of angles that all hang together. The adventurous body has slim windows and a low-looking roofline, with swole fenders that get positively chonky in Adventure and TRD Off-Road spec. It can be difficult and awkward to spec out one silhouette with luxury details like a mesh grille and, in another version, with black fender trim and a black-painted roof, but Toyota’s done so with the RAV4. Even Primes get their own grille and gloss-black bumper, for a touch of visual distinction.

The cabin could improve upon some of its harder plastics, but what works here is the simplicity of its design. A horizontal line across the dash gives the RAV4 a calmness that’s brightened up by metallic trim around the vents and the shift lever. Spendy versions can wear synthetic leather and contrast-color stitching, even a big 9.0-inch touchscreen, but the look remains the same: thoughtful and restrained, without being dull.

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5

2022 Toyota RAV4

Performance

It covers all the bases, but RAV4 Primes swing for the bleachers.

The standard-issue RAV4 has average acceleration and road manners. Hybrids do better by the EPA, but the RAV4 Prime’s the sleeper here: it’s astonishingly quick and composed. We give the lineup a 5 based on the most popular versions, but it would be a 7 for the speedy Prime.

How fast is the Toyota RAV4?

Gas-powered RAV4s putter around with a 203-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 teamed to an 8-speed automatic that ships power to the front or to all four wheels. It’s competent, but can seem rough when pressed hard for all its available acceleration. 

Is the Toyota RAV4 4WD?

Base LE and XLE RAV4s have a simple all-wheel-drive system that can shift power to the rear wheels when the fronts lose grip. On the Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and RAV4 Limited, that power split is then split again across the rear wheels for a slicker delivery of rear-wheel traction that gives it a more lively feel, though it does trim into fuel economy.

On all these versions, the RAV4 has a strut front and multi-link rear suspension setup that frosts over frost heaves and rounds off sharp road edges. A Forester or CR-V may ride with more isolation, but the RAV4’s steering has a more engaging feel than those rivals.

RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime

With a battery pack and a rear-mounted electric motor, the 219-hp RAV4 Hybrid lets the front wheels dictate power until they slip; then the electric motor engages to give it something called “through-the-road” all-wheel drive. It’s still a system primed for all-weather traction, not hardcore adventuring. The appeal lies in its sky-high EPA numbers and in the very slight penalty in weight and ride quality for its highly efficient power delivery.

But if you’re into gas mileage and power, then sleuth around to find a RAV4 Prime. Exceedingly rare on dealer lots, especially during this year’s (waves hands at everything) difficulties, the Prime gets a big 18.1-kwh battery pack with electric motors to generate 302 hp. Until the Supra came along, that made the Prime the quickest Toyota vehicle, period. With a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, and a tauter sport suspension, the RAV4 Prime launches with authority, handles with aplomb, and can be toggled into an EV-only mode for up to 42 miles of battery-electric driving. The battery adds about 500 lb to curb weight, and that shows up in more understeer in tightly kinked roads, but it’s a hushed drive nonetheless, a green thrill to be sought out.

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2022 Toyota RAV4

Comfort & Quality

The RAV4’s adventurous shape trims back some utility.

The RAV4 has an exciting sense of style, but it does limit interior space for passengers, and Toyota’s seats need more work. We give it a 6 here with an extra point for cargo room.

Cargo fares well in the latest RAV4. It sports plenty of small bins and shelves for stuff like smartphones and water bottles. The back seat folds down, too, which boosts its 37 cubic feet of cargo space to about 69 cubic feet (Primes lose about 6 cubic feet to bigger battery packs). The cargo floor sits at a good height for loading, and many models have or offer a power tailgate.

We’d be happy in the RAV4 on long trips, but we’d be happier if it had more head room and better seat padding. The optional sunroof cuts into what’s already slim head room for 6-footers, and the front seats have thin seat cushions. The driving position suits many body types, though, and Toyota adds heating and synthetic leather upholstery to some versions.

In back, the RAV4’s 37 inches of leg room fit tall passengers fine, but head room still checks in on the slim side. Shoulder space comes at a premium: A third passenger can elbow their way into the middle seat, but no one will want to ride that way for long. 

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2022 Toyota RAV4

Safety

The numbers are in, and they’re good—enough.

How safe is the Toyota RAV4?

It’s proven to be durable in crash tests. With standard automatic emergency braking, those scores earn an 8 here—but let’s talk about them.

The IIHS gives the RAV4 a Top Safety Pick award, but so far that applies just to the Hybrid Limited with its fancy adaptive headlights. Most other models have sported LED headlights rated “Marginal”; Hybrids’ headlights have been rated “Poor.” Toyota has upgraded the headlights this year on the XLE and all models above it, so we’ll update the results here when new data is published.

The NHTSA, meanwhile, gives the RAV4 five stars overall, but that comes with a four-star score for front-impact protection.

Along with automatic emergency braking, all RAV4s come with adaptive cruise control,  active lane control, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitors can be fitted, and they’re recommended since thick roof pillars blot out some of the view to the rear.

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8

2022 Toyota RAV4

Features

The RAV4 offers great value—but the Prime would make us splurge.

Toyota sells the RAV4 in at least 16 different configurations, from LE front-drive crossover to RAV4 Prime XSE plug-in hybrid. All come with excellent standard features and good infotainment, as well as great value. It’s an 8 here.

Base RAV4 LE SUVs cost about $28,000 and include 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, a split-folding rear seat, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Which Toyota RAV4 should I buy?

We’d take the RAV4 XLE with either the gas or hybrid drivetrains, the former costing about $30,000 with all-wheel drive. The XLE gains keyless start, a power driver seat, and access to more options that range from a larger touchscreen to heated front seats.

How much is a fully loaded Toyota RAV4?

We highly recommend the RAV4 Prime with its plug-in 302-hp drivetrain, but it’s really difficult to find on dealer lots and at present, comes with significant markup over its sticker price of just below $40,000. It gets a sport suspension, cosmetic add-ons, an available 9.0-inch touchscreen, an audio subwoofer, a sunroof, and synthetic leather upholstery with red accents.

The mediocre warranty for the RAV4 covers it for 3 years of 36,000 miles.

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5

2022 Toyota RAV4

Fuel Economy

Get the RAV4 Prime for max efficiency—if you can find one.

Is the Toyota RAV4 good on gas?

It’s fine as a gas-powered SUV, great as a Hybrid, superb as a Prime. But most will fit into the first category, so we give it a score of 5 here based on EPA ratings of 26 mpg city, 35 highway, 30 combined with front-wheel drive. Most non-hybrid RAV4s with all-wheel drive carry EPA ratings of 25/33/28 mpg. 

The RAV4 Hybrid checks in at 41/38/40 mpg with standard all-wheel drive. The RAV4 Prime gets scored at up to 42 miles of electric-only driving, and at 94 MPGe for overall efficiency, or 38 mpg combined.

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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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