Review: Toyota RAV4 (2019)
Efficient hybrid crossover available with two- or four-wheel drive. Spacious and robust interior. Very quiet and refined to drive.
Not everyone will like how it looks. No seven-seat option. Expensive compared to rivals like the Skoda Karoq.
Toyota RAV4 (2019): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure
Arguably the original crossover SUV, the Toyota RAV4 is now in its fifth generation and better than ever thanks to its solid build quality and sophisticated petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
The majority of buyers will opt for two-wheel-drive models, although there's also a four-wheel-drive version available if AWD capability is high on your wish list. In the UK, the sole engine offering is a 2.5-litre petrol combined with an electric motor along with an automatic gearbox.
The advantages of the hybrid powertrain are obvious as soon as you drive the RAV4. It's quiet and refined, with even the CVT automatic transmission not kicking up too much of a fuss under acceleration.
One thing that will put some buyers off is the near-£30,000 starting price - that's significantly more than the likes of the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Karoq (and even the bigger Kodiaq). But, spec-for-spec, it's not that much more expensive. And they're not available with hybrid engines, either.
While interiors have never been Toyota's strong point, the new RAV4's is hugely better than its predecessor. It feels well-made and borderline premium, with lots of plush materials. All models get an eight-inch touchscreen media display perched on top of the dash, although this isn't as slick as some used in rivals and, frustratingly, doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
There's loads of space - more so than in a Skoda Karoq or Nissan Qashqai - with room for five adults without too much discomfort. There isn't a seven-seat option, unfortunately, but the boot is huge and easy to access.
If you're looking for a robust family SUV with lots of room, the Toyota RAV4 is a strong choice. It has its niggles - that infotainment system and a limited engine line-up - but Toyota's five-year warranty and well-deserved reputation for reliability makes it a difficult option to ignore.
What does a Toyota RAV4 (2019) cost?
Toyota RAV4 (2019): What's It Like Inside?
While the RAV4's cabin isn't as well-polished as a Volkswagen Tiguan's, everything feels well made and logically laid out. Excel and Dynamic models take a premium approach, with lots of leather and ambient lighting.
All models get an eight-inch touchscreen display, perched slightly awkwardly on top of the dashboard. Its position means it's easy to glance at during driving, which mean you can take-in the map and directions with the briefest of glances.
Navigating the menus of the media system will require a little more patience and, at the time of writing, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto isn't available. That seems an oversight when it's available on many of the RAV4's rivals.
Sitting between the Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq in size, the RAV4's very spacious, but there's no seven seat option. Up front, there's plenty of space to keep two adults comfortable on long journeys, helped by the supportive seats. You get a commanding view, too, meaning the RAV4 feels more like a full-size SUV that crossover rivals.
Two adults will also fit comfortably in the rear, while a third could also sit in the middle if required. There's plenty of headroom and legroom, with rear-seat passengers given a good view out of the side windows.
The boot's big and a useful shape, with the rear wheelarches only intruding slightly into valueable luggage space. Dropping the rear seats provides even more room, although they don't quite fold entirely flat.
Specification (from launch):
Icon models feature 17-inch alloy wheels, Toyota's Safety Since inc Pre-Collision System (including cyclist detection, night-time pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control), eight-inch touchscreen media system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, black roof rails, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, LED automatic headlights, black fabric seats, electronic parking brake, heated auto-retractable door mirrors, rear privacy glass.
Design adds 18-inch alloy wheels, navigation, front parking sensors, smart entry, electric tailgate.
Excel features full leather interior with heated front seats and power-sliding driver's seat, ambient lighting, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, puddle lights on door mirror, LED headlights, heated steering wheel and windscreen wiper de-icer, headlight cleaner.
Dynamic comes with black exterior highlights (including 18-inch alloy wheels, roof, rear spoiler, antenna and door mirrors), dynamic sports heated front seats, ambient lighting, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, puddle lights in door mirrors, LED headlights.
Child seats that fit a Toyota RAV4 (2019)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Toyota RAV4 (2019) like to drive?
Toyota describes its RAV4 as a 'self-charging' hybrid, meaning you don't have to plug it in. Its electric range is limited, meaning you can only travel for very short distances under electric power, but the electric motor does mean it's considerably more efficient than you'd expect for a 2.5-litre petrol SUV. Officially, the RAV4 returns a minimum of 47.8mpg depending on trim level.
It uses a CVT automatic transmission, which traditionally is a robust yet slightly unrefined type of gearbox. It's pretty good in the RAV4, though, with stepped ratios designed to prevent that horrible drone associated with CVT gearboxes of old. Floor the accelerator and you'll still get a fair bit of engine noise, but only for short periods. And the hybrid setup's generous amount of torque means you don't have to work it hard just to get up to motorway speeds.
The RAV4 is in its element around town, stopping and starting with little noise. The hybrid system means you don't get the rumbly start up you get from a conventional petrol or diesel fitted with stop-start, instead it rolls away silently before the petrol engine seamlessly kicks in.
At speed, the RAV4 is a quiet and refined SUV. There's a little wind noise caused by the chunky door mirrors, but nothing too intruding.
Through the bends, there's plenty of grip available and little in the way of lean. Its steering is well judged - not too light nor too heavy and communicative enough for an SUV. It's not a sporty choice but the RAV4 handles surprisingly well.
One criticism we do have is the RAV4's ride quality. It's not bad, but it's not as supple as you might expect from a family SUV. Hit a pothole or a stretch of broken tarmac and it soon becomes unsettled and jittery - especially on the 18-inch alloy wheels fitted to higher-spec cars.
While the 4x4 version isn't a mud-plugger, it's capable enough for tackling a muddy farm track or snowy road. The front-drive model will be sufficient for most buyers, however.
|Hybrid 2WD||64–66 mpg||8.1–8.4 s||102–108 g/km|
|Hybrid 4WD||64 mpg||8.1 s||108 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Toyota RAV4 (2019)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Toyota RAV4 (2019)?
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