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Toyota RAV4 2022 review: GXL hybrid AWD

Stylish and clever, is the RAV4 your dream SUV?

I love how the new RAV4 has slipped seamlessly onto the roads and the last RAV4 is but a distant, very poor memory.

The new RAV-4 is everywhere, and it looks good. I test drove the GXL hybrid which is in the middle of the range and costs $42,915, before on-road costs for the AWD version - which I would always go for over a 2WD.

It competes with the usual suspects: the Mazda CX-5 (no hybrid option), Honda’s CR-V (no hybrid option) and the Suburu Forester (this does come in hybrid but it’s a 'mild' version). 

Here’s how it did while driving for seven days for this week’s family review. 

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How does it look?

The RAV4 feels suave but rugged at the same time with good angles, beefy proportions and a hint of modernity.

It has an air of sophistication that we wouldn’t have associated with Toyota two years ago, but now apparently, that’s what the brand's all about, and this car is covetable. 

The RAV4 feels suave but rugged. The RAV4 feels suave but rugged.

The inside looks good, too, even though it’s the middle of the range and I immediately miss the leather seats.

The fabric seats aren’t bad, though. They still feel nice and the longer you drive in them, the better they feel. The 'Premium' steering wheel is 'leather accented', though.

I do love the striped, textured rubber accents on the volume controls and air conditioning knobs, it adds to the rugged feeling of the car. 

The RAV4 has an air of sophistication. The RAV4 has an air of sophistication.

How spacious is it?

It’s a great size for my family of four, with plenty of room in the front. Head and leg space is quite generous, even for taller people. 

Head and leg space in the RAVP-4 is quite generous, even for taller people.  Head and leg space in the RAVP-4 is quite generous, even for taller people. 

The second row has enough space for my two children, aged seven and nine, to comfortably fit with plenty of space for school bags and toys.

At 161cm (5'3") I have loads of room between my knees and the seat in front, and taller adults and teenagers will be able to fit back there with ease. 

You’ll be able to fit three car seats across in the back - I did it with two boosters and a baby capsule. It can be tight, though, and as always is dependent on your own car seats. 

Taller adults and teenagers will be able to fit in the back with ease. Taller adults and teenagers will be able to fit in the back with ease.

The boot is large, with 580L of space that will easily fit a double pram or suitcases or school bags and groceries.

It’s one of those cars you’d happily take away on a weekend trip knowing you had enough room for everything in it. 

The boot is large, with 580L of space. The boot is large, with 580L of space.

How does it drive?

Quickly and silently to begin with as it’s a hybrid, then the petrol engine kicks in when you need more power.

It drives really well with a seamless transition from the electric motor to the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine.

It’s got enough power to get up hills quickly and to coast along highways. 

It has a four-cylinder petrol engine. It has a four-cylinder petrol engine.

In the RAV4 GXL the engine charges the battery, and the batteries power the electric motor. So, it uses less fuel than a regular engine because it’s dipping into stored energy.

Claimed fuel consumption is 4.8L/100km which is amazing for a family-sized SUV, and I averaged 6.3L/100km this week, driving mainly around Sydney suburbs. Not a lot of highway driving this week. 

The steering turns easily so parking is relatively easy. The steering turns easily so parking is relatively easy.

This model is also an AWD which is great for traction on unstable surfaces.

The steering turns easily so parking is relatively easy and there is a reverse parking camera to help, though it’s not super high-resolution.

How easy is it to use every day? The front seats are manually operated on this model, as is the tailgate. It’s nice and light, though, so not hard work. There are two cupholders in the front, a spot for charging your phone that also has that textured ru

The front seats are manually operated on this model, as is the tailgate. It’s nice and light, though, so not hard work. 

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot for charging your phone that also has that textured rubber finish which helps stop your device sliding around, a centre storage bin, and bottle holders in each door.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest plus bottle holders in the doors, and directional air vents.

There are two cupholders in the front and a spot for charging your phone. There are two cupholders in the front and a spot for charging your phone.

How safe is it?

The Toyota RAV4 GXL hybrid comes with advanced safety as standard such as auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert and lane keeping assist, active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. 

The RAV-4 scored the maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019.  The RAV-4 scored the maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019. 

You’ll get seven airbags plus two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids car seats in safely. 

It scored the maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019.

What’s the tech like?

The RAV4 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can sync immediately with your phone’s main apps and make calls, send texts, listen to books, podcasts, music and navigate via maps - all via the touchscreen. 

The RAV4 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The RAV4 gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

 

How much does it cost to own?

The Toyota RAV4 GXL hybrid costs $42,915, before on-road costs.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 4.8L/100km and I averaged 6.3L/100km this week with mainly suburban driving, which is what drives the fuel cost up. 

It’s covered by Toyota’s five year, unlimited km warranty, seven years warranty on the engine and gearbox (if you keep it serviced by the book) and seven years of roadside assist.

Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km, with the price for each service capped at $215 for the first five years.


The Wrap

The Toyota RAV4 is a great family car and this modern interpretation is one of the best five-seater SUVs on the market. It’s hybrid to reduce fuel (and environmental) costs, it’s spacious inside with a large boot, and it looks good, too.

I gave it a family rating of eight out of 10 and my kids gave it the same - I mean, it’s blue AND it’s hybrid! Their dream come true.

Likes

Exterior design
Hybrid tech
Large boot

Dislikes

Inside could be swankier
Reversing camera not super hi-res

Scores

Nedahl:

4

The Kids:

4

$42,915

Based on new car retail price


Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.