Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid version of its RAV4 has the added luxury of being able to draw on almost twenty years of the brand's pioneering work in hybrid powertrain technology to produce a SUV that promises to be not only more powerful than any other in its class but also more efficient in terms of emissions and fuel consumption. Toyota’s stats look pretty impressive - boasting a total output of 302bhp, an all-electric driving range of 45 miles, and CO2 readings of 22g/km which certainly places it at the front of the que.

Toyota RAV4 PHEV

Toyota RAV4 PHEV

The Toyota RAV4 Plug in hybrid – This is what we found

Kerb Appeal: The plug-in hybrid models although very similar to the rest of the range do have a small number of differences, which make them stand out. The main difference is bespoke badgework, other than that there is an extra flap for the charging socket.

It's styled with character with a large with a kerb presence, piercing narrow full-LED headlamps and slim nostrils above the polygon-shaped front grille that also deliver a bit of overtaking presence. And in profile, you notice the squared-off wheel arches and the large 19 inch  wheels.


The RAV4 Plug-in couples a 2.5-litre petrol engine with a more powerful electric motor giving a combined power output of 302bhp, producing a speedy combination of 0-62mph time of just 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.

The electric motor in this Plug in Hybrid is powerful enough to take the RAV4 to motorway speeds without using the petrol engine, and we managed more than 30 miles at speeds up to 70mph without drawing on the petrol at all during our varied test route a little short of Toyota's claim 46 miles is achievable.

When the limit of EV driving range is reached, the car automatically switches to its hybrid vehicle (HV) mode.

The choice of driving modes enable the driver to use fuel saving driving such as using HV mode at start of their journey, then switch to EV mode to maximise efficiency, for example around town.

In Auto EV/HV mode, the hybrid system will automatically come into play when extra power is needed, for example under sharp, sudden acceleration, then returning to EV mode immediately afterwards.

Toyota's electric all-wheel-drive system is also carried over without change, a set-up which sees the combustion engine and a front electric motor powering the front axle and an additional rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear axle.

The Toyota RAV4’s greater weight causes it to roll into corners and doesn't always feel particularly willing to change direction quickly particularly at speed, although the four-wheel drive gives plenty of traction in slippery conditions.

Putting your foot down hard in the RAV4 gets the petrol engine revs high as the car accelerates, sending vibrations up through your feet, only starting to subside when you ease off. Tyre noise and wind intrusion are pretty minimal at motorway speeds making for a comfortable drive experience.

The RAV4 is quiet when cruising and in stop-start traffic. Its worth mentioning that as with many hybrids, the brakes tend to be a bit grabby while the regeneration system tops the battery up under deceleration, which can make it hard to slow down smoothly something you will quickly get used to.


The driver is well catered for in terms of head and leg room in the Toyota RAV4. The sports seats you get with the more expensive Dynamic and Adventure trims have power adjustment but no memory. Models with electric seats get adjustable lumbar support to help support your back on longer journeys.

The RAV4's driving position is typical of an SUV – high up to give you a commanding view over the road. A large centre armrest is a real bonus for comfort while the SUV flavour is further instilled by chunky dashboard controls that are clear and easy to reach.

The RAV4 PHEV features a head-up display which projects the speed onto the windscreen, so you can see it without glancing down at the instruments.

Seeing out of the RAV4 is pretty easy with slim windscreen pillars and no blind spots, the RAV4 PHEV comes with plenty of aids to make parking easy even in tight spots, with both rear parking sensors and a reversing camera fitted as standard and an upgrade to include parking sensors at the front too.

Sat nav and infotainment

Infotainment is undoubtedly the RAV4 PHEV is fitted with a 9.0in touchscreen which has small buttons that need to be pushed firmly to select.

Access a world of connectivity with RAV4 and the MyT app. Use MyT to find your destination, locate your car or manage all your car maintenance needs from your mobile.

Multimedia Toyota Touch® 2 puts all the information and media you need at your fingertips while smartphone integration comes via Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. which allows you to use smartphone apps through the car’s touchscreen, there is also a built-in sat nav.

The screen is positioned high up on the dashboard, so you don't have to divert your eyes far from the road to view it. You get a DAB radio and Bluetooth on all versions of the RAV4, and on higher trim levels you get the option of a JBL stereo, which delivers great sound quality.

Safety There's stacks of camera safety kit, including a pre-collision set-up with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beam, road sign assist and automatic adaptive cruise control. Other advanced safety features include a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert for safe manoeuvring. Plus an E-Call service that can automatically alert the emergency services to the vehicle's location in the event of an accident - triggered when the airbags are deployed.


The RAV 4 PHEV addresses all the problems of the majority of other plug-in hybrids. It starts in EV mode, its easy to change between EV and hybrid modes, and it has a real world range of circa 50 miles -  and potentially more thanks to its very efficient brake energy recuperation system. It’s also an excellent car all-round, being good to drive, practical and spacious, with all-wheel drive capability – even in EV mode.

It is a family car perfect for the modern family great on the school run, handles town and city driving perfectly, good to drive on the motorway, and leaves its passengers feeling fresh and relaxed after a long journey. All in a way that is good for the  environment.

Female first ratings: 8.5 out of 10


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