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Being useful and affordable is a good way to show up the showboats

Good stuff

Cool new green, great bang for your buck, no-hassle utility

Bad stuff

Ho-hum driving, snoozer interior, obscure battery info


What is it?

It’s the Toyota RAV4, AKA the compact crossover you’ve been misnaming as ‘Rava’ or ‘Rave 4’ for years. Whatever you call it, it’s the highly prolific ride that folks count on for daily utility at a reasonable price. Though light on frills, it’s popular for its ease of use and matter-of-fact handling of just about whatever you throw at it.

Sounds good. What’s the catch?

Outside of not being particularly fun to drive, there aren’t any shocking outliers with this one. There are three versions to pick from, all of which have various trim levels to choose from that add on certain creature comforts. The standard RAV4 comes fitted with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine good for about 203hp and 184lb ft of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic sending power to the front wheels or all of them depending on configuration.

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The RAV4 Hybrid takes the same engine and adds a small battery and an electric motor to the rear axle, giving the SUV electronic all-wheel drive, 219hp and is set with a CVT as standard.

At the top is the RAV4 Prime, which is also a hybrid, but it has a bigger battery and a plug.

Wait, the Prime is more hybrid than the Hybrid?

It’s a bit confusing, right? The RAV4 Prime comes with 302hp and 42 miles of all-electric range thanks to its 18.1kWh battery. At 240V, it can replenish its charge in just a couple of hours. Things get more obscure for the RAV4 actually labeled as ‘hybrid’. The battery is smaller and there’s no plug, so it’s less of a fuss but the benefits are also reduced. In reality, it’s more of a mild hybrid, which is fine, but the badging is setting up some high expectations only really achieved by the pricer and more involved Prime.

Can you take it off road?

That depends on the model and how far off the beaten path you’re willing to travel. If you’re dealing with snow or any sort of mild non-tarmac traversal, you’re in the clear. More adventurous challenges call for the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, a trim level of the standard vehicle with that special Toyota TRD touch. This means all-wheel drive, an extra inch of ground clearance, knobby wheels and a loosey-goosey suspension for boulder-bounding. No hybrid TRDs, though.

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Any notable updates for 2024?

Yeah, it comes in green now.


Yes! Specifically, an Army Green that comes with this year’s Woodland edition. This package can be added to a couple versions to the RAV4 - including the TRD Off-Road - and adds an additional mount for exterior cargo solutions, a weather package with heated seats and steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers. Did we mention the green?

Paired with the 18-inch bronze-colored alloys, the Woodland edition makes an otherwise ubiquitous vehicle pop. In our time with the car, a number of passers-by stopped to admire how green it is, as if we were driving a prize-winning topiary.

What's the verdict?

While not the most exciting thing to drive, it more than makes up for it by being useful

Toyota’s RAV4 continues to be a dependable all-rounder for an attainable price. While not the most exciting thing to drive, it more than makes up for it by being useful for most tasks. Its number of trims and options make it easy to find the right RAV4 fit for you, and considering how popular the car is, it sure seems that most people are finding what they’re looking for. Some of the features in the Hybrid can be a little obtuse, particularly if you’re used to being more of an active participant in the car’s functions. But once you let it do its thing, all is well.

The Rivals

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