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Christian Wardlaw

Review QuickTakes:

What is the 2022 Toyota RAV4?

One of the most popular models in one of the most popular vehicle segments, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV with seating for five people. It comes with your choice between gas, gas-electric hybrid, and gas-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains, with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). In addition, a range of trim levels caters to various budgets and preferences, making it easy to find a RAV4 that suits you.

What’s New for the 2022 Toyota RAV4?

In addition to a few minor styling modifications to lighting, wheels, and paint colors, the 2022 RAV4 is available in a new SE Hybrid configuration. It adds the sporty look of the more expensive XSE Hybrid but at a more affordable price. Choose the 2022 RAV4 Limited, and the SUV now gets an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat.

How Much is a Toyota RAV4?

Depending on which powertrain and the trim level you choose, 2022 RAV4 prices range from the high $20,000s to the mid $40,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky factory to your local dealership. Note that Toyota sources RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid models from an assembly plant in Japan.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Trim Levels and Configurations

Numerous versions of the RAV4 are available, and we’re going to break the lineup down in a logical fashion.

First, you have the core lineup of four trim levels. Each is available with a 2.5L four-cylinder gasoline engine and FWD or AWD. You can also get a gas-electric hybrid powertrain with each of these trims. It makes more power, includes standard electronic AWD, and offers much better fuel economy. Here are the highlights of the core trim levels:

Toyota RAV4 LE – Standard features for the base RAV4 include 17-inch wheels, LED headlights with automatic high-beam operation, LED tail lights, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, and remote keyless entry. Inside, the base LE includes automatic climate control, cloth seats, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The infotainment system features a 7-inch touchscreen display and comes with standard smartphone connectivity and integration, satellite radio, and connected services, including remote engine starting and Wi-Fi. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard; it is a generous collection of driving assistance and collision avoidance systems. The hybrids add 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, electronic all-wheel drive, an EV driving mode, dual-zone automatic climate control, and unique instrumentation related to the powertrain.

Toyota RAV4 XLE – Upgrading to XLE trim equips the RAV4 with gray 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, heated exterior mirrors, and a hands-free keyless entry system. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, along with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a cargo cover, and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic warning.

Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium – The XLE Premium trim adds larger alloy wheels, fog lights, a power sunroof, and a power rear liftgate. Upgraded interior materials and simulated leather upholstery are standard, along with rear air conditioning vents.

Toyota RAV4 Limited – If you’re seeking the most luxurious version of the RAV4, the Limited is the one you want. It has 19-inch alloy wheels, improved headlights, a fancy grille, puddle lights, and unique exterior details. Dark brown accents, blue ambient lighting, and partial digital instrumentation await inside, along with heated and ventilated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. In addition, Limited trim includes a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a premium sound system, an enhanced reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors with automatic braking, and an anti-theft alarm system.

Additionally, Toyota offers two sport-tuned versions of the RAV4. They build on XLE trim as outlined above and come only with the gas-electric hybrid powertrain:

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE – This trim builds on XLE specification with black 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and a more sophisticated hybrid battery pack. Upgraded headlights, improved interior materials with blue accents, and blue ambient cabin lighting are standard, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE – Two-tone paint and unique lighting elements help identify the Hybrid XSE trim, which also has a power sunroof, a power liftgate, partial digital instrumentation, simulated leather upholstery, and heated front seats. The XSE also has an upgraded infotainment system with a 9-inch touchscreen, an enhanced reversing camera, and an anti-theft system.

Next up are the two plug-in hybrid variants of the RAV4. The Toyota RAV4 Prime offers an estimated 42 miles of electric driving before switching to gas-electric hybrid operation and averaging 38 mpg. They also make a whopping 302 horsepower. And while they’re the most expensive RAV4 models, don’t forget that they’re often eligible for state or local tax rebates available in your area:

Toyota RAV4 Prime SE – Compared to the Hybrid SE, the Prime SE has unique wheel, grille, and styling details, acoustic front window glass for a quieter interior, and red interior accents and stitching. Standard equipment includes a hands-free power liftgate, partial digital instrumentation, heated front seats, and a 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE – This version of the RAV4 plug-in hybrid has Prime SE equipment and Hybrid XSE upgrades, plus 19-inch wheels, wireless smartphone charging, a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and steering wheel paddle shifters.

If you’re planning adventures off the pavement, you’ll want to consider the RAV4 Adventure or RAV4 TRD Off-Road. They are best equipped for travel when the going gets rough:

Toyota RAV4 Adventure – This version of the SUV pairs the standard four-cylinder engine with a more robust torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, off-road driving modes, hill descent control, and improved mechanical cooling. Ground clearance rises from 8.4 inches to 8.6, and the maximum tow rating gets a bump from 1,500 pounds to 3,500 lbs. Adventure trim builds on the XLE with a unique set of 19-inch alloy wheels, a different grille, raised roof rails, and orange interior accents. It also features partial digital instrumentation and simulated leather seats.

Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road – Based on the RAV4 Adventure, the TRD Off-Road trim has minor styling differences, unique suspension tuning, a set of matte-black 18-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, and a front skid plate. A power rear liftgate is also standard. In addition, the TRD Off-Road’s cabin has red-accent stitching, rubber floor mats, a rubber cargo liner, a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an enhanced reversing camera, and an anti-theft system.

Christian Wardlaw

2022 Toyota RAV4 Review and Test Drive

By Christian Wardlaw

Test Drive QuickTakes:

When the Toyota Recreational Activity Vehicle 4WD (RAV4) went on sale in the U.S. for the 1996 model year, it helped spark a trend that would come to dominate the American market. One of the first crossover utility vehicles (CUVs), the first RAV4 blended the driving dynamics of a car with the shape and styling of an SUV, pairing these qualities with an efficient engine and available all-wheel drive.

This idea wasn’t new. In the 1970s, Subaru built a series of 4WD wagons that did the same thing, and in the 1980s, the AMC Eagle was equally odd. Furthermore, Toyota was not alone in 1996. That was when Subaru added a suspension lift, big fog lights, and white-letter tires to its Legacy Outback station wagon, achieving the same qualities that commonly define a crossover. Still, the RAV4’s affordability and Toyota’s reputation for durability made the quirky little CUV a hit.

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Today, the Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling vehicle in America aside from full-size pickup trucks. Affordability and durability still play a role in its success, but so does its more rugged look compared to most crossovers. It’s also larger inside and more powerful than most of its rivals, and it comes in a wide array of configurations to suit almost any purpose.

For this 2022 Toyota RAV4 review, I test-drove the Prime XSE plug-in hybrid version equipped with a Premium package, Carpet Mat package, roof-rack cross bars, mudguards, door sill protectors, and a rear bumper scuff guard. These extras inflated the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to $51,166, including the $1,215 destination charge. Toyota provided the vehicle for this RAV4 review, and I evaluated the SUV in Southern California.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Review: The Design

Toyota introduced the RAV4 Prime for the 2021 model year, and it carries over for 2022 without any significant changes. Subtle styling differences set it apart from other RAV4 models, including a unique grille, front spoiler, and wheel designs. The XSE trim upgrades the Prime to 19-inch wheels and two-tone paint with a black roof.

Christian Wardlaw

The RAV4 Prime XSE model’s interior features Toyota’s SofTex simulated leather upholstery, blue ambient cabin lighting, partial digital instrumentation, and a larger 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. In addition, red contrast stitching on the seats, center console armrest, dashboard, steering wheel, and shift lever boot conveys a sporty look.

Inside and out, the RAV4 has a more rugged and purposeful appearance than many compact crossovers, giving the Toyota broad appeal. Angular lines, chiseled surfaces, and purposeful utility are the rules rather than the exceptions. In addition, the RAV4 is crafted with quality materials and sturdily assembled. Still, the glossy hard plastic covering much of the lower half of the cabin could benefit from a coating of some kind – especially in the more expensive versions of the RAV4.

The control layout is straightforward, and in places where rain and snow are typical, the oversized and rubber-ringed dual-zone automatic climate control system knobs are helpful to people with wet fingers or who are wearing gloves. Though smaller, the stereo knobs anchoring the lower corners of the infotainment display are also rubber-ringed for improved grip.

Typically, simulated leather doesn’t breathe well, trapping moisture and causing discomfort. Thanks to the ventilated front seats that come in the XSE Premium package, this is less of an issue, and the feature goes a long way toward making the SofTex leatherette a legitimate replacement for the real thing. People living in cold-weather climates will like the Prime’s standard heated front seats. The test vehicle’s Premium package upped the ante with a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.

Christian Wardlaw

In addition, the RAV4’s front and rear seats are comfortable, the doors open wide for easier access, and the crossover’s ride height makes it easy to get into and out of the vehicle. The test vehicle’s eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat offers good support for longer drives, and the front passenger’s seat is mounted high enough to ensure proper leg support and comfort. Rear-seat passengers benefit from generous legroom, headroom, and foot room, and our test vehicle had rear air conditioning vents and USB charging ports.

Utility is the name of the Toyota RAV4’s game, so you’ll find numerous rubber-lined locations where you can stash things. I particularly like the dashboard shelf that extends from the left side of the steering wheel across to the other side of the SUV. Unfortunately, however, Toyota missed an opportunity to include armrest storage of any kind.

Christian Wardlaw

Cargo space measures 33.5 cubic feet behind the back seat and 69.8 cu.-ft. with the rear seat folded down. These figures are less than a conventional RAV4 due to the Prime’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain components, but not dramatically.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Review: The Technology

Toyota equips the RAV4 Prime with numerous standard and available technologies. For example, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard with SE trim, while the XSE has a 9-inch touchscreen. Both versions include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio and offer access to connected services related to safety and Wi-Fi access. Each plan has a complimentary trial period followed by a subscription requirement to continue using them.

Christian Wardlaw

Choosing the 9-inch touchscreen adds Remote Connect, which gives you remote access to vehicle functions through a smartphone app. In addition, you can upgrade this version of the infotainment system with a dynamic (connected) navigation system, a JBL 11-speaker premium sound system (in XSE models only), and concierge services. The test vehicle had all these features, and the voice recognition system successfully interpreted and responded to my evaluation commands.

Every RAV4 Prime has a partial digital instrumentation display with a 7-inch data panel between analog gauges. In addition, the test vehicle’s Premium package added a camera-based digital rearview mirror, a surround-view camera, a 10-inch head-up display, and a 120-volt AC power outlet within the cargo area.

Toyota also equips every version of the 2022 RAV4 with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This package of driver-assist and collision avoidance safety features includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-centering assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Additionally, nearly all RAV4 models have blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Prime’s XSE Premium package adds front and rear automatic braking when parking or when the rear cross-traffic alert detects a threat that the driver ignores.

Christian Wardlaw

While test-driving the RAV4 Prime, the TSS 2.0 technologies typically operated with accuracy and refinement, two traits necessary to encourage drivers to use them regularly. However, when using adaptive cruise control with the lane-centering assist system, the steering inputs are frequently too apparent to the driver and sometimes feel unnatural, discouraging the system’s use.

As far as crashworthiness is concerned, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the RAV4 Prime a Top Safety Pick+ rating. The SUV earns the highest possible rating in every evaluation, though it has not been subjected to the new side-impact test the IIHS is planning to use in the years ahead. Other RAV4 models earn a Top Safety Pick rating and get an Acceptable rather than a Good score in the new side-impact crash test.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Review: The Drive

Toyota says it offers the RAV4 Prime only in SE and XSE trim because it engineered the plug-in hybrid for “the performance-oriented driver.” Don’t let this assertion fool you. Though its 2.5L four-cylinder engine and two electric drive motors supply 302 horsepower and plenty of torque, the RAV4 Prime is made for people who want to try living with an electric vehicle before fully committing to giving up gasoline.

Christian Wardlaw

Fully charge the 355.2-volt lithium-ion battery pack, and the RAV4 Prime supplies an estimated 42 miles of electric driving range when you operate the SUV in its EV (electric vehicle) driving mode. That’s enough to handle the average daily round-trip commute in the U.S. If you must travel beyond that 42-mile range, once the powertrain switches over to gas-electric hybrid operation, the Prime should average 38 mpg in combined driving.

Drivers can mix and match between Eco, Normal, Sport, and Trail primary driving modes and EV, HV (hybrid vehicle), and Auto (automatic selection of EV or HV driving) operational modes. A Charge mode runs the Prime only on the gas engine while charging the battery pack as you drive.

To maximize performance, you’ll want the Sport and HV (hybrid vehicle) driving mode to extract as much acceleration as possible from the gas engine and electric motors. As a result, Toyota says the RAV4 Prime zooms to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. You can also switch the RAV4 Prime into Trail mode to leverage the SUV’s eight inches of ground clearance, though the standard all-season tires may ultimately limit traction in snow and mud.

Christian Wardlaw

Collectively, these data points amount to a win-win-win-win situation, making it seem like the RAV4 Prime can do or be anything.

In practice, one of the most appealing things about the RAV4 Prime is that the 134-kilowatt (kW) front and 40-kW rear electric motors are powerful enough to propel the SUV without assistance from the gas engine. Rival compact plug-in hybrid SUVs are sometimes unable to accelerate or conquer hills without burning a little bit of dino juice. So when you choose EV mode in the RAV4 Prime, the SUV operates like an electric vehicle even with four people aboard.

Furthermore, during my week driving the RAV4 Prime, it traveled between 35 and 46 miles on a full battery, depending on weather conditions, the number of passengers, and how I drove it. That aligns with the official rating of 42 miles of electric range. For the week, including all driving, the Prime averaged 51.7 mpg.

Christian Wardlaw

When you drive in Normal or Sport mode and the HV setting, the RAV4 Prime is entertaining to drive with plenty of quick acceleration on tap. Also, though you can sense the weight of the electric motors and battery pack, Toyota deftly tunes the suspension so that the Prime’s additional mass does not negatively affect the ride and handling.

However, there are some downsides to the Prime’s PHEV powertrain. First, the electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) can drone unpleasantly. Second, the regenerative braking system is occasionally tricky to modulate for smooth, consistent braking. Third, the steering isn’t as sharp and responsive as you might prefer. And fourth, the all-season tires aren’t up to the standards of Toyota’s identified “performance-oriented driver.”

Nevertheless, I think the RAV4 Prime is the version of this SUV to buy unless you need the added off-road capability that Toyota bakes into the Adventure and TRD Off-Road trim levels. Also, though it is the most expensive version of the RAV4, don’t forget that you may qualify for state or local tax incentives available in your area.

Is the 2022 Toyota RAV4 a Good SUV?

In many respects, the Toyota RAV4 is a good SUV. It enjoys a reputation for reliability, offers nearly 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, and rates high for safety. In addition, buyers can choose between gas, fuel-efficient hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and two versions of the RAV4 add extra off-roading capability to inspire adventure. So there is plenty to like about the Toyota RAV4.

Christian Wardlaw

Toyota RAV4 Competitors for 2022

Consumers are genuinely spoiled with choices in the compact SUV segment, but few models in the class offer the depth and breadth of the Toyota RAV4’s lineup. Among the RAV4’s rivals, the Hyundai Tucson entices buyers with a similarly broad array of choices. Primary challengers also include the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, and the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester could prove to be appealing alternatives. However, every major automaker has a compact crossover, so if this Toyota doesn’t meet your needs or satisfy your wants, chances are you can find one that does.

Toyota RAV4 Features


Practicality and durability are hallmarks of the Toyota RAV4, but this capable crossover also has a rugged side that goes beyond styling cues. And, when you choose a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or a RAV4 Prime, electrified efficiency is also on the menu.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Safety Features

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection – Standard forward-collision warning system with automatic emergency braking
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist – Standard lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist
  • Lane Tracing Assist – Standard lane-centering assist system
  • Full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control – Standard adaptive cruise control system
  • Blind Spot Monitor – Available blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert*

2022 Toyota RAV4 Technology Features

  • Infotainment system – Standard 7-inch or available 9-inch touchscreen display
  • Smartphone connectivity – Standard Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Connected services – Standard with short-term complimentary access to four plans that include remote engine starting, Wi-Fi access, and more
  • Wireless smartphone charger – Available feature*
  • Bird’s Eye View Camera – Available 360-degree surround-view camera*

2022 Toyota RAV4 Interior Features

  • Simulated leather seats – Available feature*
  • Heated front and rear seats – Available features*
  • Heated steering wheel – Available feature*
  • Ventilated front seats – Available feature*
  • Premium sound system – Available JBL audio system with 11 speakers*

2022 Toyota RAV4 Specs

2.5L 4-cylinder engine (Standard)

  • 203 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive
  • EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg to 30 mpg in combined driving
  • 3,500-lb. maximum towing capacity (depending on trim and equipment)

2.5L 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors (Hybrid)

  • 219 horsepower
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • EPA fuel economy rating of 40 mpg in combined driving
  • 1,750-lb. maximum towing capacity

2.5L 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors, plug-in battery pack (Prime)

  • 302 horsepower
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • EPA fuel economy rating of 38 mpg in combined driving
  • 42 miles of EPA estimated electric driving range
  • 2,500-lb. maximum towing capacity

*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.

RAV4 Features

  • Seats
    • Pass-Through Rear Seat
    • Bucket Seats
    • Rear Bench Seat