Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The extra technology in hybrid cars makes them more expensive to build, so this isn't surprising. Besides, you'll make some of that cost back in fuel savings; in our What Car? True MPG tests, the two-wheel-drive RAV4 achieved a combined MPG of 49mpg. In the same test, the smaller 2.2-litre diesel unit in the Mazda CX-5 achieved 47.4mpg.
However, it's company car drivers the RAV4 is most compelling for; with low CO2 emissions of just 103g/km (lower than the CR-V’s 126g/km, let alone the 145g/km of the similarly-specced Mazda CX-5) you'll reap rewards in benefit in kind (BIK) tax payments. It's also worth noting that the RAV4 is expected to depreciate at a slower rate than the vast majority of rivals.
Equipment, options and extras
It might be pricier to buy than some rivals, but equipment levels are high. All models come with adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding door mirrors and rear privacy glass.
It’s still worth stepping up to Design grade, though, to gain some of the options we’ve mentioned before, from front parking sensors to sat-nav, as well as further additions such as bigger alloys and keyless entry. Excel and Dynamic are very well equipped, with niceties including leather trim, a heated steering wheel and heated seats, but bump up the price significantly. Four-wheel drive, available on Design, Excel or Dynamic trim levels, adds a considerable premium, too.
It’s unlikely you’ll need to worry about your RAV4 breaking down, or at least that’s what Toyota’s reliability record would suggest. In the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey, Toyota came third out of 31 brands, behind only Lexus (which is actually owned by Toyota) and Suzuki, which is an impressive result.
As back-up, you also get a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty; that’s far better than you get as standard on most of its rivals and is beaten only by Kia’s seven-year effort.
Safety and security
The RAV4 has received an excellent rating from Euro NCAP. Not only does it get the full five stars overall, but if you look at the scores in each category it racks up some of the highest in the class — better than rivals including the Peugeot 5008, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. In other words, it's one of the safest cars in the large SUV class.
That’s helped by the fact it comes with a long list of safety equipment which includes automatic emergency braking (including for pedestrians and cyclists), traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assistance and an SOS emergency call function.
Go for Excel trim or above and you'll also get blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, the latter of which warns you of approaching vehicles when you're backing out onto a road.