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08 Apr 2022

What We Dislike
It isn't as well-specced as some of its peers
CVT gearbox can be a tad noisy when extended

If uncompromised comfort and cutting fuel consumption are fundamentals you're after, then the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a car you should consider.


With the hike in fuel prices, getting an electrified car may not seem like such a bad idea. Of course, with the lack of infrastructure in Singapore, plug-in hybrids and full electric cars may not be widely accepted just yet. So that leaves us with a hybrid model choice.

And it sort of makes a lot of sense for those who aren't that open to cars that require external charging. You can fill up a hybrid car like a regular one, and yet you get an electric motor and a battery to help share the efforts in minimising fuel consumption. Case in point - the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

What's not to like?

542 litres worth of hauling capacity for your needs
Over the three days I spent with the car, I managed to get some 17.1km/L at best, with a good mixture of highways and minor roads. While this is far off from the promised figure of 21.2km/L, I was mostly hauling a family of four, with all the necessities every parent needs to bring around in the 542-litre boot space. So I reckon it's not too shabby at all.

What isn't too shabby as well is the way the car drives. The pliant suspension soaks up bumps and ruts on the tarmac comfortably, steering is light but quick to respond and external noises are shut out well when driven gently. These are the sorts of things that put my mind at ease, especially when the family is with me.

However, if you're hoping for a sportier disposition with better steering feedback, stiffer suspension with minimal body roll and sturdier acceleration, then a car like this may not be for you.

It's for the grown family man

The hybrid SUV holds its own well on the tarmac
See, the RAV4 Hybrid is for the sort of family man who's had enough fun with cars that are fast and furious. Today, being safe and sound is all he thinks about, other than making sure he doesn't infuriate his missus unnecessarily with his reckless driving behaviour.

That's really because the SUV that you see here is not a slow poke. The 2.5-litre hybrid powerplant will send a combined output of 215bhp and 221Nm of torque to the front wheels and accelerate with enough verve to make overtaking manoeuvres a breeze. The biggest downside when doing so is the rather coarse sound it makes from the continuously variable transmission.

But once you're up to cruising speed and you start easing off the right pedal, revs begin to subside steadily, raucous noises start to diminish and the gentle side of the RAV4 Hybrid surfaces again.

Space - the royal order

Rear occupants are bound to enjoy the space
And when that happens, all on board will be enjoying a well-built and spacious cabin that offers a nice mix of form and function. You get a good mix of soft-touch materials with vault-like hard plastics that should last you well over a decade.

You also get quite a few niceties here - including wireless charging, wired Apple CarPlay and several safety features. However, it isn't as well-specced as, say, the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. For instance, there aren't ventilated seats and the infotainment system isn't quite as crisp and modern as the Korean car.

Still, where the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid falls short, it more than makes up for it with its ample space for five on board and that powerful air-condition that never seem to disappoint. More importantly, everything here seems very straightforward, with all the buttons and controls conveniently located for easy operation.

If looks could kill...

Drive well, looks good... what's not to like?
Less straightforward is the design of the car. It isn't a bad thing, mind. Despite having so many cars in this class to choose from - from Hyundai Tucson and Skoda Karoq to Nissan Qashqai and Honda CR-V - the RAV4 Hybrid does well to stand out.

With a good mix of angular corners, sharp creases and, not to mention, a gaping front grille, the Toyota looks more menacing than mild. It's definitely striking, whichever way you look at it, and in a manner that's tastefully done.

So where does it stand?

Going hybrid may well be the answer for the hike in fuel prices
In all, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a lovely car to pilot if you fit the family man genre. It's competent as a family hauler, holds its own very well on the tarmac and has looks that won't make you feel like a 60-year old man every time you walk up to the car. But, and there's always a but, you can't expect any sports car antics here.

Toyota has undoubtedly stepped forward in terms of styling, comfort and functionality with the RAV4 Hybrid. It feels extremely well-built and mighty reliable, with an on-road behaviour that's neat and tidy.

Hike in fuel prices, you say? Go hybrid then...
 
 
If you're in the market for an SUV, don't leave before catching our reviews of these rival options:

The Peugeot 3008 sports an equally bold exterior and comes with a unique cabin layout

And if it is power and space you're after, there's also the Volkswagen Tiguan to consider

The Hyundai Tucson hybrid looks good, feels good

The Skoda Karoq is one fun and functional SUV

Catch more of just what makes the interior of this Toyota RAV4 so great, and just how quiet the hybrid engine can be as well, all in our video review here!

Car Information
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Promotion
There's a promotion for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Price

: $209,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC VVT-iE

Engine Cap

:

2487cc

Horsepower

:

160kW (215 bhp)

Torque

:

221 Nm / 5200 rpm

Transmission

:

E-CVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.1sec

Top Speed

:

180km/h

Fuel consumption

:

21.2km/L

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