Class-leading efficiency. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid doesn’t have many competitors. Other than luxury brands, the only real point of comparison is the Nissan Rogue Hybrid. Yet, the RAV4 Hybrid easily outclasses the competition in the metric that matters for hybrids: fuel economy. Per the EPA, the RAV4 Hybrid manages an astonishing 41 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway, and 40 combined.
This is far better than the Rogue Hybrid’s 34 mpg combined. The RAV4 Hybrid won’t match the efficiency of smaller hybrids like the Toyota Prius or Toyota Camry, but it handily beats other hybrid crossovers and SUVs.
It’s even better when you consider that the Rogue Hybrid starts with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive comes standard with the RAV4 Hybrid. Both cars start at a little under $29,000, which makes the Toyota a more solid value.
Not quite class-leading space. From the outside, the RAV4 Hybrid is all ruggedness and slanted lines. It’s not a bad look, and adventurers will feel right at home. But the RAV4 Hybrid does lose some accessibility and space.
Ingress and egress are more difficult than you’d think. The doors don’t open as wide as some competitors, and the sloping pillars and roofline make entry unintuitive for taller passengers.
The seats are comfortable, but the cramping continues on the interior. The front seats ride high, which dents head room (especially with the available moonroof). The passenger’s seat doesn’t allow for height adjustment on any trim, which is an odd omission.
The lower trims rely heavily on cheap plastics, but mid and upper trims use nicer materials.
Practical and capable. Where the RAV4 Hybrid doesn’t skimp is cargo space. There's 37 cubic feet of cargo space waiting behind the seats, which is much better than the Rogue Hybrid (although about the same as the conventional Rogue and the Honda CR-V).
In addition to all-wheel drive, RAV4 Hybrids have a power boost over the gas-powered version. Thanks to an electric motor at the rear wheels, the Hybrid has an extra 16 horsepower (for a total of 219) and can drive at up to around 40 mph on electric power.
The Hybrid shares the standard RAV4's 8.6 inches of ground clearance, which makes it competent on a dirt road. The all-wheel drive isn’t quite as capable as the corresponding system on the gas-powered car, but it’s good for most loose terrain.
Technology everywhere. In addition to the sophisticated powertrain, the RAV4 Hybrid loads up with tech. Even base cars get a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay compatibility, and upper trims get perks like a hands-free liftgate and JBL audio system.
Importantly for many family buyers, all RAV4 Hybrid models get Toyota’s suite of active safety technology as standard. This includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. Blind-spot monitoring is optional on the base LE trim and standard everywhere else.
Speaking of trims, the RAV4 Hybrid comes in four varieties, which run from basic to relatively luxurious. Most buyers should be able to find a strike zone, and it’s nice to see a hybrid with a customizable feature set.
Final thoughts. The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid ticks many boxes, especially on practicality and efficiency. If you’ve been dreaming of a car that can handle adventures while saving at the pump, the RAV4 Hybrid ought to be on the list. The biggest drawback is the lackluster interior space.
Despite its flaws, the RAV4 Hybrid shouldn’t be too worried. It’s largely in a class all its own. No other crossovers offer this level of efficiency, short of an all-electric option like the Hyundai Kona or Jaguar I-PACE. This will surely change in the future, but for green-minded buyers, the RAV4 Hybrid currently leads the pack.