The 2022 Toyota RAV4 lives up to its leader-of-the-pack hype, but the Prime remains the prime choice. With the RAV4, Toyota hits a bulls-eye for compact crossover SUV styling and features, though interior space misses some key marks by mere inches. Its Prime plug-in is a gem, and that makes it a rival for the Ford Escape as well as the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester.
For 2022, Toyota has tweaked the crossover’s exterior and interior. Most notably, it now sells an SE Hybrid with cloth upholstery and a 7.0-inch touchscreen and 6-speaker audio; it can be optioned with heated front seats, a sunroof, a power tailgate, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Updated headlights on all models at or above the XLE grade could help its safety score, too.
Since 2019, the RAV4 has flaunted a chunky, ruggedly smooth body, somewhere between a CrossFitter and a powerlifter with its squared-off wheel wells, gunsight windows, and bluff front end. The interior’s the post-workout cool-down, with spare lines and only the essentials laid out around a big touchscreen. If it looks ready for adventure, well, there’s actually a trim level called just that.
With hints of 4Runner and Tacoma in its profile, the stylish RAV4 has a squat stance and an abundance of angles that all hang together. The adventurous body has slim windows and a low-looking roofline, with swole fenders that get positively chonky in Adventure and TRD Off-Road spec. It can be difficult and awkward to spec out one silhouette with luxury details like a mesh grille and, in another version, with black fender trim and a black-painted roof, but Toyota’s done so with the RAV4. Even Primes get their own grille and gloss-black bumper, for a touch of visual distinction.
Base versions won’t inspire much planet-exploring, though. The 203-hp inline-4 in most RAV4s does the job and little more, it shifts smoothly and the vehicle handles with more interest than any RAV4 from the past. Things get interesting with the highly efficient Hybrid, which sacrifices almost nothing to the driving experience, and get downright compelling in Prime trim, which straps on a big battery pack for sub-six-second acceleration and 42 miles of electric-only driving. You can read our Hybrid review HERE and our Prime review HERE.
The simplicity of its design is the cabin’s biggest draw. A horizontal line across the dash gives the RAV4 a calmness that’s brightened up by metallic trim around the vents and the shift lever. Spendy versions can wear synthetic leather and contrast-color stitching, even a big 9.0-inch touchscreen, but the look remains the same: thoughtful and restrained, without being dull.
Cargo space doesn’t suffer, though, and neither does safety, as all RAV4s come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control, not to mention strong if not perfect crash-test results from both the IIHS and the NHTSA.
Prices will be firm by the end of the year, but expect to pay about $28,000 for a RAV4 LE—if you can get a dealer to agree to MSRP. It has cloth upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Select the RAV4 XLE Hybrid and for about $30,000 you’ll get an efficient crossover with a big touchscreen and big fuel economy numbers.
With the RAV4, Toyota has stuck the veritable sweet-spot of the small SUV class. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is a great competitor in the compact crossover class. It does everything you’d want with Toyota refinement and reliability, and in Hybrid and Prime versions, great fuel economy. Regardless of trim line, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is an impressive crossover, one that Toyota continually keeps improving to make it one of the best.