2023 Toyota RAV4

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2023 Toyota RAV4 Review: King Of The Compacts

Toyota's RAV4 competes in one of the most highly contested classes around and faces off against other top-selling compact crossover SUVs such as the newly redesigned Honda CR-V and the class-leading Mazda CX-5 and CX-50. Despite fierce competition, the RAV4 remains one of the best-selling cars on US soil and offers an outstanding balance of practicality, safety, and performance. The 2023 RAV4 base model retains its naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine, which produces 203 horsepower, but Toyota offers a range of hybrid options that produce up to 300 horses and deliver excellent fuel economy. The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite adds superior driver assistance tech, and for 2023, Toyota replaces the infotainment displays with upgraded units. Competition might be fierce, but the aging RAV4 is fighting back to stay on top of the sales charts.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Toyota RAV4 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 RAV4?

Toyota upgrades the 2023 RAV4's infotainment systems. Customers in the USA see the standard seven-inch display on LE, XLE, and XLE Premium trims swapped out for a larger eight-inch display. Higher trims get an even bigger 10.5-inch display. The new infotainment systems also come with updated software, a new interface, over-the-air updates, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All trims get a standard 7.0-inch partially digital gauge cluster, and a full 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is optional on the XLE Premium and TRD Off-Road - but standard on Limited.

Pros and Cons

  • Fully up-to-date infotainment tech
  • Stylish looks
  • Great safety features and scores
  • Lots of interior and luggage space
  • Comes with two years of complimentary maintenance
  • Base trim is too basic
  • Limp acceleration
  • Coarse and noisy engine
  • Not fun to drive

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2023 Toyota RAV4 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
Hybrid XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
XLE Premium
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Toyota RAV4 Trims and Specs

2023 Toyota RAV4 Handling And Driving Impressions

The RAV4's roots have always been firmly planted in the city, and that's where it's at its best. Its steering is light, making this SUV easy to navigate in tight city streets. We did find that this light steering doesn't have sufficient heft on the highway and can be somewhat vague, which is why road-test reviews of the Toyota RAV4's competitors generally agree that they are more fun to drive than the Toyota - especially the Mazdas. The RAV4 doesn't feel sporty in fast driving but will maintain its composure, even when pushed hard. If it's on-road dynamics you're after, the Mazda CX-5 is a better bet. The off-road-focused models have TRD-tuned suspension, but it doesn't noticeably affect on-road comfort and performs surprisingly well when going off the beaten path, especially when mated to the hybrid powertrain with 302 hp. Don't overestimate the RAV4's off-road abilities though; the off-road accouterments are mostly window dressing. We found the braking system light to the touch and easy to modulate.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Toyota RAV4 A Good SUV?

The RAV4 continues to be one of the best-selling cars in America, and with good reason, this crossover SUV does most things well. From the outside, it's a good-looking car, and the infotainment upgrade goes a long way toward making this car's interior feel relatively fresh and current, despite its age. Under the hood, the base engine can feel a bit coarse and breathless, but the hybrid versions pick up the slack nicely. Build quality is good, and as a practical family car, this SUV won't disappoint; there's lots of passenger and cargo space on offer. On the road, this car offers a satisfactory drive, but we should make it clear that this is a city-loving machine and not exactly a grand tourer or off-road machine. There are other, more specialized competitors that do both better. Value for money is good, but cheaper rivals offer just as much in terms of tech and features. When it comes to the RAV4, some of your hard-earned dollars are going to the brand name and resale value instead of added features and core value - and this is all many people are looking for.

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