2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Test Drive Review: The Best Seller, For A Reason

If 448,068 people all jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Well, that's the number of people who purchased a Toyota RAV4 in 2019, making it the best selling non-pickup truck in the US. But did these nearly half a million people make a wise decision, or is the RAV4 more like jumping off a bridge?

While most of these were likely combustion-only derivatives, it's the RAV4 Hybrid we focus on today, which recently arrived in our driveway in top-spec Limited trim. While a potent plug-in hybrid is due for 2021, the standard 219-horsepower Hybrid is no weak link. With ample performance tied in to excellent fuel economy, it seems to more than justify the bump in price over regular models. Does the RAV4 still stand out in the most competitive segment on the market? We had a week to find out.

Read in this review:

9.1
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2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 RAV4 Hybrid?

While the standard RAV4 lineup received a major addition in the form of the TRD Off-Road model, the Hybrid's changes are a little more subtle. Android Auto functionality has finally been added to the infotainment system's list of capabilities along with SiriusXM satellite radio. A minor reshuffling of equipment means the XLE model loses its standard sunroof but gains a power-adjustable driver's seat, while the Limited gets a JBL sound system as standard for the new year.

Pros and Cons

  • Incredibly fuel-efficient
  • Loads of standard safety
  • New additions to the infotainment suite finally include Android Auto
  • Handsome styling
  • Spacious cargo hold and tons of interior storage
  • Relatively affordable compared to non-hybrid
  • Base model feels very spartan inside
  • Unrefined engine
  • Hardly entertaining to drive
  • Brake modulation feels artificial
  • Too much road noise

Best Deals on 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$28,350
Hybrid XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,645
Hybrid XSE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$34,300
Hybrid Limited
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$36,880
See All 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Trims and Specs

2020 RAV4 Hybrid Exterior

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Front Angle View Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Frontal Aspect Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Rear View Carbuzz
See All 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 180.9 in
  • Wheelbase 105.9 in
  • Height 67.0 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 63.0 in
  • Rear Width 63.7 in
  • Curb Weight 3,710.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Super White
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Ruby Flare Pearl
  • Blue Flame
  • Blue Print
  • Lunar Rock
  • Silver Sky Metallic w/Midnight Black Roof
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic w/Midnight Black Roof
  • Blue Print w/Midnight Black Roof
  • Blizzard Pearl w/Midnight Black Roof
  • Blizzard Pearl

2020 RAV4 Hybrid Performance

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Front View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Rear View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Engine Toyota

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Driving the RAV4 Hybrid is far from the most remarkable experience you'll ever have in a car but unlike previous generations, this latest model does offer some enjoyment. Now based on the same TNGA architecture that underpins the Camry and Corolla, the RAV4 has playful steering that doesn't feel completely detached from the front wheels. Ride comfort is excellent for an affordable car but we'd like to see Toyota add more sound deadening to eliminate road noise because at highway speeds, the RAV4 can be tiresome. Like many hybrids, the brake pedal feels slightly unnatural due to the inclusion of the energy regeneration but we got used to it pretty quickly.

Drivers can select Eco, Normal, and Sport modes using a rotating knob that even lights up with different colors depending on the mode. These settings change the personality of the RAV4 slightly but enough to be noticable. Throttle response is pretty lackluster in Eco mode but in Sport mode, the hybrid feels far more willing to accelerate than its gas-engined counterpart. There's also an EV mode that lets you drive using the battery only but it only works for very short distance at neighborhood speed. For a longer electric range, wait for the Prime.

2020 RAV4 Hybrid Interior

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Dashboard Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Gauge Cluster Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Speaker Carbuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 39.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.5 in

2020 RAV4 Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Maximum Cargo Space Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Trunk Space Carbuzz
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats Down Carbuzz

2020 RAV4 Hybrid Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a good car?

After our week-long test drive of the RAV4 Hybrid, we can definitely say that nearly half a million people did not mess up on their car purchase last year. This latest RAV4 is absolutely deserving of its status as the best-selling passenger vehicle in the US and the hybrid version is even better than the standard car. The RAV4 Hybrid feels smoother, quieter, and faster than the gas-engined model while only costing slightly more. With the massive savings in fuel, opting for the hybrid seems like a no brainer.

There are larger alternatives like the Honda CR-V and more sporty options like the Mazda CX-5, but as an all-rounder with stellar fuel economy, the RAV4 Hybrid is tough to beat. Wrap it up with Toyota's enviable track record for reliability and the RAV4 Hybrid becomes easy to recommend.

Check out other Toyota RAV4 Styles

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Comparisons

Toyota RAV4 Toyota
Honda CR-V Hybrid Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid219 hp41/38 mpg$29,575
Toyota RAV4 203 hp25/33 mpg$26,975
Honda CR-V Hybrid 212 hp40/35 mpg$32,010

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs Toyota RAV4

The decision between a hybrid and conventional version of a car normally comes down to cost, as hybrids are normally vastly more expensive and less powerful than their traditional variants. The RAV4 bucks the trend, though, providing 16 hp more than the regular RAV4 thanks to an electrified rear axle. This makes it quicker as well, and yet somehow, it achieves combined fuel economy estimates of 10 mpg better than the FWD gas-powered RAV4. The Hybrid mirrors several trims from within the standard lineup, so the spread of equipment and the specification levels are nearly identical, and thanks to some clever packaging, storage volumes remain identical, too. The deal-maker or breaker, in this case, is price, and that's where Toyota has played it smart. Just $850 separates the base LE Hybrid from its all-wheel-drive combustion counterpart, and considering the EPA estimates an annual fuel saving equating to $350 - meaning the RAV4 Hybrid pays for itself in a little more than two years of ownership. The Hybrid gets our pick.

See Toyota RAV4 Review

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs Honda CR-V Hybrid

Along with an all-new Honda CR-V for 2020, the Japanese brand is introducing a hybrid version to do battle with the RAV4 Hybrid. While the Honda isn't available for purchase at the time of writing, it looks to be spoiling for a fight thanks to a hybrid powertrain inherited from the venerable Honda Accord Hybrid. That means from a 2.0-liter engine and electric motors, the CR-V Hybrid produces a combined 212 hp to the RAV4 Hybrid's 219 hp, making it more powerful than base CR-Vs as well. Like the RAV4 Hybrid, the CR-V gets a slew of standard safety features, and like the RAV4, it gets full smartphone integration. The similarities continue as the CR-V Hybrid loses nothing in the way of cargo volume, despite hybrid components, meaning it bests the RAV4 Hybrid with just shy of 40 cubic feet. We expect the Honda to have slightly better interior materials, though, and we expect the CR-V to return almost identical fuel economy estimates - the EPA is yet to publish results. Pricing will likely be similar to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrids cost as well, which means the choice between the two will be tough. We'd advise you to hold off on buying a RAV4 Hybrid until such time as the CR-V arrives, you might just be disappointed if you don't.

See Honda CR-V Hybrid Review

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Popular Comparisons

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2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Video Review

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