The family car is no more, at least it isn’t in the form that we once knew – a four-door sedan. Sure, there are some sedans to be had, but most shoppers prefer utility vehicles, as these are prized for their roominess, high profile, cargo space, and towing capabilities. The Toyota RAV4 is an excellent example of what customers want. In fact, it is the best-selling model that isn’t a pickup truck.
Highlights of the 2022 Toyota RAV4
We’ll examine the RAV4 from every perspective important to shoppers, beginning with the price and trims. Then follow with details about the design, technology, safety, and the powertrain. We’ll also look at all matters of on- and off-road behavior, the competitive set, and conclude with final buying advice.
As for the current-generation RAV4, this model rolled out in 2019, then added the TRD Off-Road grade the following year. Other changes since then include the addition of satellite radio, Android Auto, an available 8-way power driver’s seat, and lighting upgrades inside and out.
Pricing and Trims
Toyota prices the 2022 RAV4 at $26,975. Choose the top trim, add all-wheel drive and every package option and your cost tops $40,000. Add $1,215 for the destination charge. Toyota offers the RAV4 in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims. This model seats five.
A Matter of Design
The RAV4 most certainly has matured since it rolled out in the mid-1990s. Its arrival heralded a new segment, one that Toyota has led for years. The earliest models seemed toy-like in comparison, subcompact SUVs with two- and four-door body choices.
As the RAV4 went through generational changes, its styling became more sophisticated and nuanced. It also became a compact model and offered an available V6 as well as a third row for a season. But the larger engine and the extra row are gone in favor of a more uniform design.
The current iteration is blocky, with an aggressive nose, and strong shoulders. The look is nearer to a traditional SUV than a common crossover and that was done with purpose. Indeed, the available TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims demonstrate that there is more substance to the way the RAV4 behaves off-road. Even if the reality is something quite different.
Inside, the RAV4 is spacious with excellent room for four and decent room for five. The rear seat offers tight quarters for three adults, but is useful in a pinch. We believe families with two children will find the space adequate for their needs. If you require more space, the midsize Highlander SUV or the Sienna minivan is the way to go.
Toyota also understands that families spend more time in their vehicles than ever. Convenience features such as storage compartments and drink holders abound. The soft-touch materials counter the cheap feel of some competing models. The interior offers a clean, uncluttered design. It is easy on the eyes and entirely suitable for the task.
On the tech front, the RAV4 comes with a standard 7-inch touchscreen display. A 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio is incorporated. Other features include Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. Three USB ports and a Wi-Fi hotspot are standard.
Some trims contain an 11-speaker JBL audio system and a 9-inch touchscreen display. Additional features include HD radio, navigation, wireless device charging, and four additional USB ports. Also available is a 7-inch digital instrument cluster display.
The 2022 RAV4 comes with a long list of standard driver-assist technology. These features include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise. Lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and lane tracing assist come standard. Every trim features automatic high-beam headlights and traffic sign recognition.
Most trims offer or include rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic parking assist. A surround-view parking camera system is available.
Engine and Transmission
The four-cylinder engine is commonly used by manufacturers in this segment. The Toyota RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the front or all four wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.
By the Grades
With six grades for the choosing, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is not without a model to please nearly everyone. The LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited grades offer standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive ($1,400 upgrade). The Adventure and TRD Off-Road grades come with all-wheel drive. The prices listed do not include the $1,215 destination charge.
Toyota RAV4 LE ($26,975 (FWD)/$28,375 (AWD))
Typically, we wouldn’t recommend a base model, but the LE grade does come well equipped. This one features LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights and stop lights. It also features power outside mirrors, 17-inch steel wheels, and dual chrome exhaust tips.
Inside, the seats are trimmed in fabric. Full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and air conditioning come standard. A 7-inch touchscreen display, six speakers, and three USB ports are included. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, connected services, and satellite radio are part of this package. The standard Toyota Safety Sense package is included.
Toyota RAV4 XLE ($28,445 (FWD)/$29,845 (AWD))
Building on the base model, the XLE brings in enhanced LED lighting, heated side mirrors, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, this model comes equipped with dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way adjustable driver seat with lumbar support, keyless entry with push-button start and a rear cargo area cover. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are added here.
Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium ($31,335 (FWD)/$32,735 (AWD))
The XLE Premium trim adds integrated LED fog lights, a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, a power liftgate, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside, a leather-trim steering wheel is offered.
Toyota RAV4 Adventure ($33,230 (AWD))
Designed to go off-roading, the adventure grade upgrades the multi-terrain select system with mud and sand, rock and dirt, and snow modes. It is with this trim that the RAV4 reaches its maximum 3,500-pound towing capacity.
Active grille shutters, black embellishments, and unique raised roof rails are among the features offered here. Inside, this grade comes with imitation leather seats with orange accents and stitching on the dash, an orange accented interior, and a 120-volt power outlet.
Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road ($36,915 (AWD))
Similar to the Adventure grade, the TRD Off-Road supplies enhanced off-road capabilities. This crossover rides on Falken WILDPEAK all-terrain tires wrapped within 18-inch matte black alloy wheels. Black and TRD embellishments abound.
Inside, the cabin features a red-accented interior with red stitching on the dashboard, doors, and the seats. Imitation leather seats with red highlights and TRD all-weather floor mats and cargo liner are included.
Toyota RAV4 Limited ($35,475 (FWD)/$36,875 (AWD))
Puddle lamps come with the Limited grade. This model also has blue ambient interior lighting, a digital multi-information display, and heated front seats. Front and rear parking assist with automated braking are included.
In any form, the RAV4 does a wonderful job around town. It offers decent step-off acceleration, ample passing power, and a comfortable ride. You won’t confuse this model with a performance sedan, but its steering is communicative and it handles twisty roads well with minimal roll.
We credit the transmission with delivering smooth shifts on demand. We’ve seen some competing transmissions with nine or more gears get lost hunting for cogs while under hard acceleration. The RAV4’s transmission remained composed at all times. That said, expect some engine whine when pressing the pedal to the metal. This becomes especially apparent in sport mode as the transmission shift points are drawn out. Simply shift to normal or eco modes to reduce this feeling.
Toyota lent us an Off-Road trim and we found it does a decent job on trails, with its grippy tires keeping the RAV4 honest on muddy expanses. The various modes for mud, sand, dirt, and snow are handy. But know this: you won’t want to venture far off a well-worn path, otherwise you risk becoming stuck. Also, there isn’t sufficient underbody cladding to protect the vitals, such as a skid plate for the gas tank. Most drivers will stay on the road with this one with the occasional trail romp for special times.
The compact SUV market is perhaps the strongest segment in the auto industry. Every manufacturer has at least one entry. Toyota stands out as it offers standard and plug-in hybrid models along with its popular gas model.
Among the chief competitors are the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, and the Chevrolet Equinox. The GMC Terrain, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Mitsubishi Outlander are other models to consider. Not to be left out are the Subaru Forester, Buick Envision, Jeep Cherokee, and the Mazda CX-5 and CX-50.
There is much to digest when examining the Toyota RAV4. Add in the hybrids to the mix and the choices are bountiful. We stuck with the gas model for this comparison, but with 40 mpg within reach with the hybrids, considering one is a sensible approach.
Package upgrades offer further personalization, but for a cost. The sweet spot may be the XLE Premium trim. Without a package conversion, the cost is about $34,000 for the all-wheel-drive version. That is about where models in this segment now cost.
2022 Toyota RAV4 Specifications
|Price Range||$26,975 to $36,875|
|Standard Engine||2.5-liter, I4|
|Horsepower||203 hp @ 6,600 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||184 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||3,370 to 3,655|
|Height (inches)||73.0 to 73.4|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||37.7 / 39.5|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||41.0 / 37.8|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||57.8 / 56.4|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||54.3 / 47.7|
|Storage (cubic feet)||37.5 / 69.8|
|Gross combined weight rating (pounds)||4,610 to 4,705|
|Towing (pounds)||1,500 or 3,500|
|Payload (pounds)||1,050 to 1,240|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||14.5|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||27 / 35 / 30|
|Manufacturing Plant||Cambridge, Ontario CANADA|
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.
See Also — Chronicling 25 Years of the Toyota RAV4
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