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February 5, 2023

Review: 2023 Toyota RAV4 LTD Hybrid

Sport Utility Vehicles are all gas guzzlers, right? Well, not the Toyota RAV4. Sized smack in the middle of the compact SUV segment, it produces class-leading fuel economy figures, and that’s counting the diesel-fed Honda CR-V. How’s that possible? In a flash of brilliance, the entire RAV4 is now a hybrid. Though you still fill it up with gasoline like Petron XCS in the usual way, there’s an electric motor to share the effort and cut fuel consumption. It’s quite the ace, and this finally helps it shine.

Fitted with the same 2.5-liter Dynamic Force (A25A-FXS) engine found in the Camry Hybrid, the RAV4 makes slightly more power (218 versus 211 horsepower), while producing the same amount of torque (221 Nm). As a result, when its brain tells the gas engine and electric motor to work in unison, it produces a surprisingly good zero to 100 km/h time—8.4 seconds reckons Toyota.

Of course, because this is a hybrid, the extra oomph provided by the electric motor is the bonus. The real pièce de resistance is how the energy stored in the nickel-metal hydride battery under the rear seats gives the RAV4 impressive fuel consumption figures; figures like 16.94 km/L good, and that’s strictly during weekday traffic. On the weekends, the trip computer registers 18.86 km/L—an almost unbelievable amount everything considered. Mind you, these figures were all achieved all without have to fiddle around with the different drive modes or adopt driving styles. The Toyota hybrid is an elegant start-and-forget setup. It’s that foolproof.

With a strong electric motor that produces about 120 horsepower, it can propel itself at low speeds without switching the combustion engine on. It also does the same thing when maintaining speed on the highway. And thanks to a read out that displays the total time the RAV4 spends on electric propulsion, you’d be surprised that it can do so 60 to 70 percent of the time. But again, because it still requires to be loaded with gasoline, it’s best to go for a fuel that promotes fuel efficiency such as Petron XCS.

Besides its stellar fuel economy and peppy straight line go, the RAV4’s underpinnings make it a tidy handler. It still can’t match the mechanical sharpness of the CX-5, but it’s still relatively fun to drive. The steering has near-center immediacy, while still exhibiting a high level of stability. It corners cleanly too, though push it extra hard, and it will be unwilling to change direction quickly.

Toyota’s decision to concentrate on the dynamic aspect seems to have affected the RAV4’s ride somewhat as well. The platform is more solid than ever, but it still has some difficulty quelling particularly nasty ruts. In particular, undulating surfaces like badly-patched roads or raised corrugated markings like the ones on NAIAX or SLEX are its biggest weakness.

When it comes to looks, Toyota has gotten it right. Though it was launched way back in 2019, it still looks great. The strong and express design works well, particularly when viewed from the front. And while it keeps the same basic two-box design as its predecessors, the proportions are perfect. Along with its shift to hybrid power, it’s also received minor tweaks to its headlights and 18-inch wheels.

Inside, the RAV4 disappoints somewhat. Though modern and well-made, it doesn’t exactly communicate a feeling of specialness demanded of a P 2.607-million price tag. Don’t get it wrong, it looks smart and feels plush, but it just lacks visual pizzazz or drama. Still, you have to award it points for adding an air of ruggedness courtesy of the rubberized finish to the door handles as well as AC and infotainment knobs.

Speaking about infotainment, for 2023 Toyota has updated the system found in the RAV4. The 7-inch system is decades better than before, though the resolution feels like it was plucked from the mid-2010s. Still, at least it’s easier to use and the display’s actually legible. Plus, smartphone integration in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now standard. Also, the standard 6-speaker sound system is passable at best. For its price, Toyota should have at least fitted the JBL speaker system. If they could offer it on the Fortuner and Camry Hybrid, they could have certainly offered it here. The Panoramic View Monitor (360-degree camera), while a welcome addition, is of a poor resolution that anything save for the traditional back view is hard to make out.

Despite the stylized exterior, you sit quite high even at the driver’s seat lowest setting. The seating is comfy and is quickly realized thanks to a multitude of adjustments. Visibility is also quite good. The gauges mix both the traditional and the digital to good effect. The control scheme, with its large buttons and logical placement are easy to master. For the four other occupants, the RAV4 is equally rewarding with its wealth of space, especially for those in the back. The wide interior won’t have your passengers encroaching into your personal space while also opening up a number of decently-sized storage options. The cargo space is equally impressive, swallowing four full-sized luggage with ease. A power tailgate with hands-free operation makes loading and unloading bulky items a breeze.

When Toyota came up with the first-generation RAV4 in 1996, it was a funky, and more importantly, pioneering vehicle. Sadly, it was a slow decline since then with the previous model being a whipping boy for mediocrity. Now, with a hybrid powertrain, it has finally made a strong case for itself once more. As a compact SUV, it hits all the right notes (save for price) when it comes to smart, practical family-friendly rides. The drive is ordinary, but astounding fuel economy and a fantastic reliability record means owners would be laughing all the way to the gas station.

2023 Toyota RAV4 LTD Hybrid

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Bottom Line
Pros Styling still holds up, unbeatable fuel economy, roomy interior
Cons So-so driving dynamics, bland interior, dated infotainment system
TL;DR Finally, the RAV4 is good at something and that'll have owners laughing all the way to the gas station
Year Introduced 2019 (Refreshed: 2022)
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Compact SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 178 @ 5,700 (218 combined)
Nm @ rpm 221 @ 3,600-5,200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 16.94 km/L @ 18 km/h
(fueled with Petron XCS)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,600
Width (mm) 1,855
Height (mm) 1,685
Wheelbase (mm) 2,690
Curb Weight (kg) 1,703
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Alenza H/L 33 225/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Pre-Collision System
Lane Tracing Assist
Lane Departure Alert
Blind Spot Monitor
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, w/ Auto High Beam
Fog Lamps Yes, LED
Light Operation Auto On/Off
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-Way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-Way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof Panoramic
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-Dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, Automatic (Front) w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. This is the vehicle that boy interior loathes. He said that he would rather have a hard to maintain Peugeot that has a good looking interior and exotic brand name to impress his friends versus a reliable, fuel efficient, more powerful Toyota.

    1. I'd rather have the RAV4's interior. Bland but makes ergonomic sense. The Peugeots have been very messy. Not intuitive at all.

    2. Interior boy and this guy still at it, its 2023 now folks.

    3. Boy interior was an anonymous commenter here who very much chooses his vehicles based on the the looks of the interior over everything else. He also said that driving a Peugeot would impress his peers.

    4. Not exactly sure since everyone was anonymous back then but they are the reason you had to remove anonymous, all started when people compared Rav4 and a peugeot because they were announced in the same month last year. Interior boy made a remark then this guy replied. Interior boy has the skin of an onion and this guy is a troll. I think every peugeot article has this guy commenting about interior boy.

  2. All the bad marks go away when Rav 4 vehicles are fully loaded Including panoramic roof

    1. It's better than it was before. It's also very expensive...but at least easier to swallow than the previous version's P 2.188-million price with much less features.

  3. Not sure if the 400k price premium of the LTD vs the base XLE model is justified considering its the same front wheel drive.


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