2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

The versatile 2017 RAV4 Hybrid boasts exceptional fuel economy and a spacious cabin.
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

There aren't many choices if you want to buy a compact crossover segment and achieve remarkable fuel economy. Before 2016, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid was the only hybrid crossover in the game, and we didn't think its marginal fuel savings were worth the higher price. (Customers apparently agreed because the Crosstrek Hybrid has been discontinued for 2017.) Thankfully, last year brought the debut of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which offered significantly higher fuel economy compared to the regular RAV4. We think the price bump is justified.

If you're worried that this fuel-sipping crossover won't be able to keep up with traffic, know that those fears will go unfounded. The RAV4 Hybrid is quicker from 0 to 60 mph than the standard RAV4 and even many other crossovers in this class. You might also worry about cargo space, but again the RAV4 Hybrid hardly suffers. Storage is barely impacted by the hybrid battery pack, which trims space from 38.4 cubic feet to 35.6 cubic feet. Overall, the RAV4 Hybrid is a compelling compact crossover with all the benefits of a traditional hybrid with few downsides.



what's new

New for 2017 is a standard suite of safety systems that Toyota calls Safety Sense. Included are a forward collision warning system, lane departure warning and intervention, automatic high-beam control and adaptive cruise control.

we recommend

We think the mid-tier SE is the one to get. The entry-level XLE with the Convenience package is a good deal, but pay a little more (and sacrifice the front and rear parking sensors) and you can get the SE with its faux-leather upholstery, heated front seats and LED exterior lighting. It also opens the door to the 11-speaker Entune Premium JBL Audio package for those who absolutely need a bumping sound system. The Limited's upgrades don't seem worth the extra cost.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is one of your only choices if you're in the market for a compact crossover with seating for five and fuel economy that only a hybrid can provide. An electric motor and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (194 horsepower combined) are connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is standard. The RAV4 Hybrid comes in three trims: XLE, SE and Limited, all of which have similar features to their standard RAV4 counterparts. The XLE is loaded with equipment, while the SE and Limited command price jumps that we think are proportionate to their extra content.

Highlights for the XLE include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with auto high-beam control, foglights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface (Entune), keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Several advanced safety systems are standard this year, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning and intervention.

Our favorite is one step up: the SE. With it you also get LED lighting (including headlights), 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, simulated-leather upholstery (SofTex), a power driver seat, heated front seats and a power liftgate,

If you want it all, though, there's the range-topping Limited trim with its front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, driver-seat memory settings, and a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and smartphone app integration.

Some of the SE and Limited's features can be added to the XLE as options. A premium JBL sound system and a surround-view parking camera system are other notable options for the SE and Limited.

driving

Acceleration won't blow your hair back, but the RAV4 Hybrid is noticeably quicker than the non-hybrid RAV4. And although the RAV4 is not especially sporty, it's secure when you're driving around turns. The overall integration of the hybrid drivetrain is seamless, making this RAV4 easy to drive.

comfort

The RAV4 Hybrid feels refined and comfortable in everyday driving, although we wish the front seats were more supportive and the rear bench bottom wasn't mounted so low. The interior is very quiet, especially when you're at low speed and only using electric power.

interior

Front passengers will find the cabin roomy, but rear occupants might feel cramped by the narrow seats. Visibility is excellent, with no significant blind spots and a standard rearview camera. Controls on the center stack are easy to reach but feel a little flimsy.

utility

The cargo space behind the rear seats is good, especially considering the hybrid's battery pack takes out a small chunk of usable space. Folding the rear seats expands storage amply, though they don't fold completely flat and there's an odd lip in the cargo area.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.