2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • Great fuel economy for a compact crossover
  • Small price premium over standard RAV4
  • One of the biggest, more useful cargo areas of any compact crossover
  • Advanced safety and driver aids come standard
  • Interior more utilitarian in look and feel than those of competitors
  • Less useful interior storage as well
  • Noticeable shudder when gas engine kicks in
  • Real leather seating is not available
Other years
2018
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for Sale
2018
List Price Range
$17,998 - $29,991

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Which RAV4 Hybrid does Edmunds recommend?

We would recommend a RAV4 Hybrid XLE. For about $2,000 over the LE, it provides enough desirable equipment that will actually make a difference to you on the daily drive. You really don't need the SE's sportier suspension, and its simulated upholstery is not as appealing as the XLE's fabric. We also like that you can opt separately for the heated front seats with eight-way driver-seat adjustment.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.2 / 10

If you're having trouble picking a compact crossover, we don't blame you. There's a ton of them. They're all pretty good, and they often even look alike. Among this group, the regular Toyota RAV4 doesn't stand out much. In general, we've found rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 to be more refined, engaging and even luxurious. But the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has something even those models lack: exceptional fuel economy.

The higher fuel economy of the RAV4 Hybrid allows it to exit the shadows and draw attention to itself. That would be, perhaps not surprisingly, its fuel economy of 32 mpg combined. None of its conventionally powered competitors can match that and it doesn't come with an overly prohibitive price premium.

When you consider that along with its standard safety tech, huge interior, surprising acceleration and, yes, Toyota's reliability reputation, the RAV4 Hybrid becomes one of the must-drive vehicles in the segment.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid as one of Edmunds' Best Hybrid SUVs for this year.

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. It consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three motor generators — one that powers various vehicle systems, one that powers the front wheels and one that powers the rear wheels, effectively creating a standard all-wheel-drive system. Total system output is 194 horsepower. There are four trim levels: LE, XLE, SE and Limited. The regular RAV4's Adventure and Platinum trims are not available.

The new-for-2018 LE base trim comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, integrated blind-spot mirrors, rear privacy glass, roof rails, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a 60/40-split folding and reclining second-row seat.

Also standard is Toyota Safety Sense P (forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams), a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, one USB port, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a media player interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The XLE adds foglights, a sunroof, an upgraded rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation package that includes satellite radio, HD radio, Siri Eyes Free and a Scout GPS smartphone-based navigation system. Heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver is optional.

The SE adds sportier suspension tuning, 18-inch wheels, special exterior styling, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems (optional on XLE), automatic LED headlights, LED running lights and taillights, a height-adjustable power liftgate, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and SofTex vinyl upholstery.

The Limited reverts to the XLE's styling and suspension tuning, but includes the SE's other upgrades. It further adds front and rear parking sensors, chrome exterior trim, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming mirror, and the Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite (optional on the XLE and SE) that includes a 7-inch higher-resolution touchscreen, a variety of smartphone apps and an integrated hard-drive-based Toyota navigation system. A hands-free liftgate is a stand-alone option.

An 11-speaker JBL audio system can be added to the SE and Limited trim levels as either a stand-alone item or within an Advanced Technology package that also includes a bird's-eye view parking camera, and on the SE, the parking sensors and auto-dimming mirror. The XLE's Hybrid Convenience package adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, the power liftgate, and the Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App suite.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE (2.5L inline-4 hybrid | CVT automatic | AWD).

Driving

7.5
The RAV4 Hybrid offers sprightly accelerative performance, even beating the standard RAV4 in a drag race. It's also a decent handler, though it's a little wallowy in a set of switchbacks. The grabby mechanical brakes make it feel like you're just learning how to drive every time you use them.

Acceleration

9.0
The instant torque provided by the battery and dual electric motors help the Hybrid jump off the line quicker than the standard RAV4. Makes you wish that every compact crossover had a hybrid variant. Zero to 60 takes 8 seconds flat, quicker than any non-turbocharged rival.

Braking

6.0
The brake pedal is long and mushy with little resistance. The handoff from regenerative to mechanical brakes is noticeable, making it hard to brake smoothly. Braking to a stop from 60 mph took 123 feet, a few feet longer than average.

Steering

6.5
Steering effort is a little heavier than normal for this class. The wheel isn't difficult to turn, however, and it's easy to turn into a parking spot. Out on the road, rivals from Ford, Honda and Mazda provide more engaging and confidence-inspiring steering.

Handling

7.0
You wouldn't think a big, heavy crossover (it tips the scales at nearly 4,000 pounds) goes around corners well, but you'd be surprised. The RAV4 Hybrid is composed around sweeping corners at higher speeds. Tight corners and back-to-back transitions reveal ample body roll.

Drivability

8.0
The Hybrid pulls away from a stop under battery power, but there's a noticeable shudder and kick-in when the engine fires to life midacceleration. Avoid driving in Eco mode; it severely dulls throttle response. Sport mode keeps the engine revving higher, but responses are still sluggish at times.

Off-road

The RAV4 Hybrid is technically all-wheel-drive, but it relies on an electric motor for rear power and the system isn't a mechanical one like the regular RAV4's and lacks the locking center differential. It's not well-suited to adventures off the beaten path.

Comfort

7.5
The front seats are roomy and shaped well, but only the driver gets lumbar and height adjustment. The seats feel comfortable even on a long road trip, but road noise and wind noise are omnipresent. Ride quality is comfy but suffers when you opt for the SE trim.

Seat comfort

7.0
Front seats are comfy enough, but there's no lumbar adjustment unless you upgrade to the SE (though its imitation leather isn't as comfy as the XLE's cloth). Only the driver seat is height-adjustable. Three-person seating in the back is challenging due to an oddly placed middle seat-belt anchor.

Ride comfort

8.5
The SE's sporty suspension tuning improves handling but not enough to warrant the busier and harsher ride. Perhaps the extra suspension travel for 2018 will change this, but we'd probably stick with any of the other, more comfortable-riding trim levels.

Noise & vibration

6.5
There's not much engine noise at any speed unless you're really pushing the RAV4 Hybrid hard. There's a noticeable jolt when the gas engine kicks in after pulling away from a start under electric power. Wind and tire noise is overly intrusive while cruising on the highway. Others are much quieter.

Climate control

7.0
The dual-zone climate control adeptly cools the interior on a hot day. There are no rear air vents. Toggle switches for the heated seats are hidden depending on viewing angle, so you'll have to remember to switch them off. Even on the low setting, they get nice and toasty.

Interior

7.5
Entry and exit are easy, and most occupants will find the cabin quite roomy. The controls on the upper portion of the center console are easy to reach, but you might have difficulty finding some of the buttons and switches below. Outward visibility is excellent.

Ease of use

7.0
The infotainment system features a nice mix between physical buttons and easy-to-press virtual ones. Eco and Sport buttons are out of the way, as are toggle switches for the heated front seats. The door's vertical-oriented grab handles mean the rear armrests are really just elbow rests.

Getting in/getting out

7.5
A low step-in height and tall doors make for easy entry and exit in the front, except for drivers who like a raised seat. The steering wheel tilt is limited, and drivers may hit their knees on the column. Entering/exiting the rear is also easy due to the seats' lack of thigh padding and bolstering.

Driving position

7.5
The driver's seat offers enough range of height adjustment, and the seat bottom angles up nicely. As in many other Toyotas, the steering wheel doesn't offer enough tilt or telescoping adjustment.

Roominess

7.0
There's an abundance of head- and legroom throughout the cabin. Four 6-footers will have no problem on a long road trip. Even the middle seat position has enough headroom for an adult. Side bolsters make the front seats a bit narrow.

Visibility

9.0
The tall and wide windows allow for an expansive view out. There's a sizable window in the three-quarter view that compensates for the wide rear roof pillar. The rear window is also large. Overall, the RAV4 is impressively easy to see out of.

Quality

5.5
The RAV4 looks and feels cheap compared to its top competitors. There's a ton of hard plastic throughout, and the utilitarian design doesn't help. SofTex vinyl covers the seats in top four trims, but unlike other faux leathers, it's obviously vinyl and there's no option for real leather.

Utility

7.0
Not only does the RAV4 Hybrid offer one of the largest cargo areas in the class, its low liftover height means you won't strain your back while loading heavy items. The liftgate doesn't open very high, however. Small, haphazardly placed storage cubbies aren't very useful.

Small-item storage

6.5
Two different-size cupholders are separated by the shifter. There are a couple of small, oddly shaped storage areas on the center stack, including a shallow, low-grip smartphone holder that isn't very good at holding smartphones. Not great for this family-friendly segment.

Cargo space

9.0
The cargo area is wide and flat, with a low liftover height. The maximum cargo volume of 35.6 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 70.6 cubes with them folded is slightly less than what the regular RAV4 offers. But it's still larger than the cargo areas of almost every other nonhybrid.

Child safety seat accommodation

6.0
The lower LATCH anchors are well-concealed and far from the seatback; you really have to reach in and fish around to find them. The three seatback tethers can be accessed with the cargo cover in place, but these are also hidden under a thin cloth cover.

Towing

Unlike the regular RAV4, which can be optioned to tow up to 3,500 pounds, the Hybrid is limited to 1,750 pounds. It's one of the few sacrifices for going battery-electric.

Technology

6.5
The infotainment system is easy to navigate and use, but the graphics look rather dated, and it's impossible to see the screen in direct sunlight. All RAV4 models receive standard safety tech. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and multiple USB ports are not available.

Audio & navigation

6.0
The standard touchscreen is easy to use. It has a relatively simple layout and menu structure, but it's not particularly attractive, the screen is small and resolution is fairly low. Optional 7-inch screen offers nominal improvement. Either washes out in direct sunlight.

Smartphone integration

6.5
There's a single USB port in front and none in the back. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are notably absent. Instead, Toyota uses a smartphone integration system of its own design called Entune. You'll have to download the app, create an account, and pair your phone before it's ready to be used.

Driver aids

7.0
Unique for the segment, the RAV4 comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot warning is available on all but LE. Adaptive cruise doesn't maintain speed downhill and the clarity of the standard rearview camera is poor.

Voice control

6.0
Hitting the voice control button displays a list of phrases, and the recognition software also recognizes natural speech. It's not the best, with a lot of garbled translations before it hits the mark. Best to use Siri Eyes Free if you have an iPhone (accessed by holding the phone disconnect button).

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.2 / 10
Driving7.5
Comfort7.5
Interior7.5
Utility7.0
Technology6.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Love This SUV!
Jenny,02/25/2018
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
An update to my original review. Now, after nearly two years' ownership, I still love this hybrid! One update to the audio system (listed at the end). As it has broken in, my city MPG has improved to 36 MPG! This is 2-3 MPG better than my former Camry Hybrid and this RAV4 hybrid weighs more and has a huge trunk. Two big improvements over the old Camry Hybrid that I forgot to mention are that the "hybrid" brakes are greatly improved, feel essentially the same as a non-hybrid, now. Second, the feel of the steering is also much improved, I don't think that I am driving a hybrid in either case. The built-in Nav system is wonderful, accurate and I use it all of the time. Believe it or not, the optional seat warmers are great for soothing my lower back and loosening it up on the way to the gym (as well as afterwards). I've come to like the synthetic leather seat fabric, it doesn't get as hot during the summer as real leather and I don't have to use a leather conditioner on it. Feel very secure with all of the Toyota Safety Sense gizmos, worth every penny. Still unhappy with the Premium JBL Audio, a good table radio (Bose or Tivoli) sounds 10X better. Despite this crappy sound system, I'd gladly buy another RAV4 Hybrid if I didn't own this one! This is our second Toyota hybrid. Gifted our 11 y.o. Camry Hybrid after many miles and zero trouble, so we were interested in another Toyota hybrid. Drove the RAV4-H and loved it, but thought that we should also give the highly acclaimed 2018 CRV a try (we also own a recent CRV). The CRV is an excellent SUV, but we were leery of the long term reliability of a turbo engine and our past Hondas (4) have not lived up to their mpg ratings. Bought a RAV4-H Limited w/Adv. Tech. Package. Very happy with this car, getting 30+ mpg around town, which is only about 10% less than our former Camry-H. Quiet, smooth, comfortable, feels very safe. One significant Con to be aware of is that the Premium JBL Audio is nothing to write home about, mediocre sound at best (the Honda CRV Touring's premium sound system is no better), not worth the extra money. Minor Con, there is only 1 USB, which is tethered to the Entune system, whereas the CRV has lots. Added two Amazon USB adapters, one to the front 12V jack, another to a rear console 12V jack (for rear seat occupants), and all is good. Another minor Con that none of the reviews we read mentioned, the dashboard casts a significant reflection upon the lower part of the windshield in strong sunlight (the CRV has this issue, too). Dashboard mat on order. Other than these minor issues, we love our RAV4-H, especially when driving past our neighbors filling up their SUVs at the local gas station! 2019 Update. Got tired of the mediocre sounding JBL system and replaced all 6 of the door and dash speakers as well as the subwoofer with much better units as recommended by Crutchfield. Subwoofer amp installed in the flip-up storage area on the trunk floor just behind the seats (unique to the Hybrid). Subwoofer is one that fits in the same panel space as the OEM unit. Used the OEM JBL electronics. Sounds fantastic now.
great vehicle, very poor software implementation
Bob,01/10/2018
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
i was very impressed with this car. living in oregon, i was not expecting the car to reach it’s milage standard (ethanol blend gas) but so far we’re averaging about 34mpg combined. on a road trip to CA the milage was more towards 38mpg. the sound system, handling, styling are all great. the only negative, and it’s a big one, is their entune software system. it’s a “substitute” for apple/android carplay. it just doesn’t work. it doesn’t remember your phone or password and will randomly shut down. it’s time for toyota/lexus to support apple/android carplay and give up on this entune nonsense. reading reviews in the app store will give more than enough info on the subject.
Better than expected
ARG1,09/17/2018
LE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
The 2018 RAV4 is my 3rd RAV4, 1st hybrid. My 2016 gas xle drove like a sedan with a 27.5 combined mpg. Pretty good handling slow acceleration...just a very reliable car. The 2018 hybrid is giving me a combined 37.5mpg...is pretty quiet and has good exceleration...roomier than the 2016...takes curves well (I live in the Poconos)...the only concern so far is the noise and jolt when the gas engine kicks in after being in electric mode. Update: I now have the car for a year & my initial impression has been correct. I'm averaging about 36mpg city & 34mpg hwy. Traction in snow with the AWD was good with the factory all season Michelins. This car will never win any races...acceleration is adequate for normal driving. The 2018 RAV4 is a reliable family SUV.
More of everything
Michael,02/14/2018
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
The 2018 RAV4 does give you more than you expect without a lot of fluff. While I see some feel the CRV a bit more luxurious, I found it cramped and lacking without the hybrid option. The comparative Lexus NX which does offer a hybrid version suffers from the same feeling of being in a cockpit with an asking price far exceeding the Toyota version. I think its a great choice for those wanting more flexibility than found in a Camry but do not need or want a Highlander size trade up. I do think that black interiors, a common color in the RAV does make it seem dreary and challenging to keep to clean. I happened to get one with a cinnamon interior and think it makes the interior design far more attractive. It looks perfect with the the metallic gray exterior. I have had leather before in my Camry (gray) and have seen it age after only 7 years despite conditioning it regularly; hope the softex has a more extended life. Since its a Limited, would have expected dual power seats but its my only disappointment. Well, one more I guess...CD players have gone too. Did not catch that initially until I went to play one and realize it....I am getting old! Update: solid car, no surprises except the all weather floor mats hard to keep clean and switched to carpet ones. Neither is high quality but carpet is more resilient.

Features & Specs

MPG
34 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
34 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
34 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
34 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Hybrid
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the RAV4 Hybrid models:

Pre-Collision System
Warns the driver of a possible impact with other cars or pedestrians. Can automatically apply the brakes if necessary.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
Matches the speed of vehicles ahead when cruise control is in use on the highway. Generically known as adaptive cruise control.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
Warns you when drifting out of your lane and intervenes with steering input if needed. Generically known as lane keeping assist.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover17.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Overview

The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 Hybrid SUV. Available styles include Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), LE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and LE Plus Fleet 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited is priced between $25,776 and$29,991 with odometer readings between 22132 and63884 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE is priced between $22,985 and$23,254 with odometer readings between 35722 and57321 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE is priced between $21,890 and$27,695 with odometer readings between 14614 and99936 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE is priced between $17,998 and$25,985 with odometer readings between 22325 and69120 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE Plus Fleet is priced between $20,990 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 46016 and46016 miles.

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Which used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 14 used and CPO 2018 RAV4 Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,998 and mileage as low as 14614 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $22,383.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $21,214.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale - 4 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $21,018.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,661.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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