2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited Review – Perennially a best-selling SUV, the RAV4 can be had in a wide range of iterations, so it’s no wonder it’s so popular. Price-Leader LE models are pretty basic, but an available hybrid Powertrain Control is compelling. High-end Limited models can challenge the Lexus NX with their many luxury features and a new TRD off-road model promises enhanced capacity as they hit the trails. Its robust styling makes it look right at home with the Toyota 4Runner SUV and Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Driving dynamics tend toward the mundane side of the spectrum, but most consumers will find the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s ride comfortable and its handling comfortable. Adult passengers will also be pleased with Toyota’s generous legroom in both front and rear seats; Cargo Room is also competitive with the best in the segment.
Toyota introduces the TRD off-road model for 2020, which comes with unique 18-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, a TRD off-road suspension kit with red Coil springs, and lots of TRD logos ear tags interior and exterior. Elsewhere in the lineup, Android Auto capability becomes a standard feature as does SiriusXM satellite radio; The XLE models now come with a Power-adjustable driver’s seat, but lose the standard moonroof, which becomes part of the optional convenience package. The mid-range Adventure model gets a leather wrapped steering wheel and Shift knob, but the Power Lift Gate model is now optional. Limited trims now come with the premium JBL sound system as standard.
The gas-powered 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid uses a 203-HP 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front or all-wheel drive. The adventure model we drove was equipped with the more advanced system for all wheel drive that can cut off the rear axle to improve fuel economy. On our test track, this RAV4 proved to be faster than the one it replaces; We recorded a zero-to-60-mph time of 8.0 seconds with the 2019 model and 8.3 seconds in the 2018 model. The dutiful four-cylinder engine can be noisy, especially during Highway-Passing trials, and the transmission on our test vehicle seemed to stumble when called for a downshift. The RAV4 is also available with a hybrid powertrain — unique in this class and price point — and it cracked a 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph time in our hands. The RAV4 feels solid and stable when crossing the Interstate and holds its own when inserted into a twisty part of the road, but it doesn’t inspire the same way the Mazda CX-5 does.
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid earned class-competitive fuel economy ratings from EPA, but non-Adventure models are the most effective, and hybrid ratings have not been released. Front-wheel drive RAV4s are rated at up to 35 mpg. Rated at 33 MPG, the adventure model delivered just 32 mpg for us on our 200-mile Highway Fuel-Economy route. This number matches the Honda CR-v’s and represents a huge improvement over the 2018 RAV4 Adventure (25 mpg), but is surpassed by the more efficient Volkswagen Tiguan, which delivered 33 mpg. The RAV4 hybrid model delivered 37 MPG, but that’s 1 mpg less than its EPA rating.
Inside, 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid prioritizes ergonomics and Cubby Storage. A workable shelf spans the dash and complements the large center console. The version we tested also mixed soft-touch surfaces and better plastic. The base Le version is quite spartan and comes with cloth seats, a plastic steering wheel, and single-zone manual climate control. On the XLE trim, Toyota throws in a few perks, but on the XLE Premium and more expensive models there is a lot more to like, including faux-leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a stitched padded dashboard and center console armrest . The RAV4’s rear seats are easy to stow and fold to an almost flat position, opening the cabin to load. We fit 10 of our carry-on suitcases behind the rear seat and a total of 22 with the rear seats folded. The Nissan rogue matched the RAV4 here, but Subaru Forester beat them both by one in each Metric.
Each 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has a base 7.0 or optional 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes a 4G LTE mobile hotspot and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto capabilities. A JBL Premium audio system, navigation and a wireless charging pad for a smartphone are optional. For those who can’t afford to upgrade to infotainment with navigation, all other models come with Scout GPS link, which allows compatible smartphones to display a map and turn-by-turn directions to the dashtop screen.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a five star rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a top safety pick +. The RAV4 lineup boasts a wide range of standard driver assists. Buyers can also add blind-spot monitoring and Rear Cross-traffic Alert, but these features cost extra on the base model.
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid guarantees the industry line with three years of bumper-to-bumper coverage and five years for Powertrain. But hybrid models come with a long-term protection plan for their high-tech components, and all models come with two years of free scheduled maintenance – a rarity in this segment.
LE: $ 27,000 (EST.)
XLE: $ 29,000 (EST.)
LE hybrid: $ 30,000 (EST.)
XLE Premium: $ 31,000 (EST.)
Adventure: $ 34,000 (EST.)
Limited: $ 35,000 (EST.)
TRD off-road: $ 36,000 (EST.)
It’s hard for us to resist the cool new TRD off-road model, but we want to practice restraint and go for the mid-range XLE Premium. It adds plenty of standard equipment that LE and XLE don’t offer, such as 19-inch wheels, a Power Lift Gate, dual-zone automatic climate control, imitation leather padding, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Shift knob. Toyota makes its suite of driver assistance features standard across the lineup, so we see little reason to spend more money on a more expensive trim or add expensive option packages to the XLE Premium.