While the 2022 Toyota RAV4 isn’t the most entertaining compact SUV from a driver’s standpoint, its practicality and efficiency bolster its value and make it worthy of an Editor’s Choice award. The entry-level model is affordable but very basic, but mid-range trims offer plenty of features that buyers in this segment will appreciate. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard as is an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available, but you won’t see even the most rugged model in the RAV4 lineup sidling up to a 4Runner or a Tacoma at the trailhead. Toyota bundles a host of standard driver-assistance features into the RAV4, including adaptive cruise control. Upscale trims come with luxury features such as faux-leather upholstery, heated seats, and a JBL stereo system. Those who want even more efficiency can go with a RAV4 Hybrid, which we review separately.
What’s New for 2022?
The RAV4 receives the most minor of updates for 2022: More aggressively-styled headlamps are now offered on all but the base LE model, Calvary Blue is a new available color, and LED fog lamps are now standard on XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2022 RAV4 uses a 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive remains standard, but Toyota now offers a choice of all-wheel-drive systems, dependent on trim. The Adventure model we drove was equipped with an all-wheel-drive system that can disconnect the rear axle when needed to improve fuel economy. At our test track, the RAV4 proved to be quicker than its predecessor: We recorded a 60-mph time of 8.0 seconds with the 2019 model and 8.3 seconds with the 2018. The dutiful four-cylinder can be noisy, especially during highway-passing attempts, and the transmission on our test vehicle seemed to stumble when called upon for a downshift. The RAV4 Hybrid—reviewed separately—snapped off an even quicker 7.4-second 60-mph time in our hands. The RAV4 feels solid and stable when cruising the interstate and holds its own when pitched into a twisty section of road, but it doesn’t inspire the same confidence as our segment favorite, the Mazda CX-5.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The RAV4 earned class-competitive fuel-economy estimates from the EPA. Front-wheel-drive RAV4s can manage up to an estimated 35 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive Adventure delivered 32 mpg for us on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route, 1 mpg shy of the EPA’s estimated rating for that trim. That puts it neck and neck with the Honda CR-V and represents a huge improvement over the 2018 Adventure model (which managed only 25 mpg), but it is outdone by the Volkswagen Tiguan, which delivered 33 mpg. For more information about the RAV4’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the RAV4 prioritizes ergonomics and cubby storage. A useful shelf spans the dash and complements the large center console. The version we tested featured a mix of soft-touch surfaces and nice plastics. The base trim, called LE, is quite spartan and comes with cloth seats, a plasticky steering wheel, and single-zone manual climate control. On the next-step-up XLE, Toyota throws in a few perks, but there’s much more to like on the XLE Premium, including faux-leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a stitched and padded dashboard and center-console armrest. The RAV4’s rear seats are easy to stow, and they fold to a nearly flat position, opening up the cabin for cargo. We fit 10 of our carry-on suitcases behind the rear seat and 22 with it folded. The Nissan Rogue matched the RAV4 here, but the Subaru Forester beat it by one in each metric.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Lower trims come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, but an 8.0-incher can be had starting at the XLE level. The infotainment system includes a 4G LTE mobile hotspot and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. A JBL premium audio system, navigation, and a wireless charging pad for a smartphone are optional. If you opt for a trim level without nav, don’t fret. 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.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The RAV4 lineup boasts an array of standard driver assists. Buyers also can add blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert, but those features cost extra on the base model. For more information about the RAV4’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control