2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in reviews

The new Toyota RAV4 Plug-in takes its place at the pinnacle of the RAV4 range and as the flagship
of our hybrid model line-up, delivering a rare combination of power and efficiency.

Reviews from the model’s UK press launch are now being published, excerpts of which can be found below. They are listed in alphabetical order and with their numerical rating included where applicable. To read the full online reports, click on the emboldened links.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in reviews

Autocar: 4/5

“Mechanically speaking, it’s not dissimilar to the standard RAV4. [But] there are some key differences. The petrol engine now develops 182bhp… and the front electric motor’s output has been upped…to 180bhp. The rear motor still produces 54bhp, but combined they lend the RAV4 PHEV a system output of 302bhp.

“The lithium-ion drive battery… is mounted beneath the floor to lower the car’s centre of gravity. Toyota claims a WLTP-certified range of 46 miles, while a full charge can be delivered in 2.5 hours from a dedicated wall box.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“You’ve got a choice of four different powertrain operating modes. Start the car and it defaults to pure EV. Provided there’s enough juice in the battery you can travel at speeds of up to 84mph, and even if you hit the kick-down switch to summon a well of acceleration, the ICE motor won’t spark up. Throttle response is excellent, and forward progress arrives in a smooth, seamless fashion.”

Auto Express: 3.5/5

“With two electrified axles, the RAV4 drives through its electric motors nearly all the time. The driver can flick through four modes – EV for pure electric running, EV/HV, which shuffles between fully electric and hybrid power automatically, HV for solely hybrid running, and a charging mode, which sees the engine top up the battery on the move.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“From start-up, the RAV4 defaults to EV mode if there is enough charge in the battery. Keep the cell topped up – it can be recharged in 7.5 hours from a household plug or as little as 2.5 hours from a 7kW wall box – and there’s plenty of all-electric range to lean on.

“EV mode really means just that, and little will provoke the engine into action. Toyota claims up to 46 miles of pure-electric running is possible, and we managed 35 silent miles with no real effort. The car is extremely smooth, and on electric power alone it’s certainly fast enough for day-to-day life.”

Car Enthusiast: 3.5/5

“The fifth-gen RAV4 is a great-looking thing inside and out, and the PHEV builds upon that with a black mesh radiator grille, dark plating under-runs front and rear, metallic bumper finishes and its own design of 19-inch alloys. Inside, there’s plush leather with bespoke stitching, while the part-digital instrument cluster and switchgear on the centre console are both mildly altered to account for the plug-in set-up.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“Considering this is the marque’s first plug-in hybrid outside of the Prius line-up, it’s beautifully executed. It also rolls along magnificently, providing a cultured and hushed ride in towns while conducting itself equally elegantly on A-roads and motorways. The energy management of the Toyota’s system is exceptional and the decision to make it operate as an HEV after being a PHEV – or, more accurately, to ensure that the set-up always keeps more than the bare minimum reserves in the battery pack to allow for continuous HEV operation – reaps real benefits.”

Driving Electric: 3.5/5

“The numbers… aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a Toyota. This is a family SUV with a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an 18.1kWh battery. It’s got 302bhp and a 0-62mph time of just six seconds. It’ll do 46 miles on electricity at speeds of up to 84mph and emits just 22g/km of CO2 – putting it in one of the very lowest company-car tax bands. Charge it regularly and Toyota says it’ll do 282mpg.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“Depending on your usage, the Toyota RAV4 Plug-In could save you thousands of pounds in running costs compared to a conventional petrol, diesel or hybrid car.”

Fleet World: 4/5

“With 282.4mpg combined fuel consumption and BIK of just six percent, Toyota believes this model will be justifiably popular with fleet when the first UK buyers get their hands on them in April. In EV mode, the RAV4 Plug-in starts and drives in eerie silence.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“With over 300bhp on tap, the Toyota does feel eager from the start, with speed building quickly on the move. This RAV4 is a keen handler too, the result of stiff suspension and the battery pack situated under the floor. The RAV-4 Plug-in is a welcome addition to the rapidly growing plug-in SUV sector. Powerful, good to drive and offering welcome BIK savings.”

Motoring Research

“The key point is that it defaults to being a hybrid when the batteries run flat. And that makes it very efficient indeed. Let’s look at those efficiency numbers first, as any eagle-eyed fleet manager surely will. Here, the RAV4 plays its ace card, with an incredible 282.5mpg and CO2 emissions of just 22g/km… on the official WLTP fuel economy test.

“No matter how often you charge it, the RAV4 is extremely cheap to tax. The Dynamic model attracts a seven percent Benefit-In-Kind rate for 2021/22, meaning a 20% taxpayer stumps up £663 and a 40% taxpayer owes £1,326.

Toyota RAV4 PHEV

“[My] first 44 miles are completed in typical EV style, which is to say almost silently, with ever-present electric torque offering lively response and swift acceleration. As the range readout reaches zero and the RAV4 switches automatically into hybrid mode, I brace myself for the familiar drone of a petrol engine and CVT gearbox – but it never comes. Factor in extra sound insulation and acoustic front window glass and you have a mainstream SUV with a refinement of a fully-paid-up luxury car.”

Pocket-lint: 4/5

“This is a whole other experience on the road compared to any other RAV4. That combination of electric motor and combustion engine is at times ferocious – in a very good way indeed. With up to 46 miles of [EV] range, it can head a fair distance on charge alone too. Plenty of other similar vehicles top out at 27 miles, so that’s impressive innings from Toyota.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“The Toyota RAV4 plug-in is something of a revelation. So if you’re realistically going to be driving 40 miles on the school/shopping run or nearby commute every day then, well, you’ll rarely be burning any actual fuel.”

Telegraph: 4/5

“A plug-in hybrid with a massive (for the class) 18.1kWh battery pack and a total power output of 302bhp, which makes it, after the sporting Supra coupe, the most powerful car Toyota makes. It’s a two-tonne hot rod, with five seats and a ground clearance of 130mm. You just don’t expect a family SUV to be so vivacious.

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid

“There are all the modern toys you’d expect, with cruise control, wireless phone charging, a reversing camera and a powered tailgate. Toyota’s Safety Sense systems are standard… [and] the towing weight is 1.5 tonnes. The rear seats are large and accommodating, with lots of leg and head room. Compared with the regular RAV4, the plug-in version’s larger battery doesn’t compromise the overall boot space much.”

74 comments

  1. Hi, I have had a British Gas survey done (recommended to me by Toyota) for an electric charger installation. If the quote is more than the £350 grant do you know if Toyota will pay over and above £350?
    It would be good if you can give me an indication and not just suggest I speak to my dealer, thank you.
    My dealer does not appear very knowledgeable on such matters and I’m hoping you can advise me and then I can consult my dealer with your reply. Thank you again.

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The RAV4 Plug-in is now on the eligible vehicle list for the EV homecharge scheme.
      This means that your application for the British Gas Wallbox will now receive the government grant.
      We hope this helps.
      Thanks.

      1. Thank you for your reply but that was not my question. Will Toyota pay above the £350 if the quote from British Gas is more expensive ?

      2. Hi Mike,
        As this is a government grant, Toyota will not pay above the £350.
        We hope this helps.
        Thanks.

  2. Sir, I have read the brochure and price list for the RAV4 PHEV which tells me that I can purchase a detachable towbar with 13 pin wiring to tow a caravan. I have even spoken to people who have bought a Rav4 PHEV with 13 pin wiring on the Toyota forums.

    I would like to order a Rav4 PHEV with detachable towbar and 13 pin wiring but my dealer tells me this is not possible according to the Toyota configurator so as it stands I am unable to place an order.

    Can someone confirm if the price list and brochuer are incorrect or if the configurator is incorrect, and if so how to order one please.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The below part numbers are the pack that makes up Detachable Tow Bar w/ 13-Pin so you should be able to order RAV4 PHEV with these.
      PW96042010 – Detachable Towing Hitch – Vertical.
      PW5D042560 – 13 Pin Electrics.
      PW5D042562 – Fitting Part
      MSTA COST-3X – MSTA Sticker
      We hope this helps.
      Thanks.

  3. I have a technical question, If you can get an answer please.
    RAV 4 plug-in has an 18.1 kWh battery giving a range of 42 miles.
    Bz4x has a 71 kWh battery giving a range of 280 miles.
    My annual mileage is approx 6000 with short journeys that could potentially allow the RAV 4 to fully run 100% electric. On that assumption the calculated performances would be;
    RAV; 6000 miles pa / 42 miles range X 18.1 kWh battery = 2585 kWh pa, = 2.32 miles per kWh.
    bZ; 6000 miles pa / 280 miles range X 71 kWh battery = 1521 kWh pa = 3.94 miles per kWh.
    That means the RAV plug-in is only 58% performance related to bZ. In terms of cost at my energy provider’s overnight rate of 7.5p per kWh is; RAV £193 pa, bZ £114.
    That doesn’t look good for the RAV plug-in and if I also had to buy petrol it would be even worse.
    Am I correct?

    1. Hi Rob,
      Thanks for your comment.
      There are several reasons why some customers may choose a plug-in hybrid over a BEV at this time, it may suit their lifestyle better.
      We hope this helps.
      Thanks.

  4. My new RAV4 PHEV is due to arrive at the dealier in a couple of weeks. My question is will Toyota pay for an EV charger to be installed by British Gas. I’m waiting for an install date for the charger but British Gas will not say when, I’m worried about missing the OZEV grant at the end March. Other Toyota owners have said that after speaking to their sales managers said that Toyota will pay the £350, is this correct ?

    Would it be possible to comment rather than say speak to my dealer.

    1. Hi George,
      Thanks for your comment.
      You cannot apply directly and need to ask an EVHS-approved installer to apply for the grant on your behalf.
      Your Toyota Centre will be able to walk you through this process.
      Thanks.

      1. Hi, Toyota have done as you said and I am quite far in on the process having had the survey done and awaiting and install date.

        If British Gas cannot fit until after 31st March will Toyota pay the £350 ??

        (the OZEV grant which runs out 31/3/22).

      2. Hi George,
        Thanks for your comment.
        Toyota will cover the cost of the OZEV grant for owners with off-street parking.
        We hope this helps.
        Thanks.

  5. Hello.
    I just tested a rav4 phev and I was surprised to see that the combustion engine started a few times even though the battery was more than 50 percent full. I mention I was in eco mode and selected ev-mode only

    1. Hi Andrei,
      Thanks for your comment.
      There are many reasons why this may have happened, sometimes the engine may just need to turn over to stay warm.
      If there is anything else we can do to help, please let us know.
      Thanks.

  6. Hi I’m keen to order a rav 4 phev but wanted to check when its due or when the last facelift was pls . Am comparing to a competitor who has recently released a facelift phev and don’t want to find out the rav 4 is due one soon. Can you advise on this at all as to when the last facelift was and when next is due please? Thanks very much

    1. Hello Adriano,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Unfortunately, we do not have any information on this at the moment.
      Thanks.

  7. Hi, I was looking for a PHEV RAV4 Dynamic Premium. However, I have been told I cannot order one as the book is closed, but is still on the May pricelist.

    Can you help?

    1. Hi Russy,
      Thanks for your comment, we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.
      Our Customer Relations Team would be best placed to look into this for you.
      You can contact them here – https://www.toyota.co.uk/help-centre/.
      Alternatively, you can call 0344 701 6202.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions.
      Thanks.

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