RAV4 Hybrid fuel economy praised by What Car?

Proving that a car doesn’t have to be small to maximise the potential of Toyota’s hybrid technology, the RAV4 Hybrid was singled out in the 2021 What Car? Awards for giving the best True MPG around town. RAV4 Hybrid fuel economy was put through the publication’s tough trials and used even less fuel than the Yaris Hybrid on urban routes.

“The RAV4 debunks the myth that large SUVs are gas guzzlers because when we put it through our True MPG test, its urban fuel economy was 10mpg higher than the next best car (91.9mpg compared to Yaris in second place),” said What Car? editor Steve Huntingford.

Exclusively available as a hybrid in the UK, the RAV4’s new 2.5-litre engine combines fuel and emissions efficiency and quiet operation with more power and greater responsiveness.

Need hints on how to drive a hybrid efficiently? Click here

The full system maximum output of 219bhp/163kW in the all-wheel drive model (215bhp/160 kW with front-wheel drive) compares to 195bhp/145kW for the fourth-generation model, signalling how Toyota’s latest self-charging hybrid technology is not lacking in strength; acceleration from rest to 62mph takes just 8.1 seconds (FWD model).

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fuel economy

The 2.5-litre hybrid engine is a completely new unit that makes significant advances on its predecessor, delivering a better balance between fuel economy and power and achieving world-class thermal efficiency.

The engine adopts the Atkinson cycle and features a longer stroke than its predecessor – 87.5 x 103.4mm compared to 90.0 x 98.0mm. It also operates at a higher, 14.0:1 compression ratio (compared to 12.5:1 for the previous unit). It is equipped with D-4S direct and indirect fuel injection and intelligent variable valve-timing – electric VVT-iE for the intake and hydraulic VVT-i for the exhaust. The valve-timing range for both intake and exhaust has been increased.

Even greater efficiency is in store for the RAV4 range in 2021 with the introduction early this year of the new RAV4 Plug-in. The new flagship of Toyota’s hybrid vehicle line-up and the most powerful RAV4 yet made, it will deliver rival-beating performance all-round with 302bhp, 282.5mpg, 22g/km CO2 emissions and 46 miles EV all-electric driving range (WLTP data).

All information is correct at the time of publishing.


  1. Hi folks, and apologies if this question has previously been answered. We are looking to move across to a plug in hybrid but also need 4WD. Can you confirm the fuel consumption figues for the Rav 4 plug in when running on the petrol engine alone (i.e. once the battery is empty)?

    We have a cross country journey of ~100 miles every month and expect that we will be running on petrol for most of this.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Andy, thanks for your question.

      All-electric driving is the default, with a 46-mile EV mode driving range (WLTP) on a full battery charge. When you have depleted the allowed range on electric it switches over to hybrid driving. It is rare that the vehicle will run solely on petrol.


  2. This article relates to the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid, not the Hybrid model. It is misleading as some may think the Hybrid can achieve 90+ mpg which is not the case.

    Only the Plug-in variant can achieve that figure

    1. Hi Thomas, thanks for your comment.

      The car tested by What Car? in 2021 was RAV4 Hybrid, because our Plug-In Hybrid variant was not available at the time of the magazine’s tests. The 90mpg figure refers specifically to the results achieved by What Car? on the ‘urban’ section of the test route. It is this impressive achievement that this article, which was published after the 2021 awards, is seeking to highlight. The RAV4 Hybrid’s average over the entire What Car? test route was 49.0mpg.

      In the 2021 What Car? awards, over the entire test route the best performance was achieved by Yaris Hybrid. It achieved 80.0mpg on the urban route and 59.93mpg overall. Since this article was published, this performance has been eclipsed in the 2022 awards by Yaris Cross Hybrid, which was measured at an average of 60.1mpg (103.3mpg on the urban route).


  3. I have a automatic RAV4 hybrid 2021 and have been doing normal driving getting 56-60 mph, also taking my touring caravan almost to its full towing capacity,
    and getting between 25-28mph, I am well impressed compared to my old car a Mazda C5 automatic diesel average 22-25mph, sham I never see it advertised for its towing capacity

    1. Hi Leigh,
      I’m considering RAV 4 Hybrid (2017) and most of my driving (80-90%) is motorway; is your driving mainly motorway, town or motorway/town and what are the proportions, please e.g. 60/40 Motorway/ town?

      My other consideration is a CH-R that gets more mpg but the boot is smaller and things have to be lifted in and out due to the dip, as opposed to the RAV4 where items can be slid in and out due to the boot being on the level.
      I carry equipment to show in hospitals, have just got a paddle board (which is surprisingly heavy) and though I’d like a camper van, am most likely to be able to afford a caravan.

  4. I am thinking about getting a RAV4 hybrid i would like to know what the fuel consumption is on a4 wheel drive against a 2wheel drive

    1. Hi Martin, thanks for getting in touch.

      Please provide a vehicle registration so that we can look into this for you.


  5. We bought a RAV4 hybrid and are shocked by the fuel consumption. We drive exceptionally carefully trying to boost the mpg but the best we have achieved is 40mpg. Is this what we should expect.
    Reg SO67CMZ

    1. Hi Alan, thanks for getting in touch.

      We are sorry to hear you are experiencing these issues.

      Your Toyota centre is best placed to advise with this as they can view your vehicle.

      You can locate your nearest centre here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/find-a-dealer

      Please let us know if we can assist further.


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