Toyota RAV4 2018 - guide

The Mk5 Toyota RAV4 is a sought-after hybrid SUV. What's it like as a used buy?

One of the world's best-selling SUVs is the Toyota RAV4, a model that is now in its fifth generation. Introduced at the end of 2018, the RAV4 Mk5 is sold exclusively as a petrol-electric hybrid model in Ireland, but comes with either front- or four-wheel drive – the latter using an electric motor to power the rear wheels. The only other variation within the range is the plug-in hybrid option. This uses the same powertrain as the standard hybrid, but comes with a larger battery and more power.

The Toyota RAV4 Mk5 is the latest generation of a car that arguably kick-started the family-friendly compact SUV class back in 1994. But while that car was fairly unique, today there are a host of RAV4 rivals. Chief among them are the Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V, while the Skoda Karoq and SEAT Ateca are a bit smaller. The VW Tiguan is another popular choice, while the Peugeot 3008 and Opel Grandland use the same running gear. The Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are also strong contenders.

What's it like?

While early RAV4s were three-door SUVs, the current car sticks to the five-door, five-seat compact SUV template set by the Mk4, which introduced a top-hinged tailgate for the first time. This means it's a practical family car, with decent space for passengers and luggage. Cabin quality is good, with a focus on longevity rather than soft-touch materials.

The RAV4 is sold in Europe exclusively with hybrid drive, featuring a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, electric motor and drive battery. This makes a combined maximum 222hp, while an e-CVT gearbox controls power distribution. In four-wheel-drive versions, an electric motor is added to the rear axle, and this only activates when needed, boosting efficiency. The standard hybrid's 1.6kWh drive battery is replaced by an 18.1kWh version in the RAV4 PHEV. Power is up to a potent 306hp, while there's an official EV range of up to 74km.

Which model to go for?

The RAV4 PHEV is pricey and hard to find on the used market, so we'd only recommend it if you're able to take advantage of its pure-EV running on a regular basis following charging up from an external source. The standard car is a great family choice because it should offer reliable transport that will shrug off the worst that you can throw at it without fuss. Higher-spec cars are generously equipped, although we'd recommend finding a later model with smartphone connectivity (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), because Toyota's own touchscreen software isn't as intuitive to use as some rival set-ups.

Does anything go wrong?

The RAV4 Mk5 has had three recalls; one to check the installation of the e-Call safety system, another for brake booster pumps and the third relating to cracked front suspension arms. Toyota offers its 10-year warranty cover on the RAV4, as long as you get it serviced at a Toyota franchise.

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