A Complete Review of the Toyota RAV4

April 27th, 2023 by

Everything you need to know about the 2017–2022 models

Toyota RAV4 Scorecard

Rated by the expert team of vehicle specialists at Merchants Auto, this scorecard reflects the RAV4’s performance when compared to other compact SUVs.

All in all, we found that the RAV4 is an excellent value while also earning high marks for safety and fuel economy.

  • Interior – 7/10
  • Performance – 7/10
  • Safety – 9/10
  • Reliability – 8/10
  • Fuel economy – 9/10
  • Value – 9/10
  • Overall rating – 8/10

Pros and Cons of a Toyota RAV4

The chart below offers a more in-depth look at each of the model years from 2017–2022. In 2019, the RAV4 underwent a complete redesign with updates ranging from a new body design to revamped interior features. That said, you’ll notice a difference in model years 2019 and beyond.

Toyota RAV4 Interior Features

As with all cars, the RAV4’s interior features will vary based on model year and trim level. Below is a chart to help you compare.

As you’re reading, it’s important to note that the RAV4 underwent a complete redesign in 2019. Because of this, the features included in the 2017 and 2018 models are more similar to each other than they are to later versions.

There were also minimal changes to the RAV4’s interior design between 2020 and 2021, so those years share most of the same features.

Lastly, later models include many of the same interior features as earlier models.

picture of toyota rav4 2021 black leather interior display for sale in Hooksett New Hampshire

Toyota RAV4 Performance Features


All RAV4 models offer only one engine option. However, more recent versions (2019 and beyond) come equipped with a four-cylinder engine that outputs 203 horsepower.

2017 and 2018 engines include the same number of cylinders but only have a 176-horsepower capacity.

Gas mileage

Fuel efficiency in the RAV4 improved considerably after the 2019 redesign, with those models and ones from later years averaging about the same. Out of these later models, the 2021 version gets the best mileage with front-wheel-drive cars getting 28 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. Opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers down to 27 mpg for city driving and 34 mpg for the highway.

Both the 2017 and 2018 models have the same mileage per gallon: 23 in the city and 30 on the highway with front-wheel drive and 22 in the city and 28 on the highway with all-wheel drive.

Riding & Handling

If you’re looking for a compact SUV that drives with agility while also absorbing the bumps in the road, the RAV4 is a great solution. Want to do some off-roading, too? The TRD Off-Road trim (introduced in 2020) is a solid choice for when you want to leave the beaten path.

Towing Capacity

Depending on model year and trim level, the Toyota RAV4 can tow loads that weigh anywhere between 1,500 and 3,500 pounds.

Toyota RAV4 Safety Features

For all six model years (2017-2022), the RAV4 earned a 5/5 safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) not only rated all model years either a 9.1 or above (out of 10) for overall safety but named them top safety picks as well.

As for safety features that come standard, newer models include: lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights.

How Does the Toyota RAV4 Rank?

Rankings vary from year to year, but here’s how the RAV4 has stood out over the past six:

  • The 2022 Toyota RAV4 ranked #5 on J.D. Power’s list of best compact SUVs of the year
  • The 2021 Toyota RAV4 won KBB’s Compact SUV Best Buy of 2021 award
  • The 2020 Toyota RAV4 earned a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best cars for families
  • The 2019 Toyota RAV4 won CarsGuide’s Car of the Year award
  • The 2019 Toyota RAV4 also earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS
  • The 2018 Toyota RAV4 ranked #3 on J.D. Power’s list of best compact SUVs of the year
  • The 2017 Toyota RAV4 ranked #3 on J.D. Power’s list of best compact SUVs of the year

Toyota RAV4 Model Comparison

To give you a better idea of how each model year differs, here’s a breakdown of the RAV4’s more recent versions, by year and trim.

Unless otherwise noted, features included in lower trim levels are also included in the list of features for higher trim levels. For example, the XLE models include their unique set of features in addition to the ones included at the LE level. XLE Premium includes its own plus the XLE and LE features, etc.

2020-2022 Toyota RAV4

For these three model years, the list of features is almost identical. What sets this group of RAV4s apart from earlier versions is the addition of the TRD Off-Road trim, which was introduced for 2020.

2019 Toyota RAV4

Model years 2017 & 2018

Because of the 2019 redesign, it’s easier to compare these model years separately — each vehicle has similar features.

In terms of price, the original MSRP ranges from $25,250 to $35,745 for 2017 to between $25,755 and $36,095 for 2018. That said, if you’re in the market for any of these model years, you’ll most likely pay less since your options will be from pre-owned stock.

Is the Toyota RAV4 a Good Vehicle?

With its stellar safety ratings, broad lineup, and truckish good looks, the RAV4 is an excellent choice if you’re in the market for a used compact SUV.

In addition to its long list of accolades, the RAV4 also consistently earns good customer reviews.

Should I Buy a Toyota RAV4?

If you’re looking for a compact SUV with high safety ratings, good gas mileage, and a wide range of tech options, then a RAV4 is an excellent choice. However, if you’re looking for a zippier ride or a vehicle that’s more well-rounded overall, then you might want to consider other options, such as the Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V, respectively.

Cost of a Toyota RAV4

What you’ll pay for a RAV4 depends on a few different factors. Model year, trim level, and whether the vehicle is used or new will all impact the purchase price.

For a pre-owned Silverado 2500, prices can range from $4,000 at the lowest to upwards of $47,000.

The MSRP for a 2022 RAV4 ranges from $28,310 for the base LE trim up to $38,250 for the top-tier TRD Off-Road.

Toyota RAV4 Insurance

Just like insuring any vehicle, the premium for a RAV4 will vary depending on a number of factors. Some of the variables that can affect the amount you’ll pay for insurance are:

  • Driver’s age, gender, and marital status
  • Driving record
  • Make, model, and year of the vehicle
  • Annual mileage
  • State requirements
  • Credit history
  • Where the vehicle is regularly parked
  • Vehicle’s safety features
  • Type of insurance coverage
  • Deductible

The good news? Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to save with popular auto discounts. These can include:

  • Safe driving records
  • Good student
  • New customer
  • Automatic payment
  • Anti-lock brakes and other safety features

According to Money Geek, it will cost you an average of $1,181 per year to insure a Toyota RAV4, compared to an average of $1,428 for all car models.
picture of toyota rav4 2021 silver exterior for sale in Hooksett New Hampshire

Toyota RAV4 vs. the Competition

How exactly does the RAV4 stack up? When compared to similar crossover SUVs such as the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V, the RAV 4 comes out on top for gas mileage and included tech features. It’s also more powerful than the CR-V and offers more cargo space than the CX-5.

What it boils down to is: If you’re looking for the most well-rounded compact SUV, the CR-V is the best pick. If you want a car that’s fun to drive, the CX-5 could be the one for you. However, if you’re more technologically inclined and value fuel efficiency, the RAV4 is a great choice.

Find Your Next Toyota RAV4 With Merchants Auto

If you’re considering a pre-owned Toyota RAV4 (or any type of compact SUV), we can help! Merchants Auto is the largest pre-owned dealership in New Hampshire that’s also been in operation for more than 60 years.

The inventory on our 26-acre lot is always changing. We have hundreds of vehicles to choose from with more than 30 different makes — including hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, pickups, sports cars, fuel-efficient models, compact cars, and work vans.

We strive to save our customers time and money, and our ultimate goal is to provide an enjoyable and hassle-free car buying experience.

Ready to get started? View our Used Toyota RAV4 Inventory Now!

Posted in Models, Used Cars