The 2023 Toyota RAV4 is packed with options and technology in a fuel-efficient compact SUV. We take a look at the trim levels, hybrid powertrains and more.
The biggest change to the new RAV4 over last year’s entry into the family is the inclusion of updated infotainment screens. The base screen is now an 8-inch unit over the 7-inch one from 2022. In addition, a new 7-inch gauge cluster is now standard while a large 12.3-inch unit is also available. The RAV4 Prime now gets a 6.6-kW onboard charger as standard equipment. At the same time, some tech is no longer available like adaptive headlights or integrated navigation.
2023 Toyota RAV4 – toyota.com | Shop 2023 Toyota RAV4 on Carsforsale.com
Great fuel economy
Prime is fast
Buzzy base engine
Still a great package
Toyota offers the RAV4 with three distinct powertrains and each one has its own benefits. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine version is by far the most affordable. It develops 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s not much for a vehicle of this size and from the driver’s seat, it’s easy to feel that lack of thrust. The eight-speed transmission it’s mated to does a good job of keeping the powertrain smooth and in its peak power zone though. FWD is standard on most models but AWD is available too.
A traditional hybrid is also available in the RAV4 and it’s a bit more fun. It develops 219 combined hp with the same four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors that drive the rear axle. It’s quicker and more efficient at the same time. In addition, it swaps out the eight-speed automatic for a continuously variable transmission which adds an even smoother element to the drivetrain.
Finally, the RAV4 Prime sits atop the hierarchy as the ultimate form of the model. It incorporates an 18.1 kWh battery and a 6.6 kW onboard charger to the platform to provide a combined hp rating of 302. It also gets AWD as standard and ends up being both very fuel efficient and very fast. In fact, in Toyota’s lineup, only the GR Supra and the GR Corolla can beat the Prime from 0-60.
We don’t want to make it sound as though the Prime or any other RAV4 is anything close to a canyon-carving SUV. In fact, it’s a bit of a letdown from behind the wheel due to spongy brakes and numb steering.
Considering its size, fuel economy numbers for the RAV4 are impressive across the lineup. The worst offender is the AWD gas-only version which gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The traditional hybrid variant gets up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway while the RAV4 Prime gets about the same mileage but benefits from 42 miles of all-electric range.
If the RAV4 is anything, it’s comfortable and clever. The seats are spacious and supportive enough in both rows for long trips and there are little storage spaces littered throughout the cabin. Ergonomically, it’s a treat as well with logically placed controls, sturdy door handles, and decent switchgear. Sure, the lower trims are equipped with cheap-feeling materials but that’s to be expected.
About three rungs into the trim levels, the XLE Premium offers a number of higher-end touches like faux-leather upholstery, a sunroof, and a power liftgate that we like. Above that, you’ll find even nicer equipment like a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, a wireless charging pad, and more. What’s more, the ride comfort in the RAV4 is above average too. The cabin is a bit noisy but the suspension and chassis soak up bumps and bruises in the pavement without much drama.
Cargo space is good for the segment as well. Behind the second row is a little over 37 cubic feet worth of space and when the back seats are folded flat that expands to almost 70 cubic feet. Very few competitors can match those numbers. Keep in mind that the RAV4 Prime has a little less cargo space with just 33.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
Toyota equips the RAV4 with a strong technology package regardless of which trim you buy. The base SUV gets an 8-inch infotainment system, a digital gauge cluster, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay connectivity. That’s a great base from which to work. The onboard Entune infotainment system is a bit unsophisticated but gets easier to use over time. Amazon Alexa integration is another nice feature for those that use it. We also appreciate the numerous USB power ports in the cabin.
A larger 10.5-inch infotainment display and a 12.3-inch gauge cluster screen are also available and each one adds a lot of character to this vehicle. We especially like the 11-speaker JBL sound system too. It provides a rich full sound with good bass and treble. Finally, Toyota is now offering some high-end tech functions on top trim levels.
That includes a 360-degree camera system, a heads-up display, and even a digital rearview mirror that displays what’s behind you when cargo might obscure a clear view through the rear window.
Every RAV4 comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 which includes full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane-tracing assist, automatic high beams, road-sign assist, and pre-collision detection. The RAV4 is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and scored five stars in crash testing with the NHTSA. It’s just about as comprehensive as it can be when it comes to safety.
Toyota offers 11 different trim levels of the RAV4 and many are available with either a gas-only powertrain or a hybrid powertrain. Most come with FWD as standard though AWD is available if not standard across much of the lineup. In fact, every hybrid version features AWD. Some trim levels are only available with one powertrain or the other.
The base RAV4 gets 17-inch steel wheels, LED DRLs, LED headlights, LED interior lighting, automatic high beams, four cup holders, four bottle holders, three USB ports, remote keyless entry, rear-window privacy glass, a chrome-tipped exhaust, a 7-inch digital gauge cluster, an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and six speakers. Safety equipment includes child door locks, traction control, and Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 system outlined above. Those who buy the hybrid version will also get dual-zone automatic climate control.
Step up to the XLE and you’ll get blind-spot monitoring, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, five USB ports in total, and gas-burning RAV4s now get dual-zone climate control. The hybrid versions add a cargo cover, projector-style headlights, and heated exterior mirrors.
This trim features 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power liftgate, faux leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and LED fog lights. The hybrid version gets 18-inch wheels.
The SE also gets 18-inch wheels but includes a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded projector-style headlights, blue interior accents, and interior ambient lighting.
Consider the Woodland Edition to be almost like the Hybrid TRD Off-Road. As such, it gets bronze-colored wheels, all-terrain tires, and a TRD off-road-tuned suspension.
This trim ditches the power liftgate and the sunroof but adds fender flares, taller roof rails, hill descent control, and terrain drive modes.
Consider this trim as the luxury one. It gets a 10.5-inch infotainment system, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and an upgraded digital gauge cluster. Hybrid versions add parking sensors and brown interior accents.
This trim gets two-tone paint with black trim, faux-leather upholstery with cloth inserts and blue stitching, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. It ditches the front seat ventilation in favor of heat only though.
The most off-road capable RAV4 gets 18-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, unique black trim, and a 10.5-inch infotainment system. It also comes with AWD as standard equipment.
This might be the base Prime version of the RAV4 but it comes with a lot of standard equipment. That includes five USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, heated front seats, a 7-inch gauge cluster, an 8-inch infotainment system, and six speakers.
The XSE adds the larger screens from the Limited trim along with faux leather upholstery, a wireless charging pad, paddle shifters, 19-inch wheels, a two-tone roof, and 11 speakers. Buyers can also add a heads-up display, parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, a digital rearview mirror, a surround-view camera system, and a heads-up display with a Premium package.
Every RAV4 comes with the same three-year or 36,000-mile limited warranty. They also get a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty and two years or 24,000 miles of complimentary maintenance. Hybrid components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. For those who don’t care much about warranty coverage, check out our article on new or used: Toyota RAV4.
2023 Toyota RAV4 – toyota.com | Shop 2023 Toyota RAV4 on Carsforsale.com
The RAV4 is almost an entire sub-brand on its own it feels like. 11 trim levels span a lot of different levels of content, capability, and comfort. What’s great about the RAV4 is that regardless of what trim level or price one pays, it’s a safety-focused and fuel-efficient people mover with a track record of reliability and complimentary maintenance to back it up.
Finding some of the more desirable trims might be hard to do for MSRP, we highly suggest checking out our list of new car incentives if you’re interested in a RAV4.
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