Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Solidly built cabin
  • Lacklustre infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay or Android Auto added later

The RAV4’s cabin is an improvement over the previous model with a larger central screen, new digital dashboard (that isn't fully digital) and the usual super sturdy build quality on show. However, issues with the infotainment system persist and let the side down considerably.

Although this won’t matter to every buyer, the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto when the car first went on sale made it stand out when compared with the vast majority of the RAV4's rivals, and not in a good way.

Luckily, if you buy one new now, it comes as standard on all trim levels, making it far more usable.

The regular infotainment system, although an improvement over the previous generation, still lacks the polish, intuitiveness and clarity of the best in class. It's not unusable, but quite a way off the simplicity of a Hyundai Tucson's or VW Tiguan's systems. 

As is usually the case with Toyota, the RAV4’s cabin feels built to last with no signs of any creaks, rattles or half-finished pieces of trim on the lightly used cars we’ve driven so far. You won’t be getting the last word in premium materials, but it does the job and will almost certainly last the course. We do like some of the details though, with rubberised buttons and knobs that feel very nice, blue stitching across the dash on some trims and a solid feel overall. 

How comfortable is it?

  • Comfortable ride on all models
  • Seats are squashy yet supportive
  • High levels of wind and engine noise at times

Drive the RAV4 just a few hundred yards and you’ll quickly figure out it’s been geared up for comfort over sportiness. Unlike some models of car with varying suspension setups across the range, the RAV4 stays consistent regardless of trim or drivetrain, meaning comfort levels stay the same across the board.

Ride comfort is well sorted on the whole, delivering a mature and composed performance over the vast majority of road surfaces and speeds. That said, expansion joints in the road can upset the balance, while any larger dips or potholes aren’t particularly well insulated from the cabin. Nothing out of the ordinary, however. Toyota has taken a refreshing approach and not fitted the RAV4 with huge wheels either, meaning more tyre sidewall allows for greater absorption over bumps, and less jarring. 

The RAV4’s engine can make a bit of noise when accelerating, more so than in some equivalent petrol or diesels. It’s not the only issue, either, as while the tyres emit little background roar at speed, interference from wind noise is far more pronounced. Get up to motorway speeds and you’re sure to notice it, especially when cruising at a constant speed with engine revs low. 

The seats - even those on lesser models are a nice balance between being supportive and cushioned on long journeys, with things only improving as you move up the range. The higher ride height helps with comfort in terms of getting in and out, along with outward visibility on the move, while the seats are just the right blend of comfortable and supportive as well. 

What you might find is that the passenger seat is too high in comparison with the driver's seat, with height adjustment not available across all models. It feels a strange omission as taller passengers will feel the pinch.