Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Should you buy one?

Yes, if it’s a practical hybrid SUV that you’re after. If you’re looking to have fun behind the wheel, however, you’re better off opting for a SEAT Ateca or Ford Kuga, both delivering sharper driving experiences than the RAV4 with more direct steering. On the other hand, if you’re buying a family-friendly SUV the chances are that this isn’t a priority. The RAV4 remains composed and refined the majority of the time, and doesn’t leave you feeling out of control if you somehow go too quickly into a corner, for example.

When it comes to ‘which RAV4 should you buy?’, the Plug-in Hybrid is a well-made, exceptionally competent family SUV that justifies its high price tag with impeccable build quality and a broad set of skills that can cover silent, clean electric commuting and rapid cross-country pace alike. That substantial battery doesn’t just provide a big boost for the larger electric motor, it also lets the 2.5-litre engine relax, and provides a useful real-world electric range; enough that you can treat the RAV4 as an EV for the majority of trips. If you’ve considered a nice 4×4 SUV for long journeys and a small electric second car – the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid does it all in one.

What we like

The Toyota RAV4 is a marked improvement over its predecessor with low running costs, excellent practicality and a broad range of standard kit making it a tempting option for many buyers. It’s a rugged and family-friendly car that’ll likely prove to be a dependable companion for many years, while the hybrid engine is smooth and cheap to run.

What we don’t like

While the RAV4 comes packed with equipment even on entry-level Icon models, PCP finance prices are quite high, so if you don’t need a hybrid SUV, a petrol alternative like the SEAT Ateca or Kia Sportage will be cheaper to buy. The aggressive, 4×4 style may not be as suitable for some buyers who prefer a more car-like look that you get with something like a Volkswagen Tiguan, but we think the RAV4’s rugged image is refreshing among a range of other SUVs that all look fairly similar. But while cabin quality is solid, the design and materials don’t feel quite as premium as some rivals.

Rear of the 2018 Toyota RAV4 in white

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained

>> Toyota C-HR is a more compact alternative

>> Ford Kuga review

>> Best hybrid cars