Holding its spot as the best-selling SUV in America since 2017, the RAV4 needs very little introduction and is a prominent feature at any Toyota dealer across the country. The compact crossover made its debut in the late 1990s as one of the first of its kind that offered the efficiency and ride quality of a sedan but greater spaciousness and capability. It proved it could easily satisfy a variety of needs and continues to do so as Toyota celebrates its 25th year on the road with the 2022 RAV4 and the all-new SE Hybrid.
Now in its fifth generation, the RAV4 continues to lead the pack and remains on the cusp of innovation. The fifth-generation RAV4 debuted in 2019 to offer its largest lineup ever, including something for off-road enthusiasts (TRD Off-Road) and those looking for greater efficiency (Hybrid and Prime). Most recently, that lineup extended even further with the SE Hybrid, along with a host of updates that make the RAV4 more remarkable than ever. Here’s what you can expect from the 2022 RAV4 as you start your search for America’s best-selling SUV.
The All-New SE Hybrid
With the automotive industry setting its sights on a greener, electrified future, Toyota jumps on the bandwagon with the new RAV4 SE Hybrid. A sportier and more affordable alternative to the luxurious XSE Hybrid, the SE Hybrid is immediately recognizable with its monotone paint palette. Inside, it boasts premium cloth seating and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display that’s home to Toyota’s infotainment system and smartphone integration.
The SE Hybrid’s many packages give you the option to customize the crossover to your needs, making the SE Hybrid more attractive. The Weather package is ideal for commuters, those who travel frequently, or drivers looking for added luxuries since it adds heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rain-sensing windshield wipers with de-icer capability. The Convenience package is all about making your time in the RAV4 easier and adds a larger, 9.0-inch touchscreen display, a moonroof, and a height-adjustable power tailgate.
Plenty of Power Under the Hood
Ask anyone who owns a RAV4, and they will tell you that it’s incredibly fun to drive. Its compact size makes it agile and easy to maneuver whether you’re cruising at highway speeds, exploring a new trail, or running errands in the city. Fortunately, this agility and capability remain a fixture in the RAV4’s 2022 lineup. The RAV4’s gas and hybrid powertrains carry over from 2021, and that gives us a basis of what to expect from the 2022 lineup.
The RAV4’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of power and is mated to an 8-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission that offers smooth shifting to deliver the power you need exactly when you need it. The engine churns out 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, neither of which comes at the cost of efficiency. FWD models average 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while AWD models only see a slight decrease to 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is remarkable for the added capability that AWD brings.
The all-new SE Hybrid will feature the same hybrid powertrain as the 2021 RAV4 Hybrid, which is another plus. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is paired to an electric motor to deliver a combined net 219 horsepower. With the electric motor delivering 149 lb-ft of near-instant torque, the SE Hybrid is quite capable and maximizes its performance with an electric all-wheel-drive system and continuously variable transmission with sequential shift mode. And, as you would expect from a hybrid, this power and capability don’t hinder efficiency, with the SE Hybrid averaging 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
For ultimate performance and efficiency, the RAV4 Prime delivers. This plug-in hybrid combines the same 2.5-liter engine with a much larger battery pack and electric motors. The end result is an impressive 302 horsepower and a 94 MPGe efficiency rating. Just like an EV, you plug in the car to recharge, and you can drive for 42 miles on battery power alone. But when the battery is depleted, you can keep on driving just like a regular hybrid and still get 38 mpg.
Design and Feature Updates
The 2022 RAV4 continues to offer exceptional versatility, power, and performance, but Toyota doesn’t stop there. For 2022, the crossover sees several new updates to its design and features that make it all the more attractive as America’s best-selling SUV. For starters, the entire lineup sees several new wheel updates from color options to designs. Every trim from the XLE and above feature updated headlamps and LED fog lamps. The XSE Hybrid will now roll onto the lot with the sophisticated and sleek vertical headlights first spotted on the RAV4 Prime XSE in 2021.
Inside, the RAV4 continues to impress with its spacious cabin that offers seating for five. For 2022, every model comes standard with a locking glove box that adds another layer of security to the crossover. Trims also feature new LED interior lamps for better visibility. The RAV4 XLE and other top-tier trims extend this visibility with illuminated interior switches, while the RAV4 Limited comes equipped with an 8-way power passenger seat that ensures your copilot is always comfortable and ready for the journey ahead.
Safety Always Comes First
Toyota is known for its innovative technology, and that’s apparent in the RAV4’s safety and driver-assist features, which extend your visibility and actively minimize the potential for collision. Known as Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, the suite earned the 2021 RAV4 a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Luckily for drivers, the suite is a central part of the 2022 RAV4 lineup and will likely earn the crossover a few more top safety ratings in the segment.
The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite is remarkable because it’s standard on every RAV4 trim, which guarantees your peace of mind whether you’re behind the wheel of the entry-level LE or the top-tier Limited. The suite includes Toyota’s Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection that actively monitors ahead of the RAV4 for vehicles and pedestrians. Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control replaces traditional cruise control, monitoring the flow of traffic and adjusting the RAV4’s cruising speed as needed. Other tools in the suite include Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist and Road Sign Assist, and Automatic High Beams. You’ll also find a variety of advanced safety tools available like Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Braking, and Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking, all of which build on Toyota Safety Sense 2.0.
America’s Best-Selling Crossover
The Toyota RAV4 has been the best-selling SUV in America for the last four years, which speaks volumes to its versatility and value. First introduced in 1996, the RAV4 sent shockwaves throughout the industry and created a template for the crossover, a model that would soon dominate the American market. This template blended the ride quality, handling, and comforts of a sedan with the spaciousness and versatility of an SUV.
After 25 years, the RAV4 continues to build on this legacy and set new standards of excellence in the segment. We see this in 2022 with the all-new SE Hybrid that adds sport-like sophistication and appeal to the SUV. It’s also apparent in updates to the RAV4’s designs, its suite of cutting-edge safety and driver-assist tools, and in its array of luxuries, conveniences, and connectivity features that are designed to keep you connected, comfortable, and informed when you’re behind the wheel.