Pros and Cons of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota Hybrids are the most reliable cars in the vehicle industry. Toyota is the first company that invented hybrid technology and brought the Toyota Prius around 2000. Since then, Toyota has refined this tech to a near-perfect level. 

If an owner plans to keep a car for 10-12 years, then RAV4 Hybrid is the perfect vehicle. 

Pros of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid:

These are the pros of the RAV4 Hybrid.

Savings on Gas Mileage:

No other gas vehicle except for Hybrid cars achieves high gas mileage. The RAV4 Hybrid has a gas mileage of 41 in the city and 38 on the highway.

On a traditional gasoline vehicle, if the manufacturer says that their car has 30 mpg in the city, it will achieve less than 25 mpg on real-life tests. But in the RAV4 Hybrid, countless owners report that they regularly get more than 40 mpg combined on their daily driving. 

The RAV4 Hybrid has a 14.5 gallon or 55 Liter fuel tank capacity. Therefore on a single refill, you can go up to 500 miles.

At 40 average mpg, $4/gallon gas, the total gasoline cost on a 10 year / 150,000 miles ownership is 150,000 miles / 40 mpg = 3,750 gallons x $4 = $15,000.

In comparison, to drive a non-Hybrid RAV4 that gets an average of 26 mpg in a real-world scenario, the total gasoline cost to go the exact 150,000 miles is 150,000 miles / 26 mpg = 5769 gallons x $4 = $23,076.

Therefore, on the RAV4 Hybrid, an owner will save $8,000 on 10-year vehicle ownership. Even if someone pays $1,000-$2,000 extra for the Hybrid model, still the savings is around $6,000. These savings can fund the insurance cost of the RAV4 Hybrid for about 36 months.

Unprecedented Hybrid Battery Warranty:

Since 2020, Toyota has given every RAV4 Hybrid car a 10 Year 150,000 miles Hybrid battery warranty. Toyota also provides an 8 Year 100,000 miles Hybrid system warranty. Therefore, if you purchase a new RAV4 Hybrid, you don’t need to worry about this high voltage traction control battery. Toyota will service and replace this battery free of cost if any problem arises.

The notion that the RAV4 Hybrid HV battery needs replacement after 12-15 years is overblown. With minimal maintenance, a RAV4 Hybrid owner can expect the High Voltage battery life of more than 15 years. 

Even if the RAV4 Hybrid HV battery fails, the cost to replace it is far lower than the total gas savings over the vehicle’s lifetime. 

A new RAV4 Hybrid battery costs around $3,500 without labor. But the labor cost isn’t that high because the battery is under the passenger seat, and replacing it is straightforward. But still, for 10 Years of RAV4 Hybrid ownership, you don’t need to worry about it because it’s under warranty.

The RAV4 Hybrid uses one of two types of Hybrid batteries — a Nickel-Metal hydride battery (AXAH54L model) or a Lithium-ion battery (AXAL54L model).  


From the initial start to a certain speed, the RAV4 Hybrid is faster than the non-Hybrid RAV4. 

The RAV4 Hybrid uses an electric motor to speed up the vehicle; thus, it’s faster and smoother. There’s no engine lag or gear shift. Therefore, from 0 to 60, the acceleration is smooth.

All-Wheel Drive:

Every RAV4 Hybrid is an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle. Moreover, the rear axle isn’t physically connected to the front axle. Instead, an electric motor drives the rear tires. Thus, the rear differential design is simple, and maintenance of the RAV4 Hybrid is easy and doesn’t fail at all. 

Long-Lasting Brake Pads and Rotors:

The RAV4 Hybrid uses regenerative braking technology. Toyota is the first company to invent and use it on the Prius. Since then, Toyota has refined the technology. 

There are indirectly connected motors in the RAV4 Hybrid. These motors act as a generator during deceleration and convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy. It recharges the high voltage (traction control) battery and slows down the RAV4. 

The brake pads and rotors on RAV4 are less used due to this regenerative braking and last longer. Some RAV4 owners reported that their brake pad lasted more than 100,000 miles. For comparison, on a non-Hybrid RAV4, the brake pad lasts a maximum of 20,000. 

Longer Lasting Transmission:

The RAV4 Hybrid has eCVT transmission. Even though the name has CVT in it, eCVT is an entirely different type of transmission that uses a planetary gear mechanism. There’s no v-belt, starter, alternator, drive chain, torque converter, etc. Thus this eCVT lasts a long time.

The transmission oil change is easier compared to an Automatic transmission oil change. There’s no need to measure the fluid temperature. Only drain and refill are required. There’s no transmission oil filter because it’s not needed.

No Charging:

The RAV4 Hybrid is not a 100% electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine that recharges the onboard battery. Therefore, an owner doesn’t need to recharge the RAV4 Hybrid. 

Long Term Savings:

In the RAV4 Hybrid, there is no alternator, starter motor, drive chain, v-belt, mechanical differential, drum, cone, etc. The design is robust, doesn’t break, and requires less long-term maintenance.

Moreover, an owner would save thousands of dollars on gasoline. Furthermore, the traction battery warranty makes the RAV4 Hybrid ownership stress free.

Cons of RAV4 Hybrid:

These are the drawbacks of the RAV4 Hybrid. 


Typically the RAV4 Hybrid costs $1,000-$2,000 more than the non-hybrid RAV4. But an owner can recoup this extra cost on 40,000 miles of driving. Here’s the cost breakdown –

For Non-Hybrid RAV4 at 26 mpg, $4/gallon gas, total cost to drive 40,000 miles is 40,000 miles / 26 mpg = 1,538 gallons x $4 = $6,153.

For Hybrid RAV4, at 40mpg, the total cost is 40,000 miles / 40 mpg = 1,000 gallons x $4 = $4,000.

Unnatural Sound:

A hybrid system works differently than a gasoline engine. For example, during slow down or reverse, the RAV4 electric motor makes strange noises that are normal but takes some time to get used to for many owners.

The RAV4 Hybrid uses start-stop technology. When your RAV4 is stopped, the engine will stop. The hybrid battery and electric motor will drive the car at low speed. When a driver presses the accelerator more, the engine comes on. When the driver stops the vehicle, the RAV4 engine stops again. For many, it feels unnatural and takes some time to get used to. We want to point out that this start-stop technology doesn’t harm the engine. 

No Long Term Storage:

One drawback of the RAV4 Hybrid is that it can’t be left parked for 4-5 months, such as at an airport or vacation home. If it is parked for an extended period, the high voltage or the traction battery will slowly discharge. If it discharges 100%, it could be tough to restart the RAV4 Hybrid. (Vehicle jump starts are necessary for this scenario.)

Toyota recommends driving the RAV4 Hybrid at least once a month for 10 miles or 30 minutes. It will recharge the battery to 100%, and everything will work perfectly.

No Jump Start:

The RAV4 Hybrid has a giant traction control battery. Thus, the 12V battery on the RAV4 Hybrid is smaller than a typical gasoline vehicle. Therefore, one can’t use a RAV4 Hybrid to jump-start another gasoline vehicle. 

Even though it’s said that a RAV4 Hybrid can jump-start another RAV4 Hybrid, we highly discourage it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Lower Towing:

The RAV4 Hybrid has a significantly lower tow rating than the non-Hybrid model. 

For the RAV4 Hybrid, the maximum trailer weight rating (trailer weight + cargo weight) is 1750 lbs (795kg). There’s no towing package for the RAV4 Hybrid.

On the contrary, for non-Hybrid RAV4, the maximum trailer weight rating is 3500 lbs (1590 kg) with the towing package. However, it’s 1500 lbs (680 kg) without the towing package.