Her + His Car Reviews

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE AWD

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$38,499 as tested Toyota RAV4 prices range from $25,950 to $35,880 without options
The powertrain in the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE has a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors; combined, they generate 219 horsepower. On this AWD model, an electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT) comes standard.

The best-selling 2020 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid XSE has better acceleration than most hybrids. We felt how this hybrid is powered by the electric motors which helps the acceleration speedily. Handling for daily commutes as well as any longer trips is responsive, with the help of the sport-tuned suspension.
All RAV4 Hybrid models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 219 horsepower, 2.5 liter engine paired to an electric motor with a continuously variable automatic transmission. And an additional electric motor is used to power the rear wheels in low-traction situations.

Compare that to the 203 horsepower, 2.5 liter four. Drive both and you will find out that the Hybrid's extra horsepower over the standard four cylinder engine makes a huge difference in driving fun. The Hybrid is much faster, handles better and gets way more mileage than the standard gas version.

No wonder there's a reported run on the Hybrid version at Toyota dealers.
Fuel Economy
41 miles City and 38 Miles Highway; with a Combined of 40 miles makes this by far the most attractive Hybrid when it comes to fuel-efficiency. I got a pretty remarkable average of 43 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving! The Feds say EPA-estimated fuel economy is up to 39 mpg combined this year, which is a rather large hike of six miles per gallon over the 2018 RAV4.
The Car
Toyota has done a remarkable job with this already stellar performer and seller, by "topping it off" this year. The exterior black hood and white body design is a showstopper. It is made more athletic and contemporized in appearance supported by 18" 5-spoke black alloy wheels. It can almost resemble a Lexus from the side, sans logo.

On the inside there is an upscale feel and look to the touch, as well as to the organization and lay out to the dash. The vehicle has three drive modes consisting of Eco, Normal, and Sport, which provide some contrast for the driver, depending on preference. A reflex blue stitching on the seats as well as on the dashboard offers a visual pop against a solid black backdrop. There are plenty of remarkable technology and safety features in this SUV, all of which are outlined in their respective sections.
Though the RAV4 has always been at or near the top of the compact SUV market, but this year's model handily outdoes most of its rivals. Toyota has clearly been listening to consumers and car writers' comments about the previous models, and it has paid a great deal of attention to the quality of the interior--which is a vast improvement, more interior room, and Toyota has endowed the RAV4 with a lot more fun and pizzazz in both styling and overall feel behind the wheel. Kudos, Toyota!
Eight (8) Airbags, LATCH Lower Anchor & Tether for Children, Blind Spot Monitor with Real Cross Traffic Alert, Backup Camera with Dynamic Gridlines, Elect Brake-Force Distribution, Brake Assist & Smart Stop Technology. STAR Safety System is a complete safety suite, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.

Full Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0®, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection.

The 2020 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid earned a "Five-star overall crash rating" from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This rating consists of four (4) stars in the front test, five (5) stars in the side test, and four (4) stars in the rollover test.
The list of standard safety equipment is pretty extensive, including Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is on all RAV4 Hybrid models and includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, auto high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.
Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Sirius Satellite Radio with 3-month subscription/HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free, Wi-Fi Hot Spot, Four (4) USB ports, are all included in our tester model.

Dynamic Navigation with 3-year Subscription, Dynamic POI Search, Dynamic Voice Recognition, Safety Connect with 1-year Subscription, Dual Zone Climate Control for personalized comfort. 8" Touch Screen, Navigation, 11 Speaker JBL Premium Surround Sound Stereo with Subwoofer. Proximity Keyless Entry Smart Key System with Push Button Start, Panoramic Moonroof, Wireless Cellphone Charging Station.

Digital Rearview Mirror with HomeLink, Heated front seats, Power on driver's side, Backs seats fold easily with the 60/40 split making it easy to convert to cargo packing + organizing, when needed.
Bear in mind that the hybrid version may be a bit more difficult to find at dealerships. Reports from the auto industry say that the consumers are quite aware that it's the hybrid not only gets more mileage but is also considerably quicker and more fun to drive than the standard RAV4 model. And some consumers have written in columns that they have had a tough time getting the hybrid RAV4 in colors and trims that they want. So, let's look at RAV4 Hybrid lineup:

You start out with the LE trim, which has as standard equipment such things as 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a rearview camera, LED headlights and daytime running lights, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats with adjustable recline, and dual-zone climate control. Infotainment is handled by a 7-inch touchscreen, and of course, the new Android CarPlay system.

Next up: The XLE which gets all the standard goodies of the lower level models, adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, automatic headlights, integrated fog lights, proximity entry with push-button start, a sunroof, upgraded fabric upholstery, sliding sun visor extensions, and additional USB ports (five total, including two for the rear seats).

The model also comes with such standard equipment as the 8-inch touchscreen system and the contents of the Convenience package. You also get very cool black-painted 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, two-tone exterior paint, simulated-leather upholstery, upgraded interior trim materials, a digital speedometer, a 7-inch digital driver-information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, and additional interior ambient lighting.

The Adventure is clearly designed for off roaders. You will get everything on the XLE Premium, except for a sunroof and power liftgate, and you also get some exclusive to Adventure wheels, fender flares, taller roof rails, selectable terrain drive modes, hill descent control, and an 8-inch touchscreen, among a few other features.

The new kid on the RAV4 block for 2020 is the TRD Off-Road version, and it really is the cherry on top for off-road lovers. You will get everything that the Adventure offers plus all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension, unique black trim elements, the sunroof, the power liftgate and unique interior trim.

The top dog is of course, the Limited. Everything is standard on the XLE Premium, along with chrome exterior trim and more interior upgrades such as heated front seats, a virtual rearview mirror, the 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and a premium 11-speaker JBL audio system.
Aesthetics & Styling
The new 2020 RAV4 Hybrid rallies all in its category with its new two-tone bold appearance. But even more dominating, is how chiseled this SUV is; muscular and squared off from previous years. All areas of the exterior are particularly paid attention to give its boastful look, making the XSE a winner in the compact SUV category.

The interior is laid out in a clean and intuitive manner. Sunroof. Leather wrapped steering wheel and seats. This year's hybrid is more than spacious with good legroom in the front and back seats. Cargo space is ample with 37.5 cubic feet with rear seats up versus 69.8 cubic feet with the seats folded flat.
Since I've already gone ga-ga about the exterior, let me say that the interior is pretty cool, too. You will find above average trim, interior themes and materials here, and the controls are both easy to operate and intuitive as well. Though you clearly should read the owner's manual when purchasing a new car or truck, the RAV4 controls are so intuitive that you could get into it, get used to it in about two seconds and drive off. Though I found the second-row back seat space adequate, I did feel that the well for your feet under the front seat felt a bit confining.
3 Year/36,000 Mile Bumper to Bumper Warranty. 5 Year/60,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty. Three year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.