Believe it or not, the ubiquitous RAV4 has been around for two-and-a-half decades, appearing on the scene as a right-sized trucklet available in either two- or four-door guise. Remember when the RAV could be had with a removable roof? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Twenty-five years on, the model has grown in size and cemented itself as a leader in its segment. Fun fact: the original four-door RAV was just 162 inches long, about two feet shorter than a Camry of the day, on a wheelbase of 94.5 inches. For 2022, Toyota has added a couple of extra trims and fiddled with some of its styling details.
First out of the gate is an SE trim for the popular hybrid model, a sentence which puts an exclamation point on the fact that RAV4 is now almost a brand onto itself with a variety of trims on its gas-powered, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants. Taking a similar tack to other SE-trimmed vehicles in the Toyota family, this one adds the likes of monotone paint and various blacked-out exterior trim details. It can it optioned up with a moonroof and a better sound system.
Across the line, RAV4 models with XLE grades and above get updated headlamps – Toyota says they’re for both style and for capability improvement, but the TTAC cynic says the brand is simply chasing ever-changing IIHS rules for being awarded a Top Safety Pick+ label. New LED fog lamps make no difference to this effort but nevertheless are introduced for XLE Premium, Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off Road models. The snazzy XSE Hybrid gets the same sleek vertical lights that debuted on the XSE Prime last year.
Interior tweaks are minor but notable, with all hands gaining a locking glovebox (thanks, economies of scale) and LED interior lamps which should have been standard by now, anyway. Fancy trims will get more illumination for their various and sundry interior switches, helping the place to perform a reasonable impersonation of Fremont Street.
We’ve noted this in the past but it’s worth repeating that the plug-in hybrid models, which were ostensibly developed as fuel-saving options, are the fleetest of foot when it comes to outright acceleration when comparing the different RAV4 models. In hybrid mode, it can generate a combined 302 horsepower and crack off a 0-60 mph sprint in just 5.7 seconds. This feat actually makes it the second-quickest Toyota next only to the new Supra. These are not words we could have written when the RAV4 showed up on our shores in 1996.
And if you’re wondering how those size numbers mentioned above the fold compare with the current model, a ’22 RAV4 measures 180.9 inches in length riding on a 105.9-inch wheelbase. More details on this year’s model, including pricing, will be released before Santa Claus shows up for the holidays.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.