2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE Review
Price & Equipment:8.5
Performance & Economy:9
Ride & Handling:8
Interior & Practicality:7.5
Service & Warranty:9
What we like:
  • Such a capable all-rounder with no obvious weak points
  • Impressive fuel efficiency
  • New tech makes a solid SUV even better
What we don't like:
  • Hybrid drivetrain can get loud under load
  • Interior is utilitarian, not plush
  • Starting to feel a tad old in 2024
8.4DiscoverAuto Rating:

It’s often said you can never have too much of a good thing and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is just the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, it might not be the most exciting car to look at, but when folks ask us what mid-size SUV to buy if saving fuel is a priority, we’re almost always going to recommend the evergreen Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Released back in 2019, the current generation RAV4 has been highly successful for Toyota locally and has recently become hybrid only. We jumped behind the wheel of the very latest 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid to see if this is the perfect mid-size SUV to put on your shopping list.

With no shortage of mid-sized SUVs on the market, in what is Australia’s most hotly contested vehicle segment, buyers are truly spoilt for choice. From cheap and cheerful Chinese models such as the Haval H6, to semi luxurious players such as the Mazda CX-60, there’s no shortage of mid-size SUVs on offer. So how does the fan favourite RAV4 XSE perform? Let’s find out.  

How much does the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE cost to buy?

Over the years, the RAV4 has gone up in price, and for 2024, Toyota has gone all hybrid, ditching the cheaper petrol models from the range. This means prices now kick off at around $46,500 drive away and the range tops out with the flagship Edge AWD hybrid for around $63,500 drive away. Our model on test, the 2023 T2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE with premium paint, comes in at around $56,500 drive away. 

2024 Toyota RAV4 pricing:

  • Toyota RAV4 GX 2WD Hybrid: $42,260
  • Toyota RAV4 GX AWD Hybrid: $45,260
  • Toyota RAV4 GXL 2WD Hybrid: $45,810
  • Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD Hybrid: $48,810
  • Toyota RAV4 XSE 2WD Hybrid: $49,585
  • Toyota RAV4 XSE AWD Hybrid: $52,585
  • Toyota RAV4 Cruiser 2WD Hybrid: $51,410
  • Toyota RAV4 Cruiser AWD Hybrid: $54,410
  • Toyota RAV4 Edge AWD: $56,230
  • Toyota RAV4 Edge AWD Hybrid: $58,360

Prices are before on-road costs.

2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE standard equipment: 

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • ‘Premium’ grille and bumper combo
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Projector LED headlights
  • Black exterior accents
  • Black two-tone roof finish
  • Black headliner and pillar garnish
  • Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear vents
  • Proximity entry and push button start
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Front mudflaps
  • Roof rails
  • Illuminated interior door switches
  • Two-level boot floor
  • Leather-accented door trims
  • Ambient lighting (model-specific)
  • Softex ‘premium’ seat upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • 10-way power adjustment with lumbar support (driver)
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10.5-inch infotainment display
  • Power tailgate
  • Navigation with Toyota Connected Services subscription
  • Rear passenger air vents
  • 2x front and 2x rear cup holders
  • 3x front and 2x rear USB ports
  • 12-month subscription to Connected Services

2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE safety equipment:

The RAV4 received (a still current) five-star ANCAP rating when tested in 2019. It scored 93 per cent for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 85 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 83 per cent for safety assist.

It is equipped with the following safety features:  

  • Seven airbags (dual front, driver’s knee, dual front side and curtain airbags for both rows)
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection assist
  • Lane trace assist 
  • Lane departure alert 
  • Road sign recognition
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Auto high beam
  • 360-degree camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors 
  • Toyota Connected Services including:
    • SOS button
    • Automatic crash notification 
    • Stolen vehicle tracking

2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE colour range: 

Standard no cost colour:

  • Glacier White

Premium colours ($705 extra):

  • Silver Sky (the colour of our vehicle)
  • Frosted White
  • Graphite 
  • Eclipse Black
  • Atomic Rush
  • Mineral Blue
  • Saturn Blue

2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE hybrid competitors: 

The humble Toyota RAV4 has its work cut out with plenty of mid-sized SUV hybrid competitors. The Honda CR-V e:HEV RS and the Nissan X-Trail Ti ePower seem to be the RAV4’s closest competitors. Both hail from Japan, drive decently with their snazzy hybrid drivetrains, have tons of standard equipment and decent amounts of room inside.

Rather annoyingly, the Honda CR-V e:HEV RS is the sole hybrid variant of the CR-V range and is priced at $59,900 drive away (Australia wide). As the range topper for the CR-V lineup, it comes very well equipped and seems to match the top of the range RAV4 Edge more closely spec wise. Even then, it bests the RAV4 Edge with Matrix adaptive high beam headlights, a panoramic sunroof and an additional four airbags.

The RAV4 does nonetheless counter with a space saver spare wheel, a larger 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a larger 10.5-inch infotainment screen, intersection turn assist, a 360-degree camera and an extra USB charging port.

The Nissan X-Trail Ti ePower is priced from around $59,200 drive away (depending on location) an and trumps the RAV4 XSE with larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a separate zone of climate control for the second row, a heads-up display, a centre airbag, a tyre pressure monitoring system, rear auto braking and a panoramic sunroof.

The RAV4 XSE otherwise trumps the X-Trail with its space saver spare, convenience and safety connected services through the Toyota connect system and its driver’s knee airbag.

Overall, for the price, the RAV4 XSE seems to be the value pick of the range. It blends desirable features such as heated front seats and a larger infotainment screen, for not a lot more money than the base model. We do wish the updated RAV4 came with a heads-up display, while a 360-degree camera would have made parking affairs easier.

How efficient is the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE?

Under the bonnet of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE sits Toyota’s venerable hybrid system, marrying an electric motor with a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine. The electric motor puts out 88kW with 202Nm of torque, and the petrol motor adds 131kW at 5700rpm and 221Nm of torque between 3,600rpm and 5,200rpm. Toyota quotes a combined output of 160kW, with power sent to the front wheels through a CVT automatic transmission. AWD models of the RAV4 also add a 40kW/121Nm motor on the rear axle for a combined output of 163kW.

All variants in the RAV4 lineup now feature a small battery positioned beneath the rear seats, serving as the power source for the electric motor which works in tandem with the old-school petrol motor under the bonnet. So how does this battery charge? The battery recharges during braking while driving around the city, and should additional charging be necessary, it charges while the vehicle is idling or the petrol engine is engaged during higher-speed cruising.

Unlike the Nissan X-Trail e-Power models which use the petrol engine as a generator to charge the battery, to then power an electric motor which is directly connected to the driven wheels, the RAV4’s setup in practice delivers better fuel economy in the real world. Toyota’s experience here really shines through with a hybrid system that delivers a remarkable balance of performance and fuel economy, adapting to varying driving conditions with ease.

Over our week with the RAV4 we achieved an average fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km in a mix of urban and highway conditions, with periods of spirited driving – a very impressive feat for a vehicle of this size. Toyota’s advertised rate of 4.7L/100km is ambitious, yet our experience suggests it is attainable with more conservative driving habits. Given the rising cost of fuel, RAV4 Hybrid owners can anticipate significant savings.

The RAV4 will happily run on 91RON regular unleaded fuel and with a full 55-litre tank of fuel, and achieving the economy figures we did, a driving range of over 1,000km should be achievable. 

How does the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE drive?

In a nutshell? Really darn well, setting the benchmark for what we’d expect from a mid-size SUV.

The RAV4’s hybrid drivetrain starts things off in electric mode, typically relying on the electric motor up to around 20km/h before the petrol engine takes over. The transition from electric to petrol power is seamless, though the drivers will certainly be able to tell when the petrol engine comes to life.

On the open road, the combination of electric and petrol power provides a notable boost in performance over a non-hybrid SUV, offering more performance than a single petrol engine alone. This results in a truly confident feel when accelerating uphill with passengers or when overtaking at highway speeds. Despite not being as powerful as the all-wheel drive variant, the front-drive XSE model doesn’t lag in real-world conditions.

The drivetrain isn’t perfect, however. There’s a slight delay when attempting to accelerate strongly from a standstill, and the engine almost feels as if it about to stall should full performance be asked for. There’s also the issue of some rather strong noise during vigorous acceleration, but overall, the RAV4’s drivetrain performs exceptionally well. It completes the 0-100km/h dash in approximately 8 seconds, demonstrating that hybrids aren’t all that slow.

The latest Toyota models built on the TNGA platform have garnered acclaim for their more engaging driving experience, and the RAV4 continues to be an enjoyable SUV to drive. The steering is responsive, without reaching Mazda CX-5 levels of precision and this RAV4 remains a faithful companion through corners.

While it’s no sports car, it will keep keener drivers happy with decent grip provided by the Bridgestone Alenza tires, and an unflappable feel at all speeds. Confidence inspiring, is one way to put it.

Around pothole ridden Melbourne, the ride comfort is quite impressive, with the suspension effectively smoothing out even the most challenging bumps, and noise levels are kept at a minimum. In parking situations and heavy traffic, you could easily mistake the RAV4 for a full-EV as it operates quietly on electric power. At higher speeds, the refinement is slightly marred by noise from coarse chip roads and some wind noise coming from around the door mirrors.

Toyota’s driver assistance systems have come a long way from we had come to expect from Toyota’s even a few years ago. The active safety tech in the RAV4 has become less intrusive with no unnecessary alerts, and the adaptive cruise control effectively maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, even if the lane centre assist is a little on the weaker side, disengaging rather often.

What is the interior of the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE like?

Jumping inside the RAV4’s cabin, occupants are greeted with a modern and pleasant space. Sure, it may not be at the forefront of cabin design, yet it remains a comfortable setting. The material quality is decent, featuring well-padded, soft-touch leatherette surfaces at most of the common touchpoints in the front row.

Sure, the RAV4’s interior doesn’t quite match the premium feel of the Nissan X-Trail or other mid-sized SUVs, such as the CX-5. A more liberal use of quality soft-touch materials would significantly improve the ambiance, as would additional soft-touch areas like the sides of the centre console or the rear doors. Luckily, the electric blue that dominates this XSE model, along with features like the rubberized door pulls and climate controls, really complement the rugged, off-road look promised by the exterior.

The basics are brilliant up front, with both driver and passenger accommodated in generously padded seats with leatherette bolsters and cloth inserts, ensuring a high-quality feel to the touch. There’s a perfect driving position for the driver too, though we wish the passenger seat height was adjustable for a lower-slung seating position.

Storage up front is good. There are two cupholders, along with a wireless phone charger beneath the dashboard that is shaped to keep your phone in place. The centre console bin is deep, and the door pockets have space for big bottles.

Toyota has also truly delivered on the technology front with the latest RAV4, addressing what was once a Toyota shortcoming.

The updated infotainment screen is excellent – it’s large and bright and boasts super user-friendly software, with smooth graphics and reliable wireless smartphone mirroring, making it one of the best screens in the business.

Ditto with the digital instrument cluster which is super bright and easy to read in all conditions. Some of the menus and customisable features do have a bit of a steeper learning curve, however and it doesn’t quite reach the level of sophistication found in vehicles such as the Skoda Karoq.

While Toyota has kept the volume dial, the other physical controls for the infotainment system are now gone. The removed shortcut buttons previously provided quick access to screen functions without the need to navigate through touchscreen menus.

The reversing camera has seen significant improvements with the new screen, offering excellent quality, with sharp, lag-free images.

The RAV4 comes with a single USB-A port for cable phone mirroring, complemented by two USB-C ports at the front for rapid charging, and an additional pair of USB-C ports at the rear.

Heading into the second row, the RAV4 boasts some epic back seats with tons of legroom, headroom and a really comfortable bench which also reclines for extra comfort. Sure, it lacks the versatility of the Nissan X-Trail’s folding and reclining seats and the rear doors do not open as wide as Nissan’s either, but things are nonetheless really good in the back.

It also offers those in the back rear air vents, a fold-down armrest, ISOFIX anchors on the outer seats, and three top-tether points, akin to the Nissan.

With the rear seats in place, the boot holds an impressive 580 litres with the rear seats in place and a decent 1,604 litres with the rear seats folded. A Nissan X-Trail just beats this figure with 585 litres of boot space with the second row in place, though Nissan doesn’t quote a figure for how much space the X-Trail has with the seats folded.

The rear bench features a 60:40 split-fold and Toyota has thoughtfully included a remote release for the fold-down seats in the boot, enhancing convenience. A space-saver spare tyre lives under the rear boot floor.

What is the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE like to own?

The 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, extendable to seven years for the drivetrain with proper servicing and maintenance as per the service logbook, and a 10-year warranty for the hybrid battery, contingent on an annual health check. The X-Trail and CR-V offer similar five-year/unlimited kilometre warranties, with their hybrid batteries covered for eight years or 160,000km. Unlike Honda and Nissan, which include five years of roadside assistance, Toyota charges $99 annually for the RAV4’s roadside assistance.

Servicing for the RAV4 is required every 15,000km or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The CR-V and X-Trail also have 12-month intervals but require servicing every 10,000km, meaning more frequent visits for higher mileage drivers. Over five years or 75,000km, capped price servicing for the RAV4 totals $1,300, compared to the CR-V’s $995 for five years or 50,000km, and the X-Trail’s $2,353 for the same period.

Should I buy a 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE?

After spending a week with the 2024 Toyota RAV4 XSE, we think that this XSE spec might just be the goldilocks spec of the RAV4, offering just the right amount of everything, alongside a stellar value equation. The XSE model is the perfect choice for those looking at a RAV4, offering numerous premium features not found in the GXL, and without the steep price associated with the RAV4 Cruiser or Edge models.

The RAV4 is now a car with no obvious weak points – the new infotainment screen and software, the digital instrument cluster, along with its ever-excellent economy now mean that the RAV4 consistently performs well across the board. Nonetheless, the RAV4 is not without its flaws with a slightly uninspired interior and a lack of drivetrain polish.

In a world of new entrants such as the excellent X-Trail and CR-V, the RAV4 remains a solid, dependable choice – much like the Toyota brand itself. Toyota might still hold pole position for the number of RAV4s it sells, but challengers are quickly snapping at the RAV4’s heels. If your heart is set on a RAV4, this is the spec to buy, though we would also recommend popping into your local Nissan or Honda dealer to see if another Japanese brand can sway you a different way.

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