The all-electric 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is the result of a cooperation between Toyota and Silicon Valley startup Tesla, which designed the electric powertrain to fit into the current RAV4 architecture. This model has a 115-kW electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Special internal and exterior trim separates the RAV4 EV. The RAV4 EV has five seats: There is no space for a third row.
Although the RAV4 EV’s power output is only 154 horsepower, Toyota says it is the fastest and most powerful electric vehicle on the market. In Standard mode, peak torque is 218 pound-feet, and in Sport mode, it’s 273 pound-feet.
As with any electric vehicle, the range of the RAV4 EV varies on driving patterns and use of the climate control system. Toyota estimates the RAV4 EV is good for about 100 miles of real-world driving. Three climate control modes put varying levels of demand on the battery. In Normal mode, the climate control system works the same as in any other car, but it uses the most juice. The Eco Hi setting is the most efficient, and Eco Lo is in-between. The display on the instrument cluster will recalculate range as the driver toggles through the various climate control settings.
Charge time for the RAV4 EV varies from decent to excruciating, depending on the system. The recommended 40-amp, 240-volt fast charger will juice the RAV4 EV up in about five hours, while a normal 120-volt household outlet can take as long as 52 hours.
Only 2,600 units of the RAV4 EV will be produced over the next three years, all of which will be on sale solely in California. It’s not cheap, either; the RAV4 EV retails for $49,800. Toyota says the cost to the buyer will be closer to $40,000 after federal and California tax credits. Add $1,595 for the 240-volt fast-charging system with standard insulation (meaning, if your wiring is up-to-date).
All variants of the 2012 RAV4 boast a roomy and comfortable interior, although some materials aren’t up to par with competitors. Still, the RAV4 excels at convenience and ease of use. Getting in and out of the driver’s seat is easy. It can move lots of people or lots of gear, and it comes standard with a long list of safety equipment. We prefer the five-passenger configuration; for seven, we’d prefer a bigger vehicle.
The standard RAV4 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. We found it smooth and stable underway. The power feels wimpy, however, especially paired to the dated standard 4-speed automatic. Fuel economy is mediocre at 22/28 mpg City/Highway on front-wheel-drive models, and 21/27 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The 3.5-liter V6 packs more oomph with 269 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is a respectable 19/27 mpg with front-wheel drive and 19/26 with AWD.
The 2012 RAV4 carries on as a versatile yet dated utility that seats up to seven with plentiful cargo space. The 2012 RAV4 competes with the Honda CR-V, which has been recently refreshed, along with the Kia Sorento, Dodge Journey, and Chevrolet Equinox.
- Anti-Lock Brakes => 4-wheel ABS brakes.
- Brake Assist => Brake assist.
- Brake Type => 4-wheel disc.
- Child Seat Anchor => Child seat anchors.
- Child-proof Locks => Child Protector Rear Door Locks.
- Driver Airbag => Available.
- Electronic brake force distribution => Electronic brake force distribution.
- Front Seat Belts => Regular.
- Ignition Disable => Engine immobilizer.
- Passenger Airbag => Passenger side airbag.
- Roof Side Curtain => Side-curtain airbags.
- Side Airbag => Front seat-mounted side airbags.
- Clock => Digital clock.
- Floor Console => Front center console.
- Floor Covering => Carpet floor covering.
- Floor Mats => Carpet floor mats
- Folding Rear Seats => 60/40 rear fold down bench.
- Front Seats => Active front headrests.
- Front Seats => Height-adjustable driver’s seat.
- Front Seats => Front seat back pockets.
- Front Seats => Front bucket seats.
- Instrumentation Type => Optitron electronic gauges.
- Low Fuel Warning => Yes.
- Low Washer Fluid Warning => Yes.
- Luxury Dashboard Trim => Metallic interior trim.
- Number of Cup Holders => Front and rear cup holders.
- Outside Temperature Gauge => Yes.
- Overhead Console => Overhead sunglasses storage.
- Rear Center Armrest => Rear folding center armrest.
- Seat Trim => Cloth seats.
- Seat Trim (option) => Premium cloth seats.
- Tachometer => Yes.
- Water Temperature Gauge => Yes.
- Door Handles => Black door handles.
- Door Handles (option) => Body-color door handles.
- Exterior Decoration => Rear bumper protector.
- Exterior Mirror Color => Body-color exterior mirrors.
- Headlight Type => Halogen headlights.
- Headlights => Automatic headlights.
- Heated Exterior Mirrors => Yes.
- Mudguard => Front and rear splash guards.
- Power Exterior Mirrors => Power-adjustable outside mirrors with integrated turn signals.
- Privacy Glass (option) => Rear privacy glass.
- Rear Spoiler => Yes.
- Rear Window Defroster => Yes.
- Roof Rack (option) => Yes.
- Sunroof (option) => Power moonroof.
- Tinted Glass => High solar energy absorbing window glass.
- Drivetrain => Front-wheel drive.
- Engine => 2.5L L4 DOHC 16-valve.
- Stability Control => Yes.
- Traction Control => Yes.
- Transmission => 4-speed automatic transmission.
- Cargo Capacity => 1015 L.
- Curb Weight => 1524 kg.
- Front Headroom => 1037 mm.
- Front Legroom => 1062 mm.
- Fuel Tank Capacity => 60 L.
- Gross Vehicle Weight => 2005 kg.
- Ground Clearance => 190 mm.
- Height => 1685 mm.
- Length => 4620 mm.
- Max Trailer Weight => 680 kg.
- Maximum Cargo Capacity => 2074 L.
- Rear Headroom => 1008 mm.
- Rear Legroom => 973 mm.
- Wheelbase => 2661 mm.
- Width => 1815 mm.
The Toyota RAV4 offers a comfortable and stable ride. The suspension in the Sport model is tuned for firmness rather than suppleness. The steering reaction is confident, and the RAV4’s optional four-wheel-drive system performs admirably in both snowy and rainy environments. While the four-cylinder variant is more fuel efficient than the V6, we found it to be underpowered.