2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Highlander: Hi Big Brother!

Toyota produces a collection of high-quality and reliable SUVs. This includes the RAV4 compact SUV and the Highlander midsize SUV, which are two of the best-selling SUVs in the world. To help you understand the differences between the RAV4 and Highlander, we created a 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander comparison. Hi big brother! Let’s see how we stack up!

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander: What are the differences?

Lunar Rock 2022 Toyota RAV4 driving through a forest
Lunar Rock 2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

For our 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander comparison, we evaluated several different areas. This includes performance, efficiency, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, interior features and technologies, reliability, and price.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Performance, efficiency, and towing

Blue-gray 2022 Toyota Highlander parked on a road
Blue 2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

On the performance front, the Highlander’s 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. Its hybrid powertrain generates a total system output of 243 hp. In comparison, the RAV4 offers three powertrain options: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (203 hp/184 lb-ft of torque), a hybrid (219 hp), and a plug-in hybrid with the RAV4 Prime (308 hp). Also, with a turning radius as low as 18.05 feet (compared to 18.7 feet for the Highlander), the RAV4 is slightly more maneuverable.

For efficiency, the RAV4 has the advantage. The most efficient RAV4 model is the RAV4 Prime, which has a fuel economy of 94 MPGe when driving in electric-only mode and 38 combined mpg in hybrid mode. The RAV4 Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 41 city/38 highway mpg, while the gas-powered RAV4 has a fuel-efficiency rating of up to 28 city/35 highway mpg. In comparison, the gas-powered Highlander has a gas mileage of up to 21 city/29 highway mpg, while the Highlander Hybrid has a fuel economy of up to 36 city/35 highway mpg.

For towing, the Highlander has the advantage. The gas-powered Highlander has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, while the Highlander Hybrid can tow up to 3,500 pounds. In comparison, all RAV4 models have a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Off-road capabilities

If you’re aiming to head far out into the wilderness for an off-road excursion, then the RAV4 is the best choice for you. While both the RAV4 and Highlander offer a traction-enhancing all-wheel drive system, only the RAV4 offers an off-road-focused model with the highly capable RAV4 TRD Off-Road. Also, the RAV4 has a higher ground clearance than the Highlander (8.6 vs. 8.0 inches).

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Safety

The RAV4 and Highlander offer a similar roster of safety and driving assistance features. However, the Highlander performed better for crash and safety tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the Highlander earned the best possible IIHS Top Safety Pick+ score, the RAV4 earned the second-tier IIHS Top Safety Pick score. 

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Passenger and cargo space (How much bigger is the Highlander than the RAV4?)

The Highlander is clearly a bigger SUV than the RAV4 — but by how much? For the exterior size, the Highlander has an overall length of 197.4 inches and a wheelbase length of 112 inches. In comparison, the RAV4 has an overall length of 181.5 inches and a wheelbase length of 104.7 inches.

The larger size of the Highlander translates to considerably more interior space. It can seat up to eight passengers and has a total passenger volume of 141.3 cu-ft. In comparison, the RAV4 has a passenger capacity of five people and a total passenger volume of 98.9 cu-ft. Also, the Highlander offers more space for storage, with a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft, compared to 69.8 cu-ft for the RAV4.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Interior features and technologies

For the interior, the RAV4 has a high-quality cabin regardless of the trim level. While the higher trim levels of the Highlander are more upscale, the lower trims have a lower quality, with heavy use of hard plastics. However, the Highlander offers more options for premium features and technologies. Also, it offers a larger touchscreen for the infotainment system, with an available 12.3-inch version, compared to the available 8.0-inch version for the RAV4.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Reliability

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Which Toyota SUV is more reliable? Both the RAV4 and Highlander have the same warranty coverage. This includes a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, the Highlander has a higher predicted reliability rating than the RAV4.

RAV4 vs. Highlander: Price

The RAV4 costs less than the Highlander. Starting prices for the 2022 Highlander range from $35,205 MSRP for the L trim to $47,560 MSRP for the Platinum trim. While Toyota has not yet released the pricing information for the 2022 RAV4, it likely won’t be much different than the 2021 RAV4. Starting prices for the 2021 RAV4 range from $26,350 MSRP for base LE trim up to $41,675 MSRP for the RAV4 Prime XSE trim.

2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander: Which Toyota SUV is better?

Which Toyota SUV is better, the 2022 RAV4 or 2022 Highlander? After reviewing our 2022 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander comparison, you can see that each SUV has its own set of advantages. 

For the RAV4, advantages include high-level performance for the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid model, efficiency, off-road capabilities, interior quality, and price. For the Highlander, advantages include better performance for the gas-powered and hybrid models, towing, safety, passenger and cargo space, interior features and technologies, and reliability.

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