First Drive: The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Is Surprisingly Good

We do our fair share of vehicle research on popular models like the Toyota RAV4. Sometimes, what critics say about options doesn’t precisely match up with firsthand experiences. For example, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 seems better than expected so far. 

How does the 2022 Toyota RAV4 drive? 

2023 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road model parked in a driveway
2023 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

We just started a week with the 2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road model, so it’s the beefy one with off-roading upgrades. Critics will say that off-roading models are bumpier and louder than daily driver alternatives. 

Also, critics like Edmunds point out that the RAV4 is a little slow with vague steering. It’s not as sporty as the Mazda CX-5. But it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.0 seconds, which isn’t bad. 

We’ve driven the RAV4 on a three-hour trip from Rock Hill, SC, to Asheville, NC, so far and enjoyed the stout acceleration, weighted steering, and confident brakes. Merging into traffic and passing others was fine. 

But after being stuck behind two semi-trucks at 50 mph while going up a steep mountain curve, we did want more torque. Once one of the trucks moved out of the left lane, we hit the acceleration to pass it, and the Toyota RAV4 struggled to pick up speed. 

The Toyota RAV4 is comfortable 

There have been plenty of reviews reporting that the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is lackluster in terms of comfort and value. Reportedly, the seats aren’t well-padded, the interior on lower trims is full of plastics, and the ride quality can be bumpy. 

We understand that we have the top-spec model for the week, and lower trims might be different, but the TRD Pro is comfortable. It has a specially tuned suspension, so it could feel better than the other trims. 

The large leather seats and well-padded and supportive. Plus, it’s easy to adjust the seats to find the perfect riding position. 

Impacts on the road are absorbed with ease for a smooth ride, and body roll seems limited around curves. However, wind noise is intrusive at highway speeds, and the radio had to be turned up a few times. 

The climate control system worked quickly on a hot and humid afternoon to keep us cool, and the ventilated seats are impressive. Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes allow you to take it easy for a fuss-free drive or increase the fun for an engaging experience.

The 2022 RAV4 is spacious 

Front angle view of Cavalry Blue 2022 Toyota RAV4
2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Critics love saying that the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester have more space than the 2022 Toyota RAV4, even though the RAV4 doesn’t skimp on space. Two adults can sit in the rear comfortably. 

The cargo hold is massive. There are 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear with up to 69.8 cubes total. The liftover height is convenient, and the hatch opening is wide, making it easy to load your gear. 

There are an impressive amount of cargo trays and cubbies for small-item storage too. Plus, the cupholders and center console are generous. 

We have a lot more to learn about the Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road, and we’re going to drive it every day. We even have some off-roading lined up. 

Not everything has been positive so far. For example, the graphics on the infotainment screen feel dated. Stay tuned for our full review to learn about the good and bad.

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