This Toyota Model Won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place for the Best Compact SUVs on KBB

This compact SUV continually impresses. The 2022 Toyota RAV4, in all its versions, is a hit. In fact, KBB just named three different versions of the 2022 Toyota RAV4 first, second, and third place for the best compact SUVs. 

Promotion shot of the 2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE compact SUV in blue
2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

In first place, we have the normal 2022 Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 Hybrid takes second place. And holding down the bronze is the 2022 RAV4 Prime. If this isn’t a strong argument for the RAV4’s dominance in the compact SUV segment, I don’t know what is. 

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is the best Compact SUV according to Kelly Blue Book

A white 2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium compact SUV is parked outdoors.
A white 2022 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium compact SUV is parked outdoors | Toyota

Kelly Blue Book rated all the cars they tested and ranked them all according to their class and segment. Despite the Honda CR-V’s popularity and ubiquity, the RAV4 left no room for the competition in the top three best compact SUVs. 

The plain gas-powered Toyota took the gold. The RAV4‘s popularity is pretty simple to see. Plainly put, the Toyota RAV4 does everything you expect from a crossover SUV. It boasts plenty of interior room while still being a smaller package, good fuel economy, and Toyota’s legendary reliability. 

It is also worth mentioning that the Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular compact SUVs ever made. Toyota has sold more than 10 million units over the nearly 20 years of RAV4 production.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 LE has a starting price of $26,525. This is a major reason why the internal combustion engine (ICE) RAV4 landed in the top spot. The RAV4 line includes some killer powertrains like the multiple hybrids and conventional 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 203 hp. This engine was tuned for being economical, not speed, and it shows. Even still, the whole package is a tough one to beat. According to KBB, no other compact SUV had what it takes to beat the mighty RAV4. 

Second place goes to the 2022 RAV4 Hybrid

Side view of silver 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, highlighting reasons to by a hybrid car in 2022
2022 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

I should mention even though KBB has them listed in first, second, and third place, the three RAV4 models all landed the same score of 4.8 out of five stars. The RAV4 Hybrid fixes one of the only annoying aspects of the ICE RAV4, a noisy and slightly underwhelming engine. 

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was destined to be great. Toyota has been on the hybrid train for quite some time. Look no further than the Toyota Prius. 

One downside to the RAV4 Hybrid is its price. KBB says it should start around $30,000 and run up to around $40,000. It is pricy compared to its competitors for as good as the RAV4 Hybrid is. The Hyundai Tucson Hybrid is similarly priced, but the Ford Escape hybrid comes in at a few thousand dollars less. 

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery. These electric motors bring up the 2.5-liter engine to 219 hp. Not only is this version of the RAV4 a bit tastier than the plain ICE version, but it is also even more fuel-efficient at an estimated 41 mpg in town and 38 on the highway. 

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime is last but not the worst 

Supersonic Red 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime with the Chicago skyline in the background
Supersonic Red 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota

Remember, all three of these iterations of the RaAV4 scored the same on the KBB review. The RAV4 Prime only got two complaints from KBB, and only one of them matters if you’re rich. KBB had gobs of praise to heap on the RAV4 Prime, but they didn’t love the high price point or the amount of highway sound in the cabin, but that’s it. Pretty good.

The RAV4 Prime starts a few hundred smackers shy of $40,000. This is a lot of money for a RAV4, even one as good as the Prime model. Unlike both of the other models, the Toyota RAV4 Prime has some serious beef under the hood, 302 hp, to be exact. 

What’s the difference between the RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime?

Yes, they are both hybrid compact SUVs. However, the Hybrid has much smaller lithium-ion batteries and is nearly 100 hp less than the Prime. This means the RAV4 Prime’s larger lithium-ion batteries can be charged externally and used to power the car for 42 miles of range using just the batteries. 

Overall, the Prime seems to be the superior version. It has the most power, highest mpg, and offers the most exciting drive. However, these things all come at a cost. 

Between the three models here, there is a lovely mix of price points, capability, and utility. I am starting to see why KBB picked all three. They all have different strong suits and are somehow still considered better than everything else in this category. 

Long live the Toyota RAV4. 

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