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SUVs are the most popular vehicles in the world thanks to brands like Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. Brands sell thousands of SUV models every year because they’re practical and affordable. Some SUVs sell much better than others because they’re ideal for everyday use. What’s the best SUV daily driver on the market?

Which SUV makes the best daily driver?

A white 2024 Mazda CX-5 small SUV is driving on the road, it's an excellent daily driver.
The 2024 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

There’s a clear distinction to make between the most popular SUV of the year and the best daily driver. Tesla’s small electric SUV is the most popular SUV of 2023 thus far. Since the Model Y is an electric vehicle, it isn’t an ideal daily driver for thousands of Americans.

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure still has a long way to go before it’s practical for the average American driver. Tesla has the largest supercharger network in the world, but there are still areas in need of charging stations. So, the Model Y may be the most popular SUV in 2023, but it isn’t necessarily the best daily driver.

The most popular internal combustion engine SUV is the Toyota RAV4. Consumers love the RAV4 because it’s relatively affordable for its segment, practical, and has decent fuel economy. It checks all the boxes for drivers in need of a reliable small family SUV. Toyota’s compact SUV makes a great daily driver, but is it really the best daily driver?

Choosing the RAV4 as the best daily driver seems like a cop-out. The title of best daily driver deserves more deep thought and analysis. An exceptional daily driver has to be fun to drive and very efficient if it’s going to be driven often. So, instead of the RAV4, consider the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid as the best daily driver.

Why the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid makes an awesome daily driver

Before you toss the device you’re reading this article on or spit out your beverage, take some time to appreciate the modern mechanical masterpiece that is the RAV4 Hybrid. It’s essentially a more efficient version of America’s favorite (non-electric) SUV. Some consumers may not like hybrids, but they’re the best of both worlds in more ways than one.

Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid checks all the same boxes as its gas predecessor and adds even more efficiency to the equation. More gas mileage and less money at the pump over time? Yes, please.

Best of all, the hybrid version of the RAV4 doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It starts at $31,225 and uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors to make 219 horsepower. That’s even more horses than the gas RAV4. Additionally, the RAV4 Hybrid comes with standard all-wheel drive. So, the price difference between the RAV4 LE AWD and the RAV4 Hybrid LE is just $1,550.

That $1,550 price difference gets you a small hybrid SUV capable of achieving 41 miles per gallon in the city and 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Furthermore, it has a 14.5-gallon tank size, so the hybrid SUV can travel for around 572 miles on a full tank of gas.

Should you get a 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

A blue 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid small hybrid SUV is parked.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid | Toyota

Toyota is a pioneer in the hybrid vehicle technology space. Models like the Prius have paved the way for dozens of popular hybrid vehicles. The RAV4 Hybrid provides great value for the money, especially for drivers looking to save on gas. It’s the best daily driver in the eyes of many because it’s a family SUV that you can put plenty of miles on without worrying so much about prices at the pump or reliability over time.


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