2022 Toyota Highlander vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4 Comparison

Erin Riches-Wong | Feb 25, 2022

Whether your family is large or small, you'll inevitably find yourself shopping for a crossover SUV. Most automakers now offer a wide range of models and sizes, so it's usually easy to find an SUV that fits your needs and budget.

Often, it's hard to decide between two crossovers in the same lineup. Do you need a 3-row midsize SUV like the 2022 Toyota Highlander? Or, would a compact, 2-row 2022 Toyota RAV4 serve you just as well? Toyota offers hybrid versions of both crossover SUVs. Only the RAV4 comes in a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Prime model, and only the Highlander has an available V6 engine.

It's a lot to consider, so here's a 2022 Toyota Highlander vs. 2022 Toyota RAV4 comparison to help you sort through the details.

Price and Value - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE FWD Silver Front Quarter View

2022 Toyota Highlander XLE

Consumers will find the 2022 Toyota Highlander among the larger midsize SUVs, and it has a standard third-row seat. You can get a Highlander in L, LE, XLE, XSE, Bronze Edition, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. Eight-passenger seating is standard on the L and LE. The other trims have standard second-row captain's chairs (instead of a bench seat) and max out at seven passengers, but the XLE and Limited have optional 8-passenger seating.

Pricing on the 2022 Highlander ranges from $35,405 to $47,760, not including the $1,215 destination charge. A gasoline V6 engine is standard on all Toyota Highlanders, except the Bronze Edition, which exclusively comes with the hybrid powertrain that combines a 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The hybrid powertrain is available on most trims; the L and XSE are V6 only. The least expensive 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at $39,055.

All 2022 Highlanders have standard front-wheel drive (FWD) and optional all-wheel drive (AWD). The cost of AWD varies by trim level and ranges from $1,600 to $1,950. 

Every 2022 Toyota Highlander comes with a one-year trial subscription to useful connected services like automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside assistance (this package is known as Safety Connect), plus a 3-month trial for the Wi-Fi hotspot. Most Highlanders also get a year of Remote Connect remote engine starting and locking, and vehicles with factory navigation are eligible for a year of Destination Assist concierge service.

Toyota offers complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles that you own a 2022 Highlander.

Shoppers will find the 2022 Toyota RAV4 typical in size for a compact SUV. It has two rows of seating and can accommodate five passengers. Realistically, most families will use it as a 4-seater, especially if you're installing car seats. You can get the 2022 Toyota RAV4 in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, SE, XSE, and Limited trim levels.

Pricing on the 2022 RAV4 ranges from $26,525 and tops out at $43,125, not including the $1,215 destination charge. Most trim levels come standard with a gasoline 4-cylinder engine, though the SE and XSE are only available with one of the hybrid powertrains.

Both the RAV4 Hybrid ($29,075 base price) and RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid ($39,800 base price) use a 4-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor, though the Prime has a much larger battery pack to allow more pure electric range. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime also qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Among non-hybrid Toyota RAV4s, the LE, XLE, and Limited have standard FWD and optional AWD ($1,400). All other 2022 RAV4 trims have standard AWD, as do the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime PHEV.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 has the same connected services as the 2022 Highlander. All RAV4s come with the Safety Connect services and the Wi-Fi hotspot, and the XLE and up have the Remote Connect features. Destination Assist is available on the upper trims. The 2022 RAV4 also has a complimentary 2-year/25,000-mile scheduled maintenance plan.

Advantage: Neither

The Highlander's extra size and seats offset its higher price. Besides that, these SUVs offer the same connected services and complimentary scheduled maintenance plans.

Reliability and Quality - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD Offroad White Front Quarter View Action

2022 Toyota RAV4 TRD

The Toyota Highlander does not rank among the top three models in the Upper Midsize SUV segment of the J.D. Power 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). It ranks third among Upper Midsize SUVs in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2022 Toyota Highlander comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 10 years or 150,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 2 years and unlimited miles

The Toyota RAV4 does not rank among the top three Compact SUV models in the 2022 VDS, nor does it rank among the top three models in its segment in the 2021 IQS. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 10 years or 150,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 2 years and unlimited miles

Advantage: Neither

Warranty coverage is identical, and at the brand level, Toyota ranks high for dependability.

Performance and Efficiency - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022_Toyota_Highlander_Platinum_AWD_MoonDust_023

2022 Toyota Highlander Platinum

In base form, the 2022 Toyota Highlander has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Aside from an occasional delay as the transmission upshifts, this smooth, refined powertrain is guaranteed to please. A properly equipped 6-cylinder Highlander has a 5,000-pound tow rating.

The V6 AWD Highlander offers selectable terrain modes and hill-descent control. The XSE, Limited, and Platinum get an upgraded AWD system with torque-vectoring technology that transfers torque between the rear wheels to improve grip. Ground clearance is 8.0 inches.

Your other choice is the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. It uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 186 hp and 175 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel-drive hybrid Toyota Highlanders have two electric motors and a small, 1.9-kilowatt-hour battery pack. On AWD versions, a third electric motor drives the rear wheels. With either setup, the Highlander Hybrid has a combined 243-hp rating. Instead of a conventional transmission, the hybrid Highlander uses an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT).

Consumers who prioritize fuel economy will be satisfied with the Highlander Hybrid's performance. The 4-cylinder engine makes more noise than expected, though. A properly equipped Highlander Hybrid has a 3,500-pound tow rating.

With the V6 and FWD, the 2022 Toyota Highlander has a 24-mpg Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating in combined city and highway driving. With AWD, it rates 23 mpg. The FWD Toyota Highlander Hybrid rates 36 mpg in combined driving; the AWD version rates 35 mpg.

In base form, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 has a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 203 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Performance is more than adequate, but the engine sounds coarse when you're accelerating hard. A properly equipped Toyota RAV4 has a 3,500-pound tow rating in Adventure and TRD Off-Road trim (other trims top out at 1,500 pounds).

All-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4s have selectable terrain modes. The Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited have an upgraded AWD system with torque-vectoring capability. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road have hill-descent control. The TRD Off-Road alone has all-terrain tires and an off-road-tuned suspension. Ground clearance is 8.4-8.6 inches, depending on the trim.

If you want more performance from a 2022 Toyota RAV4, the RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime have it—and you'll get better fuel mileage to boot. Both models use a hybrid-specific version of the 2.5-liter engine and an eCVT. It's rated at 176 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque on the regular hybrid RAV4 and 177 hp and 165 pound-feet of torque on the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime.

The major difference between these two is battery-pack size. With its 1.6-kWh battery pack, the 2022 RAV4 Hybrid makes a combined 219 hp. The RAV4 Prime has a larger 18.1-kWh battery pack, a more powerful front electric drive motor, and a total power rating of 302 hp. It's one of the quickest vehicles in the Toyota lineup. Properly equipped, the RAV4 Prime has a 2,500-pound tow rating (1,750 on the regular hybrid).

Like the Highlander Hybrid, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime use a rear electric drive motor to provide AWD. Both have 8.1 inches of ground clearance.

The base-engine 2022 Toyota RAV4 rates 30 mpg combined with FWD and 28-30 mpg with AWD. The RAV4 TRD Off-Road returns slightly lower mpg due to its all-terrain tires. The RAV4 Hybrid rates 40 mpg combined. The heavier 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime rates 38 mpg and provides an EPA-rated 42 miles of pure electric range.

With its standard 3.3-kW onboard charger, the RAV4 Prime can recharge in 4.5 hours at a 240-volt, Level 2 charging station. An optional 6.6-kW charger reduces charging time to 2.5 hours. If you plug into a regular 120-volt outlet, plan for 12 hours of charging time.

Advantage: Neither

The Highlander's V6 is satisfying, but if you want a hybrid or PHEV, the RAV4 is better.

Safety and Driving Assistance - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE Interior Dashboard

2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid SE

Every 2022 Toyota Highlander comes with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+) advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) package. It includes a forward-collision warning (FCW) system with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-keeping assistance (LKA), adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane-centering assistance, and traffic sign recognition.

The 2022 Highlander's FCW system detects pedestrians and cyclists in both daylight and low-light conditions. It can intervene to prevent an ill-advised left turn into another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist. With ACC and lane centering enabled, the Highlander provides traffic jam assist (TJA), a form of Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance.

Skip the base Toyota Highlander L, on which a blind-spot warning (BSW) system with rear cross-traffic alert isn't available. All other 2022 Highlanders have this as standard. The Limited and Platinum have low-speed front and rear automatic braking to minimize parking lot mishaps. All Highlanders have a rear-seat reminder system.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander has a maximum 5-star overall National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety rating (4 stars for frontal crash performance). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2022 Highlander a Top Safety Pick+.

Every 2022 Toyota RAV4 comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0), an older version of Toyota's ADAS. It generally matches up feature for feature with the Highlander's TSS 2.5+, but its FCW and ACC systems aren't as sophisticated. A BSW system with rear cross-traffic warning is optional on the RAV4 LE and standard on all other RAV4 trim levels.

Low-speed front and rear automatic braking is available on the RAV4's higher trims.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 has a 5-star NHTSA overall safety rating (4 stars for frontal crashes). As of this writing, the IIHS has not released full crash-test ratings for the 2022 Toyota RAV4. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime rates Good for small-overlap, frontal-offset crashes affecting the passenger side.

Advantage: Toyota Highlander

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Silver Rear Quarter View

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Most 2022 Toyota Highlanders have an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment interface. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is standard.

A 12.3-inch touchscreen display is available on the Limited and Platinum. A factory navigation system is available with both displays. All Highlanders have five USB ports. A wireless phone charging pad is standard starting on the XLE trim level. The Platinum has a head-up display.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 offers three touchscreen infotainment displays. The base setup includes a 7-inch screen and standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. The 2022 RAV4 Prime SE has an 8-inch display. The RAV4's higher trims come with a 9-inch display. Factory navigation is available with the 9-inch display.

You will find three USB ports in the Toyota RAV4 LE. All other RAV4s have five USB ports. A wireless charging pad is available on the upper trims.

Advantage: Toyota Highlander

Comfort and Utility - Find the best Toyota deals!

2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE Blue Rear Quarter View.

2022 Toyota RAV4 XSE

With three rows of seating, the 2022 Toyota Highlander is foremost a family vehicle. Its interior design is hardly beautiful, but it's functional, save for a couple of oddly designed storage areas.

Getting into the first and second rows is easy, but access to the third row is difficult. In addition, getting three kids across in the third row is no easy feat and will require just the right combination of car seats or boosters.

Three across in the second row is realistic in Highlanders with the bench seat. Second-row window sunshades are standard starting on the XLE. The standard triple-zone climate control system includes air-conditioning vents in the second and third rows.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander provides 16 cubic feet of grocery/stroller space behind its third row. With the third row down, you'll have 48.4 cubic feet. The Highlander has 84.3 cubic feet of capacity with all rear seats folded. A power liftgate is standard on all Highlanders, except the base L. The Bronze Edition, Limited, and Platinum have a hands-free liftgate.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is plenty roomy by compact SUV standards. Moreover, its cabin design is more attractive than the Highlander's, and it offers plenty of practical storage areas. Toyota doesn't offer leather upholstery in its compact SUV, but the vegan-friendly SofTex upholstery is convincing enough.

Families of four will find ample room for two car seats. Rear air-conditioning vents are standard in all RAV4s, except the LE. You can't get rear sunshades, though.

In most 2022 Toyota RAV4s, the cargo bay measures 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Seats-down cargo capacity is 69.8 cubic feet. The RAV4 Prime has a 33.5-cubic-foot cargo area, but the maximum capacity remains 69.8 cubic feet. A power liftgate is available starting on the XLE. Hands-free access is available on the Limited and Prime XSE.

Advantage: Neither

If you have three or more kids, you'll want the Highlander. But for families of four or fewer, the RAV4 might be more enjoyable.

Learn More About the Toyota Highlander and Toyota RAV4 - Find the best Toyota deals!

If you'd like to learn more about these 3-row midsize and compact SUVs, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2022 Toyota Highlander and the 2022 Toyota RAV4. To find out how people like you rate models in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on February 24, 2022, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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