I wouldn’t say that Toyota invented the crossover. But in 1994, the company debuted the first RAV4, an SUV with off-road-capable four-wheel drive—yet built on a unibody chassis, just like a Corolla. And its bold styling and decent on-road performance did a lot to popularize this new vehicle segment.
In the years since, the RAV4 has grown. Today’s RAV4 is much larger than the original two-door model from the ’90s, and it’s now far and away Toyota’s most popular offering. Here in the US, the RAV4 has outsold the Camry and Corolla—as well as the entire Lexus brand—by tens of thousands of units this year already.
That popularity is why it has taken a surprisingly long time to arrange this review. When Toyota announced it was making a plug-in hybrid version of its bestseller, demand was so great that the company prioritized getting cars into the hands of its customers rather than the media.