Toyota added the TRD Off-Road trim to the RAV4 lineup in 2019, giving the modest family crossover the opportunity to get a little closer to that earth with a number of dirt-friendly upgrades. Hybrids don’t receive the same treatment, but the 2023 RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition attempts to bridge that family gap, even if it appears to be lacking in a few key areas.
Before you start dreaming of tackling Moab on your way to Meijer, it’s worth noting that the Woodland Edition isn’t a pixel-perfect adaptation of the TRD Off-Road. You don’t get the TRD’s extra half-inch of ground clearance, nor do you receive its specific all-wheel drive system, as all RAV4 hybrids drive their rear axle using a single 54-hp electric motor with no mechanical connection to the engine.
What are you do get in Woodland Edition is a blend of form and function. TRD Off-Road lent 18-inch bronze wheels wrapped in 225/60R-18 Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail 01A all-terrain tires. The Woodland Edition also borrows TRD springs, dampers and shock stops. Otherwise, the RAV4 gets some light aesthetic tweaks, including a roof rack and mud flaps, as well as a 120-volt outlet in the cargo area.
Fuel Economy Hit
The RAV4 Woodland Edition, unfortunately, took a hit on its fuel economy, which poses an existential threat, as it detracts from a key reason to buy a hybrid. But, if you want your hybrid to mount on roof racks and tires with greater rolling resistance, sacrifices must be made. In our 75 mph highway fuel economy test, Woodland’s 32 mpg result was a full 5 mpg below the last RAV4 hybrid we tested and 3 mpg below its EPA estimate, which is Woodland specific.
All-terrain tires can provide additional grip on loose surfaces, but are generally not as strong on pavement. On our 300-foot skidpad, the RAV4 Woodland Edition manages 0.78 g, less than the grippier 2019 RAV4 Hybrid Limited’s 0.81 g.
Braking and acceleration tell a slightly happier story. It took the Woodland Edition just 179 feet to come to a stop from 70 mph, outperforming the standard hybrid by three feet. The sprint ended in a death heat, with both variants needing 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph and 15.6 seconds to pass the quarter mile mark. Whichever RAV4 hybrid trim you choose, the powertrain remains the same, pairing the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with three electric motors — including one that drives the rear wheels independently, and only when additional traction is needed. This system incorporates a total of 219 horsepower.
Another high watermark comes via interior noise. You might think that Falken Wildpeaks would add provable fanfare, but no — at 68 decibels with a cruising speed of 70 mph, the Woodland Edition is actually 1 decibel quieter than the RAV4 Hybrid Limited. In a more subjective experience, you’d be hard-pressed to spot a difference. A planetary transmission that mixes electric and gas drives and mimics a continuously variable automatic transmission does a good job of looking for efficient segments of the rev range without adding any drone. That’s good because the tone of the engine isn’t pleasant at any speed.
Toyota claims that the TRD Woodland’s special suspension components are tuned to reduce bumps and tilt of all shapes and sizes, and that’s true to our experience. Most roads in Southeastern Michigan feel like glorified dirt roads, and the RAV4 Woodland cruises across them with aplomb, providing competent mitigation without feeling wishy-washy.
If your idea of adventure includes pulling stuff in the middle of nowhere, maybe you should stick with the gas-powered RAV4. The unchanged powertrain means the Woodland Edition carries the same 1,750-pound tow rating as the other hybrids, while the TRD Off-Road and Adventure trims can manage twice the rear mass.
On the plus side, no amount of beefcake doodaddery can mess with the outright practicality baked into the RAV4. Visibility is good, and all three mirrors are twice as large as they should be. The passenger-side dashboard storage tray is a nice touch, and there’s plenty of room to dump tchotchkes under the center armrest and in the tray in front of the gear lever. In the rear, the cargo area can accommodate 10 carry-on luggage behind the second row or 22 with the rear seats folded.
Want to play some songs? Rejoice that Toyota has sent its crappy old Entune infotainment software to the land of the shadows. In its place is the same upgraded setup you’ll find on other new Toyota models, and it’s a huge upgrade. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the 8.0-inch touchscreen, and Google-based navigation is available. The 10.5-inch touch screen is available in higher trims but not in Woodland.
You know what else isn’t available on this off-road oriented model? Heated seats. In fact, the packaging of options on the RAV4 Woodland Edition is downright confusing. The SE, which is cheaper than Woodland at $34,860, can be opted for with a package that adds heated front seats, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power liftgate, and sunroof, none of which are available on the Woodland Edition, but all of which sure sounds fun to watch. possessed at rest from civilization. It’s probably always 75 degrees and overcast in whatever forest is closest to Toyota’s headquarters.
Therein lies the problem. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition is a simulacrum that offers a bit of pageantry but sacrifices much of the hybrid’s raison d’être. Adding variety to the lineup is great, but the Woodland Edition’s shortcomings make it hard to recommend when every other variant seems more mature.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition 2023
Vehicle Type: front engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Basic/As Tested: $34,860/$36,104
Options: running board, $620; threshold protector, $199; frameless HomeLink mirror, $175; doorman, $150; fog light accent trim, $100
DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter inline-4, 176 hp, 163 lb-ft + 3 AC motors, 118 and 54 hp, 149 lb-ft and 89 lb-ft (combined output, 219 hp); 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
automatic continuous variable
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.0-in vented disc/11.1-in disc
Tyre: Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail 01A
225/60R-18 100H M+S
Wheelbase: 105.9 inches
Length: 180.9 inches
Width: 73.0 inches
Height: 67.0 inches
Passenger Volume, F/R: 52/47 ft3
Cargo Volume, Rear F/R: 70/38 ft3
Restraint Weight: 3817 lb
CD TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.3 seconds
1/4-Mile: 15.6 seconds @ 90 mph
100 mph: 20.4 seconds
The above result removes 1 foot launch from 0.3 seconds.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.4 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.2 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 115 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 179 ft
Road hold, 300 ft Skidpad: 0.78 g
CD FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 30 mpg
Driving on the Highway 75 mph: 32 mpg
75 mph Highway Range: 460 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 37/38/35 mpg
CD TESTING EXPLAINED