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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition review: Basic spice

Throwing some eye candy at a basic RAV4 could be a recipe for success

2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition

2024 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition review with The Road Beat

Words and pictures by Mitchell Weitzman

What does Woodland mean to you? For me, it's the 60,000 person town northwest of Sacramento that is ironically absent of trees and anything resembling a 'woodland.' Most will imagine a thickened green forest, so it's appropriate that this new RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition was equipped with a rather fitting coat of Army Green paint to blend in. I recently tested a Sienna 'Woodland' that came in Cement, the exact antithesis to a woodland. Perhaps that one was more akin to the eponymous Northern California town, but at least this one actually evokes imagery of an actual woodland.

2024 Toyota RAV4 Woodland Edition review

For Toyota, the Woodland Edition is a bit of a value-added package designed to make the lower-tier models more appealing and desirable. With a suggested retail price of $36,545, this green aspiration sits right in the middle of the two extremes when it comes to RAV4 pricing. Normally you'd have to size up to an SE or XSE at least to gain some visual stimulation for this popular crossover, but the Woodland Edition does convincingly spice things up with its green paint option and glowing bronze wheels wrapped in capable tread-laden tires. Other desirable features include LED headlights, all-wheel drive, all-weather floor mats for those woodland-themed adventures, Toyota's smart key proximity-sensing keyless entry, and what Toyota calls TRD-tuned suspension. All the normal Toyota safety items are included as on all models as is convenient wireless Apple CarPlay. However, one huge omission is a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Instead, we're treated to Toyota's poverty-class wheel which is among the nastiest in any new car today. It honestly feels like it's made of rough cardboard, and with a large visible seem where the plastic is fused together around the outer rim. An awful steering wheel that's highly unpleasant, and unfortunately it's the one item you literally can't avoid touching when driving this RAV4. I actually forgot how bad the basic Toyota steering wheels were and I regret I had to be reminded. Previously tested RAV4s all were well-optioned models that included leather steering wheels.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Woodland review

The rest of the Woodland Edition is pretty consistent with the rest of the RAV4 Hybrid range. Gas mileage is excellent as expected, sipping fuel to the tune of 34 MPG. Despite fabric seats, it's a comfortable car for long periods of time and has generous space in all seats and an impressive cargo volume. It's even reasonably quiet inside at speed. This is far from a luxurious interior, and nor would I expect it to be for the price, but it's quite utilitarian and robust without any rattles even on rough roads. In other words, it's a solid build, if a bit uninspired and dated.

On the road, the RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition drives just fine with smooth everyday operation. Steering might be numb (and that ghastly wheel), but it's at least accurate, responding surprisingly well to inputs and can easily be hustled down country roads at an alarming pace which most all new cars are capable of. Grip is okay, and understeer will prevail and upset the electronic driver aids, but for the casual driver, this is a fairly competent crossover. Not quite approaching the dynamics of Mazda or Honda, but it's easily good enough for the larger audience of consumers who will find it an upgrade over past Toyotas. With some aggressive-looking tires and all-wheel drive, you can have increased confidence through mud and snow, but don't go expecting this to replace Jeep Wranglers or even a 4Runner any time soon. Also of note is its 8.1" of ground clearance, which is disappointingly the same as other RAV4 Hybrids and a half-inch less than the RAV4 TRD Off-Road.

RAV4 Hybrid Woodland Edition interior

What becomes the biggest single appeal of the RAV4 Woodland Edition is the appearance, especially configured in this choice of this military-inspired paint and catchy bronze wheels. Some will hate the bronze wheels and call them trendy, but others might enjoy the different look they bring. After that, there's not much else going for the Woodland Edition given its cheaper interior furnishings and terrible steering wheel. The steering wheel alone would be all the reason to want a different model if I'm being completely candid. Seriously, if the wheel was better this would be a decent value-added package, but it's that bad to use; I'm tempted to lather it in coconut oil because of how dehydrated the surface feels. It's nice Toyota is trying different things and spicing up some more entry-level trims, but it's not enough to substitute for either another brand or simply a nicer RAV4 Hybrid.

Price as-tested: $36,545

Pros: Eye-catching paint and wheels, MPG

Cons: Terrible steering wheel, Not really an off-roader


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