Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vs Tesla Model Y specs comparison

Toyota Rav4 Hybrid and Tesla Model Y

Bruce Newton

Posted March 20, 2024

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Tesla Model Y EV are two of Australia's top-selling cars. From performance and interior design to safety and warranty, which medium SUV is the best buy?

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Tesla Model Y are proof hybrid and electric medium SUVs are appealing to a wider range of motorists. In 2023, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was Australia’s fourth best-selling vehicle and the Tesla Model Y sixth.

The bulk of Toyota RAV4 sales in Australia were petrol-electric hybrids, while each and every Tesla Model Y was electric.

Let’s take a look at these two disparate takes on motoring and figure out their strengths and weaknesses.

The Tesla Model Y's unique dashboard is one of its more modern and unique features. Image: Supplied
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid comes with a more traditional interior. Image: Supplied

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid v Tesla Model Y pricing and features


The nine-model Toyota RAV4 Hybrid range of five-door five-seat medium SUVs are priced from $42,260 to $58,360 plus on-road costs.

The three-model Tesla Model Y range of five-door five-seat medium SUVs starts at $65,400 and tops out at $91,400 plus on-road costs.

Four of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrids are front-wheel drive and five, including the flagship Edge, are all-wheel drive.

As its name suggests, only the base model Tesla Model Y RWD doesn’t have all-wheel drive.

So, for the purposes of this exercise we’ll compare the Toyota RAV4 Edge Hybrid against the Tesla Model Y RWD as they are closest on price.

One thing to be aware of in discussing the Toyota RAV4 is extended delays between placing an order and receiving the vehicle. Currently it can take years to get the car and the price can go up substantially.


As the top model in the range the Toyota RAV4 Edge Hybrid comes with plenty of gear.

Key equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels plus a space saver spare wheel, a sunroof, a power tailgate, Softex synthetic leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats and interior ambient lighting.

Tech features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.5-inch infotainment touchscreen through which wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, embedded sat-nav and radio frequencies operate. Audio is broadcast via a nine-speaker JBL. 

The Toyota RAV4 also includes wireless smartphone charging and a smartphone app that connects the driver to both safety and security features.

The Tesla Model Y also gets 19-inch wheels but makes do without a spare. It has a bigger panoramic glass sunroof, a power tailgate and power adjustment for both front seats (not just the driver). It also has heating for all five seats and the steering wheel. Like the Toyota RAV4, there’s ambient interior lighting and artificial leather seat trim.

The Tesla Model Y has no instrument cluster. It’s a blank dashboard in front of the driver. Instead, most functions including the speedo display are contained within the huge 15-inch infotainment screen in the middle of the dashboard.

There’s also no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring offered. Instead you have to rely on the embedded Tesla phone, navigation and music apps, which is okay because they work better than anything any other car-maker has come up with.

The Tesla Model Y also comes with a bunch of onboard entertainment and assistant features including a dog mode that’s sets the temperature and lets passers-by know via a message on the big screen your furry friend isn’t alone in the car by accident.

The Tesla Model Y takes connectivity to a whole new level. Not only does it have a smartphone app, but it also allows over the air updates for many functions including performance.


The Toyota offers a five-year/unlimited km warranty backed up by a competitive capped price service programs. Service intervals are 12 months and 15,000km. The high voltage battery warranty can be up to 10 years if it is properly serviced and maintained as per the service book.

The Tesla gets an underdone four-year, 80,000km warranty, but without an engine and all its oily bits does not require scheduled servicing like the Toyota.

The battery pack is separately covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty with a guarantee there will be at least 70 per cent of the original capacity available at that time.

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y provides comfort in both the front and rear seats. Image: Supplied

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid v Tesla Model Y safety features

Both these vehicles come with a five-star ANCAP rating, but the Toyota RAV4 was tested against 2019 protocols and the Tesla Model Y RWD against tougher 2022 protocols.

It doesn’t mean the Toyota RAV4 is unsafe, in fact it comes with a very high level of sophisticated driving assistants including autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, lane keeping, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Over and above most other models in the range the Toyota RAV4 Edge Hybrid adds a 360 degree camera with reversing guides that works with front and rear parking sensors. There are also seven airbags, three top tether attachments for child seats and two Isofix mounts.

The Tesla Model Y is also very well equipped with safety equipment, although there is no rear cross traffic alert with braking. Another thing to be aware of is the standard Autopilot or optional ‘Full Self Driving’ systems are simply not capable of set and forget driving.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid v Tesla Model Y interiors and design

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Edge and Tesla Model Y RWD achieve fundamentally the same task of transporting up to five people, but their interiors certainly go about it from different ends of the design spectrum.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is built around a traditional monocoque frame that takes into the account the 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder internal combustion engine up the front. To that are added front and rear electric motors and a small battery pack to power them.

The Tesla Model Y has a much bigger battery slung between the axles, a single electric motor over the rear axle and no petrol engine.

Essentially, the Tesla Model Y has a lot less componentry to package into a footprint that is both longer and wider – and lower - than the Toyota RAV4.

What that equates to is much more passenger space, especially for those in the second row. Luggage space starts at a generous 854 litres and expands to more than 2000 litres with the rear seat folded. There’s a frunk or front trunk under the bonnet because there’s no engine up there.

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is by no means underdone on luggage space but it can’t match the Tesla Model Y.

As we’ve already touched on is these two also work very differently for the driver. The RAV4 offers the traditional instrumentation and infotainment set-up and retains a set of hard buttons for key functions like air-con and audio.

The Tesla Model Y is as minimalist as they come. It’s all about the centre screen and if you can’t cope with operating through it then you’re going to have a hard time living with the Tesla Model Y. Judging by sales, plenty of people have adapted. 

Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid delivers fuel consumption savings over regular petrol RAV4 variants. Image: Supplied. 

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid v Tesla Model Y performance and handling

We’re now at the crux of the difference between the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Edge and Tesla Model Y RWD.

The Toyota is an attempt to make a traditional ICE powertrain cleaner and more economical while retaining the familiar driving experience we’ve all become familiar with.

The Tesla Model Y eschews all that and embraces the future, with zero visits required to the fuel bowser and the opportunity to charge the EV at home.

The Toyota RAV4’s powertrain is clever and it does a mostly seamless and transparent job of using electricity to assist the driving experience. Its fuel economy advantage over non-hybrid equivalents in the RAV4 range is in the order of 2 to 2.5L/100km.

But it gives you only brief tastes and snippets of electric running, whereas the Tesla Model Y is the epitome of smooth and silent.

It has that wonderful instant acceleration trait electric motors deliver – great for getting around town - while the low position of its heavy battery and direct steering helps keep the Tesla Model Y settled and accurate in corners.

It feels sportier and more connected than the Toyota, which itself is one of the neatest driving medium SUVs.

The Tesla Model Y does not ride as well as the RAV4, although an April 2023 suspension retune has added some much needed compliance.

When it comes to range anxiety - the concern you’re going to run out of power and have no way to recharge -  the Tesla Model Y RWD has a driving range well beyond 400km. So, for the usual weekly commuting of urban Australians, the Tesla Model Y will be easily sustained by overnight 240V trickle charging. 

Travel further afield and the Model Y has access to Tesla’s own national Supercharger network as well as the DC fast chargers of commercial operators such as Chargefox.

And don’t forget, with its regenerative ability – you’ll feel it the first time you brake – the Tesla Model Y can actually restore range as it drives along.

Of course, if you’re going to go really remote and long distance the fast-charging network is pretty limited at the moment. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will be easier and quicker to sustain on petrol.

tesla model y

The Tesla Model Y is the epitome of smooth and silent. Image: Supplied.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid v Tesla Model Y: which should I buy?

The Toyota RAV4 Edge Hybrid is a comfortable and cautious step into electrification that will make more sense for some people than the big leap the Tesla Model Y represents.

The Tesla Model Y is a challenge to get your head around when you sit inside it and survey the dashboard, and then when you drive it.

The higher price of the Tesla Model Y will also put some people off. But remember, once you’re in the Tesla the savings from lower maintenance and refuelling costs start to pay you back.

The Tesla Model Y RWD is therefore our winner. It’s not perfect but it works well. It’s a valid guide to our driving future some people are experiencing today.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.