Toyota Yaris Cross driving

Toyota SUV models – a buyer's guide

What’s the difference between Toyota's SUV models and which one is right for you? Here’s our guide to the Toyota SUV range.

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Updated: 8 February 2024

As one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, Toyota builds lots of different cars and if you’re looking for a modern used Toyota SUV model there are six that you can choose from. In order from small to large they are the Yaris Cross, the C-HR, the RAV4, the bZ4X, the Highlander and the Land Cruiser.

Each has their pros and cons – here's our definitive guide to the Toyota SUV model range.

What’s the smallest SUV model that Toyota makes?

The smallest Toyota SUV model is the Toyota Yaris Cross, which is essentially a raised-up version of the Yaris hatchback. At 418cm long and 176.5cm wide, it’s not much bigger than a city car, but it’s taller to give extra interior space. Not much bigger though is the Toyota C-HR, which is rather sporty and stylish – the name stands for ‘coupe-high rider’, and that’s reflected in its coupe-like styling. It has slightly less space inside than you find in the Yaris Cross.

You could also consider the tiny Aygo X city car, which isn’t quite a proper SUV, but with its raised ride height and chunky styling, it certainly gives a decent impression of one.

Toyota Yaris Cross

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What is the largest SUV model that Toyota makes?

The largest Toyota SUV model that you'll find for sale in the UK is the Highlander. It's a large seven-seater that's almost five metres long. The Land Cruiser is a more common sight – it's only a fraction shorter than the Highlander and it's a lot taller.

Toyota Highlander

Are there any hybrid or electric Toyota SUV models?

Most Toyota SUV models are available as hybrids. The C-HR, the Yaris Cross, the RAV4, and the Highlander all come with full-hybrid power (which Toyota calls self-charging hybrid), and the RAV4 is also available as a plug-in hybrid.

The Toyota BZ4X is the brand's only pure-electric car (as of early 2024). It’s slightly longer but lower than a RAV4, and promises an official range of more than 300 miles from a fully charged battery.

Which Toyota SUV models have seven seats?

The Toyota SUV models that have seven seats are the Highlander and the Land Cruiser. The Highlander is designed for on-road use only and is powered by an efficient hybrid system. It has loads of space inside, including a big boot and plenty of practical storage areas. Passengers will have lots of room too – you can even squeeze adults into the third row of seats.

The Land Cruiser, with its excellent off-road skills, is certainly the better option if you need to go off the beaten track but it’s not as cavernous and practical as the Highlander. It feels more rugged, in both a good and bad way – for family use, it won’t feel as luxurious as the Highlander, but it’s more affordable and has excellent towing capabilities.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Which Toyota SUV model has the biggest boot?

The Toyota SUV model with the biggest boot is the Highlander. With its third row of seats in place, the boot is a reasonable 322 litres in size – about the same as the boot in a small hatchback. Fold down those rear-most seats and the boot increases to an enormous 658 litres of space, comparable to that in the biggest estate cars. Fold down the second-row seats as well and the load space increases to a van-like 1,909 litres. The Land Cruiser isn’t far behind, with 620 litres of space in five-seat mode and 1,943 litres with the back seats folded down. 

The next largest boot belongs to the five-seat RAV4, which has 580 litres of space, or 1,690 if you fold down the back seats. And then there’s the Hilux pickup truck, which doesn’t have a boot per se, but does give you lots of room in its load bed.

Toyota Highlander

Do all Toyota SUV models have four-wheel drive?

The most off-road-focused Toyota SUV model – the Land Cruiser – comes with an advanced four-wheel-drive systems as standard. The Highlander has what Toyota calls Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which isn’t as sophisticated as the off-road setups in the Land Cruiser, but can give you more grip on slippery surfaces.

The RAV4 comes with a choice of front-wheel or four-wheel drive, as does the electric bZ4X.

Are Toyota SUV models good off-road?

Most Toyota SUV models are designed for on-road use, but if you do need to hit the trails or clamber over unforgiving terrain, then the Land Cruiser is the model to go for. It has  four-wheel drive, a low-ratio gearbox and a lockable differential – tech that makes it a far more capable off-roader than most of the competition.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Are there any sporty Toyota SUV models available?

Unlike some manufacturers that offer performance-focused versions of their SUVs, there aren't any sporty Toyota SUV models as such. While the company as a whole does make sporty performance cars that have ‘Gazoo Racing’ or ‘GR’ branding, these are hatchbacks or coupe models.

Which Toyota SUV model is the best?

As with just about every car, there’s no single ‘best’ Toyota SUV model. Which one is best for you depends on your needs and priorities. Some models, such as the Land Cruiser, will be ideal if you want to go off-road or have a big family, but not such a good fit if you’re after the best fuel economy or drive mainly on tight urban roads. This guide will help you figure out which model best suits your requirements.

Toyota Yaris Cross

Toyota SUV models in summary

Toyota Yaris Cross

The Toyota Yaris Cross is the smallest SUV in the Toyota range. Based on the Yaris city car, the Yaris Cross is a small SUV with hybrid power. It should give you great fuel efficiency, space for five people and a high driving position without the need for a larger car.

Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR is a compact SUV that mixes coupe-like style with sporty handling. It looks sharp and drives really well and with hybrid power, fuel costs should be low.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 was one of the first modern SUVs and the name continues in this new, hybrid-powered family car. With a big boot and excellent fuel efficiency, it’s available as a full hybrid or as a plug-in hybrid for emission-free trips around town on electric power.

Toyota bZ4X

The Toyota bz4X is Toyota’s first pure-electric SUV. It's about the same size as the RAV4 and will seat five, with a big boot to carry plenty of stuff. Front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models are available, and Toyota promises a battery range of up to 318 miles on a full charge.

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a big, traditional 4X4, with space for up to seven people and a sophisticated and very capable off-road system. It can tow up to three tonnes and is as comfortable on rocky terrain and in muddy fields as it is on the road.

Toyota Highlander

Toyota’s biggest SUV is a seven-seater with a huge boot, making it immensely practical. With a hybrid system and four-wheel drive, it can go off-road as well as on, and it’s a great tow car.

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