Looking to cement its position as a global leader in hybrid cars, Toyota launched the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. For the 2016 model year, that means that seven out of Toyota’s 13 vehicles are offered with a hybrid powertrain. The introduction of the RAV4 Hybrid taps a surprisingly untouched market for a compact hybrid crossover. Small crossovers like the RAV4 are already efficient vehicles, so adding Toyota’s proven hybrid technology will give the RAV4 Hybrid an even bigger advantage at the pump.

Toyota has been discussing creating hybrid versions of all of its volume-selling models by 2020. We’ve already seen one SUV go that direction, with the Highlander Hybrid debuting in 2006, and now that trend will continue with the introduction of the 2016 Hybrid, which debuted at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

The big question with the launch of the RAV4 Hybrid is in regards to the hybrid marketplace as a whole. In 2014, hybrid sales fell by 8.8 percent and it hasn’t recovered yet. Only time will tell if Toyota’s gamble on the RAV4 Hybrid will pay off.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

  • 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    194 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    9 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    27500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

Unlike most entry-level hybrid vehicles, the RAV4 Hybrid actually looks better than the standard RAV4, thanks to a front-end styling that appears to have been inspired by the 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle. The entire face of the RAV4 Hyrbid is exclusive to this model, with smaller headlights and an edgier fascia. The key change at the rear of the RAV4 Hybrid is the clear-lensed taillights, and the rest of the changes focus on Toyota’s signature blue highlight on the corporate logos and a limited color palate: Super White, Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl and a new color Toyota simply calls, BLUE.

Interior

Major changes inside the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid are limited to the gauge cluster, but the bigger question that remains to be seen is how the hybrid components affect the RAV4’s passenger comfort or cargo ability. That being said, the RAV4 already offers a spacious rear seat and generous amounts of cargo space, so it would seem there’s a little wiggle room to accommodate the battery pack and such.

Drivetrain

Just like the standard version of the RAV4, the sole engine used for the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will be the 2.5-liter inline-four. Power output is not being announced at this time, but Toyota did say that the Hybrid powertrain will have more horsepower than the non-hybrid RAV4, which is rated at 176 horsepower. The engine mates to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT), and all RAV4 Hybrids will come standard with Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i). This system uses a separate motor located at the rear axle to instantly and automatically apply torque to the rear wheels when additional traction is required.

If this system sounds familiar, it’s because it is likely the same setup used in the Lexus NX 300h – Lexus’ newest crossover model based on the RAV4 platform. Although it’s hard to say if the RAV4 Hybrid will use the same hybrid system as the NX 300h, shared components would make sense. The Lexus NX 300h uses three motors total: one to start the engine and charge the battery, another to drive the front wheels and use for brake regeneration and the third, on all-wheel-drive models, to drive the rear wheels. Total power output is rated at 194 horsepower.

Since Toyota isn’t releasing fuel economy for the RAV4 Hybrid at this time, a quick look at the NX 300h’s spec sheet shows that it returns EPA estimates of 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for AWD models. As such, expect the RAV4 Hybrid’s numbers to be somewhere in this neighborhood.

Prices

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will only be available in the XLE and Limited trim levels, which start at $26,125 and $29,335, respectively, for the current 2015 RAV4 front-drive-models. Look for the hybrid system to add around $3,000 to the base price, giving the model a starting price of closer to $30,000.

Competition

Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 498557

The Crosstrek hybrid is the only legit competition the RAV4 will have in the 2016 model year, as there simply are not many hybrids in the compact SUV segment. The Crosstrek Hybrid is way down on power, as its 2.0-liter boxer engine and electric motor put out just 160 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque.

Across the board, the Crosstrek Hybrid should be able to go toe to toe with the RAV4 Hybrid. In fact, it may even have more premium features than the Toyota in its base model. However, Subaru has had build-quality issues in the past, resulting in random squeaks and rattles at low mileage.

In terms of pricing, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid is less than where I think the base RAV4 Hybrid will start from, at $25,995.

Read our full review of the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid here.

Ford C-Max

2013 Ford C-Max Exterior
- image 509484

Perhaps the only other non-Toyota in the compact, family friendly crossover(ish) market is the Ford C-Max. This don’t-call-me-a-minivan vehicle has more in common with the Toyota Prius v, but has a starting price of $24,170 – less than the price of a standard base model RAV4. Its lower and sleeker body also helps give the C-Max superior fuel economy over the RAV4 Hybrid as well, with EPA-rated estimates of 42 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. Despite these important advantages, the C-Max lacks the traditional crossover/SUV styling that continues to be popular, and it does not offer all-wheel drive.

Read our full review of the Ford C-Max here.

Conclusion

As EVs, fuel-cell vehicles and other zero-emission vehicle technologies gain in popularity, it is unknown how and where hybrid vehicles fit in to the automotive equation. For now, though, with hybrids still providing excellent efficiency bang for the buck, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will be another example of Toyota’s hybrid domination.

  • Leave it
    • * Future hybrid demand is uncertain
    • * Batteries may eat into the cargo area

Press Release

There’s a new hybrid in town, and it’s called RAV4. Toyota has been the overwhelming gas-electric hybrid sales leader in the U.S. since 2000. Now, 15 years after the first Prius was sold in the U.S., Toyota has unveiled its eighth hybrid offering as part of the refreshed 2016 RAV4.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
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Launching this fall, the RAV4 Hybrid will be targeted towards young adventure-seeking couples looking for a vehicle that provides utility, versatility, capability and excellent fuel efficiency.

Looks Great and Less Filling
Fewer fill-ups will become the norm with the addition of a new, fuel efficient RAV4 Hybrid. Higher MPG comes without sacrifice as the RAV4 Hybrid will deliver more horsepower and better acceleration than the conventional RAV4.

A no compromise vehicle, the RAV4 Hybrid will be offered in two premium grades: XLE and Limited. Both grades will be equipped with an Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i). Also available will be unique 17-inch alloy wheels and six exterior colors (Super White, Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl and a new BLUE).

Making the Grade(s) With Refreshed Styling and New Technologies
The conventional gas version RAV4 will come in four grades: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE. Together with the new Hybrid XLE and Limited, all 2016 RAV4 models will feature refreshed exterior styling, providing a sleeker, more dynamic appearance. It starts with a new, stronger looking front fascia with an available LED trifecta (Headlights, Daytime Running Lights and Hi-Lo Headlights). The new styling extends along the lower rocker panel to the rear bumper for a flowing visual appeal. A new rear bumper and lift gate with available LED taillights add a premium touch. Additional new exterior features include front and rear silver skid plate garnishes on most models and a standard shark fin antenna. An all-new wheel lineup and three new exterior paint colors (Silver Sky Metallic, Black Currant Metallic, and Electric Storm Blue) round out the exterior design.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- image 625291

Toyota listened to customer feedback and added more refinement and technology to the interior. New features include:

Improved interior quality with more premium materials
Available 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display in a revised gauge cluster
Available 7-inch touch-sensitive display audio touch screen
Leather steering wheel (excluding LE)
Updated interior shifter and window/lock control bezel material
Revised cup holder design to accommodate tall mugs with handles
New sunglasses holder
Additional USB added to front and one 12V power outlet added to rear
New interior colors (Tan, Beige and on SE a Tan/Black combination)
Soft touch material on upper door panel and lower dash

Additional convenience technologies include front and rear parking sonar, available Smart Key, and a Homelink® garage door opener (standard on Limited grade). The LE grade will have an available Scout cell phone based navigation system. All RAV4 XLE, SE and Limited models will come standard with SiriusXM All-Access Radio with a 3-month complimentary trial.

RAV4 will also offer a new Bird’s Eye View Monitor. This Toyota-first technology utilizes four cameras that are mounted on the front, side mirrors and rear of the vehicle to give the driver a panoramic view of their surroundings. The system offers drivers assistance when parallel parking, and when pulling in and out of parking spaces. The Bird’s Eye View Monitor system also has an industry-first feature called Perimeter Scan, that gives drivers a live rotating 360 degree view of what is around the vehicle, helping them see objects that could be in the way.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- image 625292

RAV4 SE: Sporty Looks, Spirited Driving
The new SE grade features a sport-tuned suspension, providing a more dynamic and responsive driving experience. The SE also adds premium convenience features and performance styling cues, inside and out. Additional equipment and sporty design cues unique to the SE include:

18-inch Alloy Wheels
LED Headlights and Taillights
SofTex Seats with power driver’s seat and contrast stitching (also on Limited)
Two interior colors (Black and Black/Tan)
Bumper and lower grille design
4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display with a meter cluster, twin dials, red illumination and red pointer
Distinctive interior with Black headliner and gunmetal finish
Paddle shifters

The SE will also include an S-Code paint design consisting of three available upper exterior colors (Super White, Black Sand Pearl, and Electric Storm Blue) mated to a Classic Silver Metallic on the lower trim of the vehicle.

Toyota Safety That Makes Sense
The 2016 RAV4 will be among the first U.S. models with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including:

Pre-Collision System
Forward Collision Warning
Lane Departure Alert
Automatic High Beams
Pedestrian Pre-Collision System
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

TSS will be standard on 2016 RAV4 Limited grades.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- image 625293

Small SUV Utility Plus Hybrid MPG Equals $avings
The RAV4 started the small SUV segment craze 20 years ago. Five years later, Toyota introduced hybrids to the U.S market, raising the bar for high MPG at an affordable price. Each has helped change the automotive landscape in the U.S. The arrival of the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid will be a natural fit for young buyers seeking the winning combination of affordable SUV utility and the high MPG of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

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