A longtime staple of the compact crossover class, the RAV4 continues to rack up sales with its sheer practicality and sterling reliability record. Like other successful Toyota models, the RAV4 delivers exactly what the majority of buyers want in its segment.
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2016 Toyota RAV4 Overview
What's New for 2016
All models receive updated front-end styling this year. A new Safety Sense package offers a host of high-tech safety features. The sporty SE trim level debuts.
Choosing Your Toyota RAV4
RAV4 once again shines on the inside with legitimate room for five passengers and 38.4 cubic feet of cargo. With the rear seat folded, you're looking at 73.3 cubic feet of virtually flat load space, a figure that's unsurpassed in this class.
All models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 176 horsepower, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. As expected, the RAV4 is a front-driver with all-wheel drive optional. You can expect about 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving, or 25 mpg with all-wheel drive. (The new hybrid model is reviewed separately.)
The RAV4 now comes in four trim levels:
All-wheel drive adds only $1,400 to the price of any RAV4, so it's a smart choice even if you don't live in the snowbelt. The most compelling reason for upgrading to the SE or Limited is the sportier suspension, which makes the RAV4 much more satisfying to drive in our view. We should point out that genuine leather upholstery isn't available at any price, which could be a deal killer for some.
2016 Toyota RAV4 Review
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 receives an update for the new model year featuring a restyled front fascia with LED headlights, transformed interior styling elements, active safety features added to the list of options, a new SE trim with reworked suspension for better handling, and the RAV4 Hybrid trim.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 now has a total of six different trim levels when the Hybrid trims are grouped into the mix. Starting with the base LE trim, the Toyota RAV4 starts at a price of $24,350. Moving to the XLE pricing starts at $26,270. The XLE Hybrid trim is slotted as the next level starting at $28,370. The SE trim starts at $29,265, Limited at $31,510, and the Limited Hybrid starts at $33,610. Each trim has the availability of an all-wheel-drive system.
Through smart equipment packaging, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 trim levels have a limited amount of available options. Though, opting for our favorite trim, the Toyota RAV4 Limited, there are several desirable creature comforts and amenities that come standard, such as: 8-way power driver’s seat with memory settings; dual-zone automatic climate control; power rear liftgate with height adjustment and jam protection; 18-inch alloy wheels; moonroof; navigation; an array of safety assists; and push-button start.
Many of the bundled features that come as standard equipment on the top Limited trim may be added as options or option packages on lower trims, such as the XLE and XLE Hybrid.
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 carries over its only engine (except for hybrid trims): a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 176 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, or all four through an optional all-wheel drive system.
- Respectable and consistent fuel economy in the front-wheel-drive RAV4 getting 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
- Availability of an all-wheel drive system on all trim levels, which permits light off-roading duties.
- Decent handling traits in the SE trim with its exclusive sport-tuned suspension.
- Uninspiring acceleration and pulling power with a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds.
- Transmission hunts for gears when going up steep grades.
- Somewhat jumpy ride quality with 18-inch wheels on SE and Limited trims.
- Modern and mostly refined look to dashboard through clever use of plastics.
- Entune 7-inch infotainment touchscreen is straightforward and user-friendly for most operations.
- Spacious cargo capacity for its class.
- No availability of leather upholstery.
- Audio and climate control knobs feel flimsy.
- Scarce amount of storage compartments.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The generous cargo capacity combined with a power rear liftgate and a low, flat loading floor when the rear seats are folded make the Toyota RAV4 exceptionally versatile and convenient when it comes to hauling items, big and small.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The overall performance of the Toyota RAV4 falls short of much of its competition with uninspiring handling traits, sluggish acceleration, and only average fuel economy results.
The Bottom Line
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 excels at offering a versatile compact crossover package that shines brightly for its likely reliability, large cargo capacity, and reasonable base pricing with the availability of several amenities and active safety features.
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