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2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - January 6, 2016

Toyota’s reputation as a leader in alternative-fuel vehicles goes back a long way, including more than the hybrids for which the company is so well-known. During the late 1990s, the company began to issue battery-powered versions of its compact RAV4 crossover, initially to fleet buyers. Production lasted until 2003. For 2016, the RAV4 has gained a variant with a hybrid powertrain. It’s Toyota’s eighth battery/gasoline model, promising quicker throttle response as well as greater gas mileage.

What's New for 2016

Gasoline-powered RAV4s have been around for almost two decades, but the RAV4 Hybrid is a brand-new model for 2016. New features includes LED illumination on the center console, a 12-volt power outlet in the rear, and a cupholder that holds tall mugs with handles. RAV4 is among the first U.S. models to offer a Toyota Safety Sense package. Standard on the Limited edition, it includes automated pre-collision braking, forward collision warning, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The Limited also features a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Choosing Your Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with a small, high-torque electric motor. The gas engine develops 112 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. Total system output is 194 horsepower, driving a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Acceleration to 60 mph takes 8.1 seconds, which is nearly one second quicker than a gasoline-engine RAV4. To enhance all-weather capability, an on-demand all-wheel-drive system is standard on all RAV4 Hybrids. A second electric motor drives the back wheels when needed to help maintain traction.

Drivers can select Eco mode for maximum fuel economy, or EV mode to travel up to 0.6 miles on battery power alone (below about 25 mph). Indicators on the 4.2-inch screen give advice on driving the Hybrid as economically as possible. Fuel economy is estimated at 34 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway (33 mpg combined).

Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 35.6 cubic feet, growing to 70.6 cubic feet with the back seat folded. Towing capacity is 1,750 pounds.

Two Hybrid trim levels are offered:


Starting at $28,370 (plus destination charge), the entry-level version includes a sunroof, power liftgate, privacy glass, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, and cloth upholstery. Also included are foglamps, a 4.2-inch display screen, tilt/telescopic steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls, pushbutton start, 60/40-split reclining rear seat, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Heated power mirrors incorporate turn-signal indicators and a blind-spot mirror. Entune six-speaker audio with cellphone-based navigation is standard.


Priced $5,240 higher than XLE, the Limited adds SofTec-trimmed seats, heated front seats, driver’s seat memory, a leather-trimmed shift lever, satellite radio, and the Total Safety Sense group. Superchrome 18-inch alloy wheels and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert also are included on the Limited, along with LED headlights, taillamps, and daytime running lights. Premium audio includes an integrated navigation and app suite. An auto-dimming inside mirror includes a HomeLink garage door opener. Premium JBL 11-speaker audio is optional.

Front/rear parking assist is available, including the new Bird's Eye View camera system with perimeter scan, for a 360-degree view around the vehicle.

CarsDirect Tip

Fuel economy is clearly the principal reason for selecting the new Hybrid rather than a conventional gas-engine RAV4, along with a moderate increase in performance. Gas mileage on a comparable regular RAV4 is estimated at 22/29 mpg (city/highway). The Limited adds some tempting features, but the price differential over an XLE is substantial.

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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