Toyota’s RAV4 is one of the heavy-hitters in the automobile industry, has been like that since the early days, when crossover SUVs weren’t even a thing. Today this model is considered to be the leader of the class and over the years the team behind it managed to turn it into a true masterpiece. It’s all-around amazing – roomy, comfortable, versatile, flexible, has a spacious trunk, feels great on the road, offers all kinds of technological features and safety equipment options. Plus, it’s one of the most reliable vehicles in the world. As for the Toyota RAV4 2016, the company decided it’s time for some new developments. So with the latest edition we get an updated styling, a brand-new SE trim that offers precise handling, fancy LED headlights, as well as several unique styling touches to the exterior and interior. Pretty much like with Toyota’s Sienna and Camry, this trim comes with a fine-tuned suspension and an overall sporty attitude.
Sharp Angles, One Cupholder And No Leather
On the safety front, the SE and Limited editions are now available with the Safety Sense package, which adds all kinds of safety features and tech. On the exterior the SUV has only subtle changes. However the front-end has been significantly redesigned with a modernized grille and streamlined styling. As for the interior, the Toyota RAV4 2016 boasts sharp angles and lines that give the cabin an up-to-date look and keep it cool. Material quality and finishing is good. However, don’t expect anything but cloth/leatherette. Yep, no leather upholstery – only synthetic leather from SofTex for the SE. That’s a bit odd, if you ask me, as top-notch materials have always been one of Toyota’s strongest suits. In addition, the audio/climate controls are a bit wacky, so to speak, and even though the cupholder is a nice touch. The rivaling Honda CR-V offers something a lot more appealing.
Toyota RAV4 2016 Interior – Roomy, Comfy And With Tons Of Cargo Space
Alright, moving on: the great thing about the interior is that it’s pretty spacious. Even the tallest folks will feel comfortable on those back seats, with plenty of leg- and head-room to enjoy. The cargo area is roomy, boxy and well-designed, with a low load-floor that makes it one of the best crossover SUVs on the market right now. The cargo capacity of the Toyota RAV4 2016 measures 38.4 cubic feet with the 2nd row seats up. If you go ahead and fold them down, you’ll get solid 73.3 cubes to your disposal, which is more than enough to load the car with food for days and/or camping/fishing equipment. And that flat load door, along with low load-in height makes it that much easier to load heavy cargo. Plus, your family dog will be super happy with the layout, because it can jump right into the trunk without having to squeeze in. Hands down, the spacious and cozy interior, along with that generous cargo capacity are the two major selling points of the Toyota crossover SUV. So, if you’re a fan of space and comfort, then this is your perfect pick.
When it comes to the powertrain, the Toyota RAV4 2016 doesn’t really make you drop your jaw. It’s all pretty standard. The car comes packed with only one engine, and it’s a 2.5-lit 4-cyl unit that’s good for 175 Horses and 172 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and FWD (front-wheel drive) is standard, while AWD (all-wheel drive) is also available. It takes 9.2 seconds for the latest RAV4 to go from 0 to 60MPH, which is an average result for a small crossover. The models with FWD return 30 miles per gallon on the highway and 23MPG in the city (26MPG combined), while the AWD-packed versions return 29 hwy/22 city (25MPG combined). It’s a bit sad that the 2016 edition can’t offer anything more than just a mediocre 4-cylinder. But it’s safe to say that the engine does a pretty great job on the road and never backs down. The 6-speed automatic shifts smoothly. Although it’s a bit slow on downshifts. On the highways the Toyota RAV4 2016 feels really awesome with a refined and steady ride around those narrow city turns. And if you go with the SE trim, the handling quality will be ever better.
Toyota RAV4 2016 – Four Trim Levels To Choose From
What about the trim levels? Well, the latest RAV4 offers a choice between 4 different trims, including LE, XLE, SE and Limited. There’s plenty to choose from and even the standard-level LE comes packed with tons of features and equipment, such as air-conditioning, a 6.1-inch touch-screen interface – the Entune -a rearview camera, a 6-speaker sound-system, USB/Bluetooth connections, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and more. The available Entune Audio Plus package adds High-Def and satellite radio, traffic/weather info and a couple of integration apps for your phone/iPhone. The XLE trim includes everything from the standard trim (with the Entune package) and offers 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone (automatic) climate control, heated mirrors, foglights, and a leather-wrapped wheel.
Going Up The Trim Ladder
If you go with the Toyota RAV4 2016 SE, you’ll get the aforementioned sporty suspension and different styling options. Plus 18-inch (alloy) wheels, automatic running, head- and tail-lights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and keyless ignition/entry. The ultimate trim – Limited – includes everything from the previous editions and features adaptive cruise control, navigation, and a 7-inch touch-screen, along with the Safety Sense package (forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and high-beam headlight control, quite a pack). Optional for the XLE/SE trims is the Entune Premium Audio package which adds a lot of techy features and equipment. And finally, the SE and Limited editions can be packed with a 11-speaker JBL system and yet another package – Advanced Technology – that includes front/rear parking sensors, a parking camera system, and more.
The Safest Small Crossover SUV On The Market
Speaking of safety, I gotta point out that the Toyota RAV4 2016 is one of the safest models on the market, and even the LE comes with stability/traction control, front-side/full-length airbags and antilock brakes. In the government NHTSA crash-tests the crossover earned 5 starts out of 5 for overall crash protection, along with 5 stars for total side protection and 4 for total frontal. The independent IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) gave the Toyota SUV the ultimate rating of “Good” in pretty much every category, including the small- and moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash tests, as well as for the performance of its head restraints and seats. So, it’s safe to say that safety in the RAV4 is superb – see what I did there?
The Competition – Fiercer Than Ever
Alright, let’s talk a bit about the competition, because the RAV4 isn’t the only great model in the segment. Take the Honda CR-V, for example, it has been around for almost as long as Toyota’s crossover. But it’s actually claimed by many to be an even greater offer, because while it’s as roomy and dependable. It’s better in terms of versatility, tech savvy and plus. You’ll squeeze better miles per gallon with it. Subaru’s Forester boasts an edgy design and class-leading acceleration with the available turbocharged engine. Not that the 0-to-60MPH jump is in any way a defining element of a family-oriented small crossover SUV, but there you have it. The next big contestant – Mazda CX-5 – is a bit behind the pack, but it’s superb on the road and offers a more joyful experience behind the wheel and on those back seats.
Toyota RAV4 2016 – The Most Popular Model In The Segment
And where does the Toyota RAV4 2016 stand in all this? Well, it’s a flawless model, a mighty fighter. Folks don’t name a certain car their favorite just because of a good marketing plan. The RAV4 is by far the most popular one in the segment. True, Honda’s CR-V is getting dangerously close to taking the crown. But it’s not there yet, and with the upcoming 2017 release Toyota might just surprise us all with something entirely different. Furthermore, with a starting price of 26K MSRP the 2016 RAV4 is a pretty affordable pick that will last for at least 10 years and serve you and your family with dignity and honor. It’s technologically advanced, comfortable, economical, reliable, super-safe, good-looking and enjoyable to ride in. What else could you possibly want from a crossover SUV, right? Hit me back in the comments if you disagree. So that we can start a discussion!
Watch now this video: 2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Review from David.