Yep, it finally happened – Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 have been released! It’s been a long way coming, and now that we finally have it. Let’s see what joys come along with it. I have to mention that the Japanese giant is the pioneer of crossover SUVs. That’s right, they practically created the segment back in 1996 with the introduction of the first ever edition of the RAV4. They hold a very strong grip on the market. They have been the dominant figure for the last 20 years. In the world of hybrids Toyota is also a recognized leader, with the legendary Prius and the Camry Hybrid sitting on top of year-end sales charts for God knows how long.
So, it was just a matter of time before the company merged the two highly successful entities into one giant hit – the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016. I have to admit, I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time now. I personally love the original car for its stylish looks, comfy interior and great handling. However, if you thought that the new hybrid is just another regular corporate release, I’m happy to say you’re wrong! It’s not just the most fuel-economical model in its class. It’s also the most fuel-efficient AWD hybrid car on the market – I mean the entire automobile industry.
The Greatest Small Crossover Hybrid On The Market
The highly efficient powertrain, borrowed from friendly Camry Hybrid and Lexus NX 300h, allows the brand-new RAV4 Hybrid to return 31 miles per gallon on the highway and 34MPG in the city (33MPG combined). That’s about 8MPG more than your standard RAV4. Surprisingly enough, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 goes from zero to 60MPH in 8.2 seconds, and that’s a second quicker than the non-hybrid edition. Still, it offers almost as much cargo capacity, so that’s really great news! From the get-go, Toyota announced that the Hybrid model will be a premium-class release, and so it’s only available in two trim levels – XLE and Premium. I’m not sure whether this is the right marketing move or not, but honestly, we don’t really have much choice, because the only other contestant in this field is Subaru’s Crosstrek Hybrid, which is slow as a turtle and not nearly as spacious and comfy in the interior. So, yeah, the Japanese picked just the perfect time to introduce the RAV4 Hybrid. Bravo, Toyota!
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 Drivetrain – Gas, Electric And CVT
Alright, now let’s check out what’s under the hood of this thing. Well, it’s quite a treat! And we’ve got the same 2.5-lit 4-cyl engine that comes with the regular RAV4 (175 Horsepower, 172 pound-feet of torque), plus two electric motors – front/rear – a (nickel-metal hydride) battery pack, and CVT (continuously variable transmission, pretty common among hybrids). All in all, the combination of the three components in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 puts out 194 HP. Normally, it’s a front-wheel drive. However, the car automatically kicks in the electrically-driven rear wheels whenever additional power is needed. 175HP and 172 lb-ft of torque might not seem much to someone who’s used to driving SUVs, trucks and/or sport cars, but for a day-to-day driving with your family in those back seats and your groceries in the trunk. The latest RAV4 is just the ideal vehicle. Come on, who needs to go from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds when you’re just out for a regular trip down the road to catch the latest Lakers game or watch your kids play basketball at school?
The Interior – Cozy, Spacious And Generous With Cargo
As for the exterior design, you won’t find any differences between the standard and hybrid editions, except for that small “Hybrid” symbol on the side. The two vehicles look identical and have some refreshments for 2016, including a reshaped front-end with a redesigned grille and new LED lights. On the inside you’ll find the same combination of soft surfaces and hard sliver plastic that’s getting kinda old. But, at the same time, looks and feels pretty good. The seats are very comfortable – front and rear. And there’s enough leg! And head-room not to feel cramped in the back! Material quality is OK (although leather upholstery is not available – only cloth or leatherette), and the cabin looks up-to-date and catchy. The pride and joy of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 (besides impressive fuel-efficiency, of course), is the generous cargo capacity. You’ll get 35.6 cubic feet, with the seats up; fold them down and you’ll get a total of 70.6 cubic feet – a class-leading number. The battery pack in the back does take up some of that cargo space. But I can’t really complain about that, because the standard edition offers 38.4 and 73.3 cubic feet respectively.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 – The Trim Levels
Ok, let’s talk a bit about the trim levels – XLE and Limited. The XLE is the standard-level trim and it comes packed with 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, dual-zone (automatic) climate control, a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface (the Entune), a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry, a 6-speaker sound-system, USB/Bluetooth connections, and more. The Limited trim offers 18-inch wheels, chrome exterior trim, synthetic leather upholstery, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, and a 7-inch touchscreen, along with other goodies. With the XLE you’ll have a choice between two packages – Entune Premium Audio (a bigger screen, Smartphone integration and navigation) and Convenience (all kinds of safety equipment and the Safety Sense system). Finally, the Limited trim is available with the final package – Advanced Technology – which adds a parking camera system and a superb 11-speaker JBL audio system.
When it comes to safety. The experts in the industry call the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 the leader of the class. And I’m not talking only about the niche of crossover hybrids – I mean the entire market of crossover SUVs. As a matter of fact, it might as well be the safest vehicle out there, period. It comes pre-equipped with stability/traction control, antilock brakes, full-length and front side airbags, a blind-spot mirror and a rearview camera. Blind-spot warning, along with rear cross-traffic alert is standard for the Limited trim and available on the XLE as optional tech. The Toyota Safety Sense package (again, standard for the Limited trim, optional for XLE) adds lane departure warning/intervention, forward collision warning mitigation with (automatic) emergency braking, and more.
Now, because the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 is fresh outta the oven. There are no official crash-test results available in the Internet. However, we do have details of the standard edition’s performance, and I’m guessing they will be identical for the hybrid. The gas-powered crossover SUV earned 5 out of 5 stars in the NHTSA overall crash protection and total side protection tests (4 out of 4 for total frontal protection) and the highest possible rating of “Good” in the independent IIHS’s crash tests. So, as you can see, safety is the number one priority for the RAV4. If you’re a family man who puts safety and reliability first, then I strongly recommend you consider this vehicle next time you find yourself in a dealership looking for a decent modern-day crossover SUV. Toyota is known for its superb safety and durability ratings. So, the 2016 RAV4 is just a part of that nice tradition.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 – The Absolute Leader
On the road the vehicle performs splendidly – you can forget about that poor experience with previous hybrids when you had to practically beg the car to push it up a steep hill. The experience behind the wheel is smooth and steady, and the “partnership” between the gas-powered 4-cylinder and the electric motors makes you feel like the king of the highway. I have to mention, that the added weight of the hybrid powertrain holds the RAV4 back a bit, especially when you try to fly into those edgy corners. On the other hand, in the daily routine, like in-city driving, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2016 delivers solid ride quality and packs a mean punch. And when it comes to comparing it to the other models, things get a bit weird, because there are none – quite literally 🙂
As I mentioned in the beginning Toyota’s timing is perfect and to roll out a well-trusted and wildly popular small crossover hybrid SUV when the market is in a desperate need of one means commercial success 101. I personally predict the latest RAV4 to score big in the year-end sales and become yet another amazing model in Toyota’s line-up. And that concludes my review! As always, if you’ve got some questions, feel free to write in the comments.
See the video: 2016 Toyota RAV4 / Hybrid First Test Drive.