Toyota’s 2016 RAV4 Hybrid Grows Appeal
“Until now, Toyota RAV4 sales have skewed towards female buyers,” said Bill Fay, Group VP and GM of Toyota. That was a surprise to me. However, he mentioned that they were trying to even out the score while growing the brand.
That just may happen with the introduction of the RAV4 Hybrid. While Toyota can boast sales of eight million hybrids; this is their first hybrid joining the small SUV market with competition including Honda CRV, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue.
Debuted in North America in 1995, RAV4 created a new segment of compact SUVs with more cargo room and optional four-wheel drive in a small vehicle that had great fuel economy and could fit into city parking spaces.
I remember my first ride in a RAV4 in NYC. A distinctive look with lots of spunk, this funky tyke just begged comments. My recent drive in the 2016 RAV4 hybrid in California takes the RAV4 up several notches. It not only will trump mpg quotients but also is a much sexier vehicle inside and out.
A more sensual cabin: New additions include LED illumination on the lower center console, a rear 12-volt power outlet, and a cup holder that holds tall mugs with handles. The plastic and harder materials were removed to add more soft-touch padding, updated ornamentation, and matte black and silver touches. The new gauge cluster integrates an available 4.2-inch multi-information display; a 7-inch touch-sensitive audio screen is available.
The Limited edition adds trimmed seats, dash, and door panels, an eight-way power driver seat with memory and lumbar adjustment, and two-stage heated front seats.
Under the skin: 2016 RAV4 Hybrid 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine joins with a small electric motor to deliver a combined 194 system horsepower and 206 lb.-ft. of total system torque. Both come equipped with an electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive system with standard AWD-I.
Control your fuel: The driver can select different operating modes to minimize fuel use. ECO mode optimizes throttle response and lowers air conditioning output; EV mode will run exclusively on the electric motor for up to 0.6 miles at speeds below 25 mph.
0-60 in 8.1 seconds: The RAV4 Hybrid promises EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined, with acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds (nearly one second quicker than its gasoline-powered siblings),
Safer than ever: The newest RAV4 will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense, an advanced safety package with automated pre-collision braking. Optional on the XLE and standard on the Limited, technologies include a pre-collision system (with forward collision warning and automatic emergency brake), lane departure alert, automatic high beams, pedestrian pre-collision system, and dynamic radar cruise control. XLE trim levels also feature a standard blind spot mirror, while the Limited trim level has standard blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
New tech: The available front and rear parking sonar-enhanced by a bird’s eye view camera with four cameras mounted on the front, the side mirrors, and rear of the vehicle to project a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings on the central 7-inch touch display.
Pricing: 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid comes in two trim levels, with a starting MSRP of $28,370 for the XLE and $33,610 for the Limited (plus $900 destination and delivery charges).
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by Holly Reich
HOLLY REICH is a regular contributor to AskPatty and has been writing about automotive and travel since 1982. She has reported on the automotive industry for television and radio broadcast stations including; Fox News, SPEED, Car TV and Autolab. Reich has also contributed to publications such as RIDES, Edmunds.com, kbb.com, Elite Traveler, automotiverhythms.com, The New York Daily News and The Washington Post. Holly is based in New York City.