By on March 1, 2016

2016 Totota RAV4 Hybrid Exterior-003

A few short weeks ago, I was inside a very purple 2016 RAV4 marveling that Toyota’s compact crossover nearly outsells the Mazda brand. My bottom line for that RAV4 read like this:

Why are the RAV4’s sales so high when there are more fun options out there? The reasons can be found in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists often complain, included scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to light many souls on fire, but it gives the average CUV shopper more of what they obviously want.

Except fuel economy or performance.

That’s where the first full-hybrid compact crossover since Ford abandoned the Escape Hybrid five years ago comes in.

What about the Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid, you ask? It’s more of a mild hybrid in truth, delivering meager fuel economy gains and a low-speed EV mode that rarely engages. It’s also a lifted subcompact wagon/hatch, not a compact crossover.

Because we recently posted a review of the gasoline-only RAV4, I’m not going to re-cover existing ground. Click on over to the 2016 RAV4 review for the basics and then come on back for the hybrid low-down.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Engine-001

Powertrain
Toyota took a mix-and-match approach when developing the hybrid system for their compact Toyota and Lexus crossovers. They used the engine and transaxle from the Camry hybrid, the electric rear axle from the mid-sized RX hybrid and created a unique battery pack that fits the rear seat. The battery does reduce the CUV’s cargo capacity by three cubic feet, but the 35.6 remaining cubes are still 30-percent larger than the segment average.

The heart of the system is a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, good for 150 horsepower and 152 pounds-feet of torque. The front-wheel-drive transaxle employs a single planetary gearset and two motor/generators to bump power to 194 hp and 206 lbs-ft of torque.

While Lexus offers the NX hybrid with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, four-wheel motivation is the only option for the RAV4 hybrid. The electric rear axle is rated at 67 hp and an undisclosed amount of torque, but does not alter the 194 horsepower system total. If the full 67 hp is required out back, the first 44 are supplied by the 1.6 kWh nickel-hydride battery pack and the balance comes from the motor/generator units under the hood, but the total remains 194.

Despite curb weight nearing the two-ton mark, fuel economy easily tops the American compact crossover segment at 34/31/33 mpg (city/highway/combined).

2016 Toyota RAV4 Interior-002

Drive
The choice of hybrid system is rooted in a desire for parts commonality with other Toyota and Lexus models — and the result is something of a crossover unicorn. If Toyota had opted for a Prius-based system, fuel economy would likely have been fantastic but performance could have been on the painful end of slow.

Using the mid-size/full-size sedan system gives the RAV4 hybrid near class-leading 0-60 mile-per-hour performance at 7.1 seconds. That’s just a hair behind a 2.0-liter turbo Ford Escape or Kia Sportage. At the same time, it gets the best fuel economy in the segment, besting the EPA combined score by 1 mpg in our tests. That’s a 50-percent improvement over the gasoline model and even a bump over the efficient, but painfully slow, 2.0-liter Mazda CX-5.

Enter a corner and the difference between the hybrid and non-hybrid RAV4 is smaller than that of the Camry and Camry hybrid. The two main reasons for this are tires and weight balance. Toyota doesn’t swap out the Limited’s 235/55 R18 tires for low rolling resistance rubber, and the location of the battery shifts weight to the rear.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Interior

For reasons not fully explained, the hybrid is actually an inch higher off the ground than the non-hybrid. Although the basic suspension design is common, the hybrid’s springs have been tweaked to handle the extra weight, different weight balance and increased height, resulting in a slightly less polished ride. Small road imperfections are transmitted more readily into the cabin than the last RAV4 we tested. If you’d like something plusher, opt for the XLE — it wears 225/65 R17 tires that gives it a bit more cushioning.

So what will Toyota’s miracle drivetrain cost you? A surprisingly reasonable $700 over a comparable XLE or Limited with AWD ($2,100 more than a front-wheel-drive model). That means that an AWD RAV4 hybrid is about the same price as a comparably equipped front wheel drive Honda CR-V while delivering more performance, more traction and superior fuel economy. The hybrid is also only a hair more expensive than a 1.6-liter Ford Escape or 1.6-liter Hyundai Tucson.

So the RAV4 hybrid is faster and more efficient than the regular RAV4, doesn’t compromise cargo room or delete the spare tire and lists for a reasonable price. What’s the catch? Depending on your needs, the AWD system could be a problem.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Interior-006

The non-hybrid RAV4 can send nearly 100 percent of engine oomph to the rear under certain conditions thanks to a fully-locking center coupling that can be manually controlled under 25 mph. The hybrid, on the other hand, has a theoretical maximum power split of 65/35 (front/rear) and the “seat of the pants” feel is more like 80/20 because of the way the system operates. Because there is no mechanical connection between front and rear it doesn’t eliminate torque steer the way a “regular” AWD system can.

The hard thing to get used to is how it acts on snow, ice or mud. When the computer engages the electric motor in the rear, the front wheels and rear wheels aren’t necessarily spinning in sync. Logical, since there is no mechanical connection. Unlike a traditional AWD system, braking the free-spinning front wheel has no impact on how much power goes to the rear. This means you have to resist the urge to back off the throttle if what you really need is more shove out back.

2016 Totota RAV4 Hybrid Exterior-008

Despite the differing feel, the RAV4 Hybrid’s AWD system is more than capable of allowing you to bypass those pesky snow chain checkpoints on your way to Tahoe. The hybrid model is not as capable as the non-hybrid RAV4 AWD, but it’s eminently more capable than a two-wheel drive vehicle and is all that 99 percent of crossover shoppers will ever need.

Starting at $28,370, the hybrid is obviously not the bargain entry in the compact crossover segment. However, when you consider that you’d need to get a Subaru Forester XT or Ford Escape 2.0-liter Ecoboost to reach highway speed faster, the deal looks better and better. The XLE Hybrid is just $1,000 more than the least expensive AWD 2.0-liter Ecoboost Ford Escape despite having more equipment, and it’s actually $900 less than the Forester turbo.

If you’re wondering at this point why the non-hybrid XLE and Limited exist … so do I. The non-hybrid RAV4 has middling performance and disappointing fuel economy. The hybrid, on the other hand, leads in both areas while still delivering a huge cargo area and reasonable sticker price. Oddly enough, due to the design of Toyota’s hybrid system, it’s also likely to best the regular RAV4 when it comes to the one feature Toyota buyers cite the most: reliability.

If you’re shopping for a RAV4 XLE or Limited, pay the $700; you won’t be sorry.

Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review. 

Specifications as tested

0-30 mph: 2.7 seconds

0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds

1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 88 mph

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68 Comments on “2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review – The Crossover Unicorn...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    I would never have considered a RAV4 over a CR-V, Escape or CX-5. But for an extra $700, the hybrid looks like a better buy for most CUV buyers.

    Insightful review!

    • 0 avatar
      SlantSix

      It may still be a good buy, but I would expect the difference in the selling price of the hybrid and gas model to exceed the difference in the MSRP between the two models. Perhaps this will change as the hybrid’s “newness” factor dissolves, but I doubt there are many deals to be had on these.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I doubt there will be a greater difference in actual transaction prices at this point in time due to the current price of gas. For example there used to be a time when the ads for the huge discount on the Camry always had the disclaimer that Hybrid models were excluded and that is no longer the case. Also the fact that the RAV4 is currently Toyota’s most profitable and in demand vehicle means I don’t expect any significant discounts on the regular gas version.

  • avatar
    NN

    Say hello to the new bestselling car in America before long…and well deserved on Toyota’s part.

  • avatar

    Pretty amazing that a car that weighs 1000 pounds more than my 2003 Ford Escape can get 10 more mpg, with the same HP/Torque. Nicely done, Toyota. Now I’ll just wait 10 years till it depreciates to my level:)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You won’t want it by then, because it’s going to look horribly outdated. There’s a reason the 01 CRV still looks good – and it’s because it doesn’t have shocking design elements like this does.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “resulting in a slightly less polished ride.”

    So the Hybrid version rides even MORE like crap than the regular one. Yuck.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The 2016 Rav4s ride differently than the pre-refreshed 4th generation models. As per Alex’s last review, buyers complained that the original 4th gen vehicles rode too rough, so they changed it… Unless you’ve driven the refreshed Rav.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nope have not driven or ridden in a refresh model.

      • 0 avatar
        tabaplar

        The overly stiff ride was a primary reason that I steered a family member away from the RAV4 and toward a Subaru Forester last year (she had it narrowed down to two). Wish we had known about the ride change….ironically the new Forester has a surprisingly stiff ride, much stiffer than the previous generation. Oh well, the Forester is a good car, and she’s generally happy.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    My gut reaction wasn’t kind when I first heard of the RAV4 hybrid, but this review suggests it was executed very well. That combination of acceleration and fuel economy is quite good and very advantageous in this segment, without many downsides, while the Camry hybrid never seemed worth the premium to me.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Camry Hybrid won’t punch you in the kidneys every time you run over an acorn or a soft taco like this does. Seriously, drive one. It’s terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Family member has a Limited Rav4. It’s harsher than I like but our roads aren’t the surface of the moon here either. Alex stated the XLE rides better, with more tire sidewall and possibly a different suspension tune this year, and I’ve seen this stated in other reviews. I haven’t been in one of those, so I can’t give personal experience.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I was under the impression the ride has been addressed for ’16. Have you driven one Corey? We discussed at length the failings of the 13-15 Rav4s on here last time.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I figure if you’re driving over soft tacos there are bigger problems to deal with than your suspension.

        Like why the road is covered in tacos.

  • avatar
    rdclark

    “What about the Subaru XV Crosstrek hybrid… It’s also a lifted subcompact wagon/hatch, not a compact crossover.”

    No, it’s a lifted Impreza wagon, which is definitely not a subcompact. Are the Mazda3 hatch or the Ford Focus hatch subcompacts? They are the same size as the Crosstrek.

    This delusion that the Crosstrek is a subcompact is a fabrication of the automotive press that need to die.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Vehicles like this are why I don’t see EVs ever going mainstream unless we enter the Mad Max universe.

    This is a reliable, AWD, $30K crossover that gets 33MPG. It checks just about every box for the average consumer. And, it isn’t even a new powertrain.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Doctor

      I’m wondering if this will be one of the vehicles that kicks off electric AWD on more vehicles? Slightly less complexity than comparable Haldex or Torsen systems and it can be tied into a series hybrid system.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Indeed, this does seem like a great value compared to the competition.

    I must say though, after looking at the close-up picture of the front quarter panel, I am disappointed with the level of orange peel and paint finish. It almost looks like a quick repaint from a collision shop.

  • avatar
    whynot

    “If you’re wondering at this point why the non-hybrid XLE and Limited exist … so do I.”

    Probably cannot produce enough batteries and other hybrid components to meet full XLE/Limited trim level demand.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m no hybrid hater by any means, but I’d gladly buy the regular gas version of this Rav4, specifically for the better performing AWD system and bump in cargo capacity. Long term, I just like the familiarity and simplicity of just having a regular gas motor and transmission to take care of.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You are far from target customer, senor!

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          My fiancé might actually be the perfect target audience for this Hybrid RAV variant. She says her dream car is a Highlander Hybrid, she always notices the 2nd gen ones (08-13) on the road. She would get her hybrid-badged SUV at a lower price point with this. As long as the ride were decent I’m sure she’d love it.

          We’ll always have the ol’ 4Runner for offroad adventures when we go camping and hiking, so actual AWD system layout/performance doesn’t bother me as much then. In fact the mud we found ourselves in two weekends ago could probably have been conquered by even a lowly Rav/CRV type crossover, just with a lesser degree of confidence. That’s the big distinction honestly, most of the time where I go a well piloted AWD crossover thing could make it through, but it would not be enjoyable for the driver, way too much “oh sh*t” factor with little margin for error. In a proper 4wd with good clearance it’s just a fun romp around some trails with no/minimal risk of vehicle damage.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’d have her check out the Highlander first, probably. There’s just a lot more space in there. My parents just got a used 11 couple weeks ago. The ride quality is decent, and legroom in the first and second rows is impressive. Haven’t sat in the third row yet.

            My parents got a base SE AWD with cloth and no nothing extra – not impressive on that front. Grey plastic trims on the dash.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            yep 2011 is right about the nadir of Toyota’s interiors.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think they paid a bit too much for such a base model.

            The dealer gave them $8500 for the 08 or 09 mid-level Pathfinder with ~80k on it, which is probably fair. It needed suspension work. They also had to give $10,500 for the rest of the price.

            $19k for an ’11 base Highlander with 55k (I think) miles?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Not a terrible deal actually IMO, despite the cheap-ed out interiors, those are rock solid cars. Much moreso than that generation of Pathfinder IMO. I test drove a 2012 “Silver Edition” Pathfinder this past fall when I became desperate looking around for a more budget friendly alternative to a new 4Runner. Really pretty awful interior and needlessly cramped, I couldn’t find a seating position where my knees weren’t too close to the dash or else it was too far of a stretch to the steering wheel.

            Having said that, they’re still a strong value proposition in terms of the hardware/capability that you get for the money, if capability is what you need. For simple people hauling duty, the Highlander blows it out of the water.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I never liked their Pathfinder, and I TOLD THEM not to get it. They were replacing a gen 1 Highlander, and I knew my mom would end up hating it. It was just too agricultural in all regards. And, it had A/T tires which my dad never replaced. So it was just unbearable on long rides. It’s never smooth anyway, and the VQ40 is always making a damn racket.

            The interior on that thing was trumped by even a 90s Montero I drove once for build quality.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            RE 90s Montero interior

            I mean that’s honestly a pretty high bar, this was peak Japanese interior quality, the 01-06 gen 3 was actually a step down in terms of materials. But yeah the pathfinder falls rather short. If I’m driving a pathfinder, make it a WD21 first gen, or in second place a R50 truck with a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        So you would rather have something less reliable and more complex because that is what you are familiar with? Fact is that the Toyota and Ford eCVTs are extremely reliable, durable and much less complex than a traditional planetary automatic, even a lowly 4sp unit. The electric motor for the rear drive is also much less complex and more durable than any transfer case system.

        For a $700 premium I can not see why anyone would choose the standard gas model. You could recoup that cost in as little as 2 years even with gas prices around $1.50 if you drive the average 15k miles per year.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Oh I’m well aware of how fewer parts Toyota’s HSD system uses, it is really rather brilliant in its simplicity. However there are many components to the system that I am not used to seeing/working on, so for that very reason I prefer the regular gas motor/auto transmission option. The Aisin 6spd auto and Toyota’s 2.5L NA 4cyl are hardly drivetrains to shy away from for reliability concerns.

          And again, I’ve seen how sad and helpless hybrid AWD vehicles can be in the snow, the electronic nannies are very serious about protecting the traction motor against any sort of torque shock. The regular AWD model’s inclusion of a viscous coupling lock makes it particularly attractive to me, losing that in the hybrid variant is just not worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The nannies are just being typical nannies and protecting the driver from themselves, there is not need to protect the rear traction motor from torque shock and it is far more robust than the typical mechanical connections used in modern “AWD” car and car substitute vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well all I know is my parents’ neighbor in his Lexus RX400h was utterly hopeless in the snow. A large part of that was not putting on snow tires, but the traction control was so aggressive on the hybrid that any sort of slip would leave him stuck.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think Lexus knows their customer base, and amps up the traction control too high. My GS was useless in snow even on small inclines. What made it worse was the traction control cutting the power after two warning clicks.

            In that car you could go up slick inclines quickly and hope nobody was stopped at the top – or not at all.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Conversely, I bought my mom a nice looking set of 17 inch alloys with Blizzaks and new TPMS sensors for Christmas a few years back (my brother programmed the factory TPMS winter/summer switch to recognize the second set of sensors), and that ’09 RX350 of theirs is AWESOME in the snow. Just the perfect winter road trip vehicle as far as I’m concerned. Effortless power, cushy suspension that has better control than an SUV like my 4Runner. Throw in steering-liked headlights for confident night driving, windshield washers on the headlights, and adjustable heated leather seats, that thing is just about perfect IMO. I never saw the appeal of the RX series until they bought one, now I get it. I still wouldn’t buy one for myself, the trophy wife element is too strong to ignore, but I respect them massively, especially that second generation before the cheaped out on the interior a tad and put in a huge center console, and lost some cargo room.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was checking out some newer RX models the other day – and holy crap does it look cheap in there. The door panels especially. It’s still a nice car, but the distance between it and the Highlander is much less than it used to be.

            Where you see trophy wife, I just think of them as suburban mom cars. Even my dad notices they’re too common and doesn’t want one.

          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            What kind of snow depths were they getting stuck in ?
            I’d need to be able drive through 8inches of unplowed snow max.I’m not worried about hybrid reliability. I’ve ridden in some prius taxis and most have been beat up for 150k miles w/out issues

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Cimarron re-read what I’ve written in regards to the reliability, I don’t doubt that it is excellent. Simply for DIY servicing, I feel more comfortable sticking with what I know. I am very aware of people racking up insane mileage with Prius models.

            It’s not really snow depth per se, but even a fairly slight loss of traction (due to using poor tires in winter condition) would leave the vehicle damn near immobilized. There wasn’t a true defeat of the TC system. Gen 2 prii suffered for the same reason around hilly Ithaca NY, the gen 3 has a less aggressive TC setting for this very reason.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Kia Niro will hopefully provide stiff competition, but I’m not sure how big it will be. Kia has tossed out the “50 mpg” nugget, but who knows in real life. It will certainly have less power.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    The hybrid seems like an absolute steal for this segment. Super reliable, proven drivetrain in a reliable platform returning segment leading fuel economy and top 5 performance. If the ride has truly been improved, there isn’t much to detract from this being the best small family car you can buy for the money.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    As the owner of an ’09 Escape Hybrid AWD, the mileage and awd aspects of the Rav4 Hybrid are interesting. I expected that with newer hybrid technology, the potential to regenerate braking forces from the back wheels and a more streamlined body, the Rav4 Hybrid should get significantly better mileage than the Escape Hybrid. The Escape Hybrid design is a generation behind the ’10 Prius, it’s boxy, and cannot regenerate rear braking forces. Yet, it gets the same mileage. I hope some day to read an explanation of why the new Rav4 Hybrid can’t get better mileage than the Escape Hybrid. Did Ford do an amazing job on the Escape Hybrid?

    Second, the AWD Escape Hybrid uses a driveshaft and a variable electronic coupling in the rear axle. I suspect this is far more effective on marginal roads than the Rav4 setup. Certainly it provides no unusual responses. As a predictive awd system, it senses conditions that might compromise traction and engages the rear wheels before wheelspin is detected. It works seamlessly and is very effective. Not as good as a low range and full-time awd, but pretty good. I also suspect that after prolonged engagement, the Rav4’s rear electric motor will reach a temperature limit and disengage, probably when you need it the most.

    After I shut off the traction control, the Escape Hybrid awd got through snow that stopped a Subaru Crosstrek yesterday. The assertion that hybrid awd’s are useless in the snow is questionable.

    A point not quite reached by the article is that the weight of the hybrid battery in the back of these otherwise nose-heavy transverse engine cuv’s, makes them heavier but actually improves their weight distribution. The two big lumps of weight at the far ends of the vehicle slow turning response, but help with directional stability and traction.

    For interested buyers, the Rav4 Hybrid presently is made in Japan but will soon switch to Ontario. Two friends of ours bought new Rav4 Limited’s in the last few months. Neither waited for the hybrid, despite my promotion of it. I highly doubt the Rav4 Hybrid will constitute more than 25% of Rav4 sales. There’s just too many pervasive myths about hybrids (such as expensive batteries needing replacement), and hybrids are too much of an unknown for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Interesting report. I’m not a fan of the idea of decoupling the front drive from the rear by using electric motor in the rear like this RAV4.

      As for your beating a Crosstrek in snow, not enough info, but I have had occasion in a Legacy GT turbo buried in snow from the rear doors on back when flooring it that no movement occurred nor wheels spun. The snow was all new, a 70 cm snowfall that drifted, and the wheels were all on frozen gravel. Dat’s traction. Made funny grunting noises. Gave her a blast in reverse to break suction, again no movement. Then D again and it came grunting out of a snow mould that looked like a Subaru. My plow driver, F150-equipped was surprised to say the least. I’d had enough shovelling that day and the plow couldn’t get close enough to be much help.

      The Crosstrek, equipped with the 2.0 slow I experienced in an Impreza for a week, might also be low-speed torque-challenged. In fact, I suspect an overcooked rice-pudding skin would overmatch it in a tug o’ war!

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        The electric-only rear drive system is probably the way of the future and you’ll just have to get used to it.

        Toyota is the 3rd or 4th manufacturer to put this into production, and won’t be the last.

        However, do a search for “e-Twinster” and you’ll find a competing web site that has a write-up of what this sort of system is capable of.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      At this point I can’t believe that it will account for anywhere near 25% of sales. As mentioned there are far too many people who think that all Hybrid systems are fragile and will be too expensive to keep running because of that. The Highlander Hybrid has a really low take rate even back when gas was expensive. Of course there was a larger premium on it than there will be on this. Combine that with the current low gas prices and I’d be surprised if it cracks a 10% take rate.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I have to say that I am impressed with this car/truck. Seems almost perfect for what I need (5 acre farm).

    The car that completely satisfied my needs was the first generation Saturn Vue. Unfortunately it kept breaking and I dumped it with about 180k miles. I currently have an SUV and it is really versatile when used with a selection of trailers that I have. This seems to fit very snugly into that same niche with one possible exception. Any guesses as to whether this will tow 3k lbs or not?

    Seems like I wouldn’t get stuck out in the pasture or hung out to dry at the gas pump.

  • avatar
    derekson

    Since when does the RAV4 have a soft suspension? Everyone I’ve seen complaining about the RAV4 says it has an overly hard suspension, especially for a vehicle with no performance aspirations.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    After reading this article I would consider buying a RAV4 hybrid. We currently have a 2013 CRV AWD and I like the looks of the CRV better but for the price and the features this RAV4 would be a vehicle I would take a serious look at.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    Do the rear seats still fold flat? Hard to tell from the video. Looks like they are flat but elevated from the trunk area because of the battery pack?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      No they don’t. I flipped em down at the auto show and was quite disappointed at how high they angle up from that box that runs side to side behind the seat. Overall cargo capacity is still decent though.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Alex Dykes: “If you’re wondering at this point why the non-hybrid XLE and Limited exist … so do I.”

    While I agree with you that $700 for this option is a steal, it’s probably because some people, likely a lot of people, just won’t buy a hybrid. Because hybrids are unreliable and leftist (although they’re not and they’re not).

    Before Christmas, Toyota seemed to be running a sale on the XLE trim, they were going for a bit over $25K or $26K (AWD). Not sure if that has changed. A colleague has purchased a hybrid Limited and reports that they aren’t dealing much. I would guess the option is really costing you $1500 or so at this point. Which is still pretty good, considering what you get, the improved reliability and great fuel economy. As a bonus, you get an extra 1/8th ton of tow rating vs the regular gasser, 1750 lbs.

    At the moment, it has a 10% take rate, which is pretty good. Maybe that’s half the XLEs and Limiteds.

    Another unmentioned drawback is color selection. I think there’s only 4 possibilities and the only “color” is that blue, no red.

    I’m pretty happy with what we have right now (Prius and Corolla) but my wife thinks maybe we need something bigger. Ordinarily I go for the lower end trims but, if she pushes for a crossover, I’d be happy to spend up for an XLE hybrid.

    On Fuelly, there are 18 2016 Ravs being tracked and 14 of those are hybrids (I would guess there’s a certain amount of enthusiasm for this activity in hybrid owners). The median fuel economy for the hybrid is 32mpg but 4 owners are reporting 34-35mpg. Median fuel economy for the non-hybrid (caution: very small sample size) is 24-25. Maybe 34-35 is what you get if you hyper mile or those drivers happen to drive in the vehicle’s sweet spot.

    • 0 avatar
      dm

      I went to the dealer. Although the difference on the MSRP was only 700.00 between the limited non hybrid and the hybrid, the reality was a 2200.00 different in purchase. (700.00 diff on MSRP, 1000 dealer discount for the non hybrid, along with the manufacture discount of $500.00). They were asking full price for the Hybrid and no discounts. Ironically they had plenty of Hybrids on the lot, and only a few non hybrids.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’d love to see the next gen CR-V offer a hybrid. But granted, the Toyota system is mighty impressive.

  • avatar
    pbr

    “Despite curb weight nearing the two-ton mark, fuel economy easily tops the American compact crossover segment at 34/31/33 mpg (city/highway/combined).”

    “Using the mid-size/full-size sedan system gives the RAV4 hybrid near class-leading 0-60 mile-per-hour performance at 7.1 seconds. That’s just a hair behind a 2.0-liter turbo Ford Escape or Kia Sportage. At the same time, it gets the best fuel economy in the segment, besting the EPA combined score by 1 mpg in our tests. That’s a 50-percent improvement over the gasoline model and even a bump over the efficient, but painfully slow, 2.0-liter Mazda CX-5.”

    “If you’re wondering at this point why the non-hybrid XLE and Limited exist … so do I. The non-hybrid RAV4 has middling performance and disappointing fuel economy. The hybrid, on the other hand, leads in both areas while still delivering a huge cargo area and reasonable sticker price.”

    Now we’re getting somewhere. In my mind, this is the bare minimum economy/performance intersection for a vehicle this small. Seems like it could be done with less than 2 tons and a hybrid?

    For your next trick, Toyota, swallow your pride and pay Mazda (or better yet, BMW) to tune the suspension.


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