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.
And here we have the final debut of the New York Auto Show…a hybrid version of the Toyota RAV4.
Toyota is set to debut a hybrid RAV4. I’m not sure what’s taken them so long.
During a month in which the Toyota Camry took a rare break from leading America’s passenger car sales results, the Toyota RAV4 soared to the top of the SUV/crossover leaderboard.
RAV4 sales hit record levels in July 2014, when 26,779 were sold, enough to make the RAV4 America’s second-ranked utility vehicle.
That record was smashed one month later, however, as Toyota reported 35,614 RAV4 sales in August 2014, enough to finish the month 1535 sales ahead of the Honda CR-V, which declined 2%, and 6618 sales ahead of the Ford Escape.
Change is inevitable, but it isn’t always predictable. Such was the case with a recent death in the family. Eighty-five-year-olds typically aren’t long for this world, but her stroke and swift passing was still sudden.
After some hurried preparations and two flights, I found myself standing on a rental lot. To distract myself from weightier matters, I sought out something I hadn’t driven before. The Toyota RAV4 was redesigned for model year 2013, but I hadn’t driven one yet. Hoping for a vehicular cocoon, I blew through the paperwork and headed east for New Jersey.
When the RAV4 landed, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. In a world of unified corporate identity the RAv4 goes off script with a look all to its own. While the old RAV sold on mini-truck looks, the new one is undisguised crossover. The new nose has grown on me slightly since I recorded the video above, but I still find the look a little awkward. Since I was scolded for wearing striped pants with a striped shirt the week I tested the RAV4, feel free take my style opinion with a grain of salt as you click through the jump.
The 2013 Toyota RAV4, which underwent a major redesign earlier this year, was saddled with a “Poor” rating in the IIHS’ “small overlap” front crash test, the lowest designation possible.
Aside from the antiquated gearbox, Toyota’s next-gen RAV4 is also ditching its third row seat and V6 engine option. The 2.5L four-cylinder option making 176 horsepower. Oh, and the liftgate now opens upwards, rather than sideways. Excuse me, my heart feels like it’s beating too fast…
Sergio & Co aren’t the only ones partying it up in Vegas. Toyota is hosting its own bachelor party in Sin City, complete with products like a new Avalon, RAV4, Scion tC and a next-generation Corolla described as
“…cool. It is hip, it is fun. It is everything that the consumer is not expecting in that segment.”
Despite Toyota’s announcement of a new generation of RAV4 EV, mostly for CARB compliance, it seems that RAV4 EV production has never really stopped – at least not on a one-off basis.