By on October 30, 2017

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Image: Toyota

Even though it represents a small slice of the model’s overall volume, Toyota owes a lot to the hybrid version of its top-selling RAV4 compact crossover. Without it, the RAV4 wouldn’t actually be the United States’ top-selling compact crossover.

Through the end of September, Toyota sold 36,352 hybrid variants, pushing the RAV4 nameplate ahead of the Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport family. Sales of the hybrid model are up 10 percent this year. Realizing it has a good thing on its hands, Toyota seems eager to get more RAV4 Hybrids into the hands of green-car shoppers looking for more room to go with their fuel economy.

The automaker is now planning a new entry-level trim for the 2018 RAV4 Hybrid.

According to a dealer bulletin obtained by CarsDirect, Toyota is adding an LE trim to the RAV4 Hybrid, bolstering a lineup that, as of now, only starts at XLE. SE and Limited hybrid trims are also available. By deleting some content, the entry price of the RAV4 Hybrid drops $1,895, placing the LE at $28,130 including destination.

If you’re keeping track, this means the hybrid LE adds just $1,325 to the price of an all-wheel-drive, gas-powered LE (using 2017 pricing). While the stock RAV4 makes do with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic, the hybrid variant ditches that powertrain for an Atkinson Cycle engine and continuously variable automatic, coupled to two electric motors. This combination promises 34 miles per gallon in the city, and 32 mpg combined.

Despite falling below the XLE, Toyota’s newest hybrid RAV4 won’t be a stripper. Standard features include heated exterior mirrors, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, three driving modes, and the company’s Smart Key System.

As we saw with the RAV4 Adventure, a slightly butched-up crossover inserted into the lineup for 2018, Toyota’s on an all-out quest to squeeze as many sales from its RAV4 as possible. That goal also means price cuts nearly across the board. In early summer of this year, Toyota shaved $500 from the MSRP of a gasoline LE, $1,350 from the XLE, $1,195 from the SE, and $995 from the Limited. At the same time, Nissan was adding standard content to its Rogue lineup.

Some 352,154 RAV4s found new homes in 2016, making it the model’s best U.S. sales year ever. So far this year, it’s on track to beat last year’s tally. The RAV4 saw a boffo summer in the United States, with July sales up 31 percent, year-over-year, and August and September tallies rising 30 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

[Image: Toyota]

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31 Comments on “Volume Booster: Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid Gets a Price Haircut...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “By deleting some content, the entry price of the RAV4 Hybrid drops $1,895, placing the LE at $28,130 including destination.”

    What content is deleted to produce an LE vs an XLE?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Passenger side wiper, passenger side sun visor, heater, radio, single-tone horn only… Similar to a ’50 Chevy base-model trim.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Dual-tone horns are weird. My ’97 Jetta had one. The weaker “chirp” horn was for the keyless entry system; the stronger one was the one you operated with the steering wheel. Ditto for my ’14 Jetta SportWagen. For the ’15 Golf SportWagen, Volkswagen used a single-tone horn.

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          My wife’s 2014 Jetta had a single note horn due to VW’s de-contenting. It sounded like a Honda when she’d honk it. So I found the part number that was used on my 2012 wagon, ordered one and installed it. The bracket was all set to attach it, so it was an easy install. Then it sounded like it should have.

          Sad that the 2015 wagon was de-contented too. I love dual-note horns. Very authoritative.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        Don’t forget the armrests!

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      It takes a bit of hunting around on the Toyota website, but the brochure page with the hybrid RAV4 breaks down the trim levels. The content isn’t much different and the hybrid LE looks about halfway between the regular engine LE and XLE.

      The deleted content about what you’d expect- moonroof, foglights, dual zone climate control (instead of single), heated mirrors, but not much else. The wheels are the same, cloth seats, etc.

      The high tech safety features that let you all but sleep at the wheel seem to be standard across the board for all hybrids and non hybrids (lane assist stuff, radar stuff with the cruise control, tilt/telescope steering…). The regular engine LE deletes the big computer screen inside the car but apparently the hybrid LE has that.

      All of the versions are pretty nice cars. I’m not big on the exterior styling but styling is always a personal choice anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Thank you for answering that. I could do without all that stuff you mentioned (although heated mirrors are helpful).

        Agreed on the styling, but that’s the era Toyota is in right now.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Can they do something about the fact that the RAV4 is arguably the cheapest-feeling car in the segment? I test drove one recently, and it felt like riding a buckboard with four lawn chairs strapped to it. Which is why I’m a bit disappointed that my step-grandmother bought a new one late last year.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      My Toyota loving inlaws didn’t like the RAV4 either and ended up a better suited Buick Encore AWD where they are getting 27 mpg all city.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        But yet not one, I repeat ONE of the automobile sales professionals on this site support or provide data to prove you egregious “truths”. Even Buickman stays away from you.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “But yet not one, I repeat ONE of the automobile sales professionals on this site support or provide data to prove you egregious “truths”.”

          “Truth” and “fact” are very, very vague concepts to him:

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/08/2017-buick-envision-preferred-awd-review-buick-tri-shield-badge-premium-exists/#comment-9359384

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            …and you are not buying with him as you need a license. That is like going to the buying salvaged auction cars available to public and comparing them to used cars on a dealer lot.

    • 0 avatar
      cleek

      ” I test drove one recently, and it felt like riding a buckboard with four lawn chairs strapped to it. ”

      Then Toyota was able to recreate the GenIII Prius driving experience to a T.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    RAV is top seller because of fleet sales. Search “rav4 fleet sales”

    Also the CR-V is supply-constrained and doesn’t offer incentives.

    The RAV simply isn’t as good as the CR-V.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The CR-V 1.5t awd is $2,000 more expensive than a Equinox 1.5t awd on cars.com. The CR-V 2.4 awd is $5,000 more than a Equinox 1.5t awd.

      Maybe Honda should cut their prices too?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Norm, are you in fact the ghost of Roger Smith? You can tell me, I’m open minded.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        That’s because it can be, quite frankly.

      • 0 avatar
        9Exponent

        All I’m hearing from you is that the Equinox is a few grand more than it should be.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          The Equinox has largest in segment cargo of 81 cu ft with front folding passenger seat. It is cheaper to buy than the CR-V and will be worth more at 3 years, under 4p,000 miles. Look it up on cars.com if you don’t believe me. With cash on the hood no Japan will be worth more down the road. The resdiuals are just an old wive’s tale the auctions and dealerships check at along with the media and reviewers. Even banks have Equinox and CR-V residuals within a few percentage points. Just a bunch of smoke and mirrors to buffalo the buying public.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Using Norm’s highly scientific (and statistically accurate) method of pricing from dealer’s ads; the CR-V is priced higher than the Equinox. NO, not the 1st equninox, it’s junk; but the nicely loaded LTZ. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/716096609/overview/ one of GM’s finest! https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/715924668/overview/ A much better CR-V. Hey! I used Cars.com just like you told us. To be fair; here’s the loaded Chevy: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/715429940/overview/. For normal, sensible people, the prices on cars.com/auto trader are a STARTING POINT. Not the Gospel According to Norm; or tel be taken with a grain of salt. But please, regale us with your tales of how you bought your vehicle at the price listed on Cars.com

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Gotta love Norm’s cherry picking. For those keeping track, without the folded front seat trick, the Equinox is actually near the tail end of the class with 63.5 cu ft of cargo space, well behind the class-norm of 70-75cu ft. Now, if you said something like “The Equinox offers a really handy feature like a folding front passenger seat for long items” that would in fact be a useful and honest way to differentiate it from the rest of the field. But you being you, of course there’s some snake-oil salesman angle.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            A loaded CR-V with V6 is a Acura RDX. I never did seen a performance test of the Nox LTZ, but the Terrain Denali v6 had a better figure eight time than did the RDX at MT. But the Theta is a really old platform and has been replaced with D2XX.

  • avatar
    redapple

    CRV EX contains many features not on an Equinox LT.
    sunroof
    Fog lights
    blind spot.

    Better Resale and more features make it worth the extra $

    Beware. Equinox very narrow at the shoulders behind the B pillar. Real bad. Oh and the other deal killer. Start Stop cannot be turned off.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      At 3/36 just coming off lease the the CR-V costs less where today CR-V costs more. So it actually loses more value and doesn’t hold that Jack B Honda falicy of holding value. All computed from cars dot com pricing you can do yourself and separate yourself from the Sheepeople like thorn mark and jalop1991.

      Remember too the Equinox 2.0T can be had too where the Honda stops.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m sorry but you can’t simply say that if the Hybrid version didn’t exist that it wouldn’t have the sales crown. Many of those may have still chosen the RAV-4 even if there wasn’t a Hybrid version. I have some friends who purchased one a few months ago, they drove the CR-V and some other competitors. They chose the RAV-4 because they liked it best not because it was a hybrid, it was just a bonus that they could get a hybrid version.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Bummer, I was hoping they’d release a hybrid version of the Platinum trim instead, I don’t know why they hoard the heated steering wheel just for the gasoline motor version of the car-you can spec the Hybrid Limited to have pretty much every feature of the Platinum except for the stupid heated steering wheel. Makes zero sense.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    What happened to the gentleman who used to post Manheim/ADESA prices? What they sell for is what they’re worth.

  • avatar
    knp447

    I own a 2016 Rav4 Hybrid XLE. I bought it new. I hope the navigation and screen interaction and applications have been upgraded. The speakers are not that great either. I personally average about 25 mpg because the distance I drive to work does not really charge or engage the electric battery. I just leased a new Challenger. The price for the Challenger is less and the extras and speakers are much better. I realize they are 2 different styles of automobiles,but I did not realize how much was missing in my Rav.The Challenger has heated seats and heated steering wheel. My Rav4 is still a bit stiff on turns but it rides well.

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