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This is designed to be a compact car, but there is limited rearward space for a couple of medium-sized adults in the three-door. On the move, the RAV4 feels very different from cars like Jeep's Wrangler and Daihatsu's Sportrak, which along with Suzuki's Vitara and Grand Vitara, represent Toyota's immediate competition on the used market. Dennis Buyacar Ltd, 30 Cleveland Street, London, W1T 4JD (GB09151058) (FRN:667368) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The biggest news for Toyota’s crossover is the new hybrid powertrain, which is borrowed from the Lexus NX hybrid.
The hybrid powertrain is only available on the XLE and Limited models, though the RAV4 has four trim levels, one of which is brand new.
Every new RAV4 receives the updated design along with another host of changes, including new interior materials, an available 4.2-inch gauge cluster screen, a leather steering wheel, updated shifter, revised cup holders, a new sunglass holder, an additional USB port, new interior color options and soft touch materials on the upper door panel and lower dash.
Compared side by side, the two are quite similar on paper, but when driven, the two feel entirely different.
Surprisingly similar in some aspects, yet still completely different in others, these two hatches take different approaches to a common goal.
Despite how similar the Kia and Nissan may appear on paper, they are very different in execution. Watch our Short List video to learn about the top 10 most unreliable cars on sale right now, according to our friends at Consumer Reports. ODDS OF WINNING:Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received. CONDITIONS:By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants’ names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. We use cookies to improve your experience on this website and so that ads you see online can be tailored to your online browsing interests. View all 62 consumer vehicle reviews for the 2015 toyota rav4 on edmunds, or submit your own review of the 2015 rav4..
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After two decades in North America, Toyota’s 2016 RAV4 is now being offered for the first time with hybrid powertrain. The RAV4’s history actually predates the Prius from which the small SUV’s two trim hybrid levels – XLE and Limited – borrow its Hybrid Synergy Drive architecture. Arriving with a mid-cycle refresh for the entire fourth-generation RAV4 line of four-cylinder front- and all-wheel-drive family haulers, the all-wheel-drive-only Hybrid is the eighth in Toyota’s hybrid-market-dominating corral along with six Lexus hybrid models. Its actual next of kin is the significantly more pricey Lexus NX 300h which shares the same powertrain and platform, and which is also available in a front-wheel drive model as well as AWD. Barring the Tesla Model X all-electric crossover SUV, the RAV4 Hybrid now narrowly eclipses its Lexus sibling for best mpg among all-wheel-drive SUVs sold in America. Rated by the EPA at 34 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined, those numbers are one better in each category than the AWD Lexus, and they surpass the non-hybrid RAV4 significantly in the city, and barely on the highway.
To sweeten the deal, the hybrid is more powerful, almost one second quicker from 0-60 mph than the non-hybrid, and the price premium to go hybrid is only $700 compared to an equally equipped non-hybrid but there’s an asterisk to mention here.
As has become the norm for electrified vehicles, Toyota has positioned the RAV4 Hybrids as very well equipped vehicles, and a base LE trim and front wheel-drive are not available.
Non-hybrid RAV4s get from 24 mpg city, 31 highway and non-hybrid models with Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive are rated for 22 mpg city, 29 highway. As debuted on the Lexus NX, the RAV4 Hybrid gets a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine paired with electric motor.
A sealed NiMh 244.8-volt battery under the rear seat serves as the system energy storage, and total output for the merged gas-electric powertrain is 194 horsepower.
An Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT-i) delivers the power to the front wheels, and in back is what Toyota calls Electronic On-Demand AWD with intelligence (AWD-i).
Light towing is possible, with a maximum capacity of 1,750 pounds – actually 250 pounds more than the gas-only versions’ tow rating – and maximum tongue weight is 150 pounds. Curb weight for the Hybrid vehicles are 3,925 pounds for the XLE, and 3,950 for the Limited.
These compare to gas-only trim models weighing in at 3,455 for the base front-wheel-drive LE to 3,630 pounds for the loaded SE and Limited. Toyota says its aim with the new updates was to make the car in truck-like guise look more like a full-on SUV with stronger road presence.
This was its intent with the 2013 model when this generation was introduced, and so this is more of the same.
New rocker panels adorning the RAV line add to the boldness as do restyled bumpers front and rear.


Not available in the Hybrid line is a new SE trim with uprated suspension and styling touches plus paddle shifters to create a more sporty impression (see blue and silver car in photo gallery below). This year also, Toyota is making the RAVs some of its first vehicles to get its Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) package which will be nearly universal in Toyota products by 2017. As standard on the Hybrid and gas-only Limited and optional on Hybrid and gas-only XLE, this suite includes 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.
Also offered as standard on RAV4 LE gas and XLE gas and hybrid models is a Blind Spot Mirror and the SE gas and Limited gas and Hybrid versions get a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard.
Materials were updated for a more premium feel and usable storage spaces throughout make it a family friendly car. Atop the hierarchy, the Limited gets seats, dash, and door panels adorned with SofTex – a nice imitation leather. Other details include push button start and “Smart Key,” remote power lift gate, an auto-dimming frameless rear-view mirror with Homelink and SofTex-covered sliding center armrest with a storage inside. As one might expect, the hybrids run quietly, especially now with extra sound-deadening material added to the model range.
EV mode is of course the quietest, but with 0.6 miles range at up to 25 mph it’s a parking lot experience for the most part – with active sound emanated to alert pedestrians.
An ECO mode also helps with fuel economy by trimming back throttle response and – as the case may be – air conditioning output. We saw a combined 33 mpg with limited time to test all operations, but other testers going for mpg only managed to nurse it above 43 mpg. Highway fuel economy is really not significantly better than non-hybrid models but the whole package is, as Toyota intended it, an enjoyable experience. The Navigation system proved reliable and accurate, and connectivity is good with details like a USB 2.0 port, auxiliary mini-jack, and the system has Advanced Voice Recognition.
Also included in the nicely appointed Hybrids are a six-speaker stereo with Siri Eyes Free, a backup camera, and new this year is a 360-degree birds-eye display to show what’s all around the car with panoramic view.
As for driving dynamics, the RAV4 corners securely enough, never feeling in danger of rolling, and braking with the regenerative brakes is sufficiently smooth, not wooden or too grabby. The Hybrid’s higher curb weight and softer suspension makes it not quite as sure footed as the ultimate gas-only SE which we also took out and blasted around a slalom course for comparison. But the Hybrids are actually more powerful, so there’s the rub, and for most ordinary drivers, the subtle variance in feel may not be a bother if noticed at all. Pricing for the Hybrid XLE is $28,370, the Limited is $33,610, and add to these a $900 delivery fee.
Compared to an entry level FWD non-hybrid LE starting at $24,350 plus $900 however, the RAV4 Hybrid XLE is $4,020 more, and next to the base AWD LE non-hybrid, it’s $2,620 more. Next to other non-hybrid competitors, the RAV4 Hybrids also edge out with better mpg figures, but a comprehensive point-by-point value equation is beyond this article’s scope. This is not to excuse or blame anyone, but we’re just noting it’s an imperfect world and progress toward more affordable electrified choices is happening as regulations and consumer demand push for more. As it is, the RAV4 is worth a closer look as it presents itself as a high-quality unique hybrid offering that arrives with a fresh new face. The concept was started by Suzuki's Vitara but arguably, it was Toyota's RAV4 that popularised it. Since the car is almost as tall as it is wide, they won't want for headroom and they'll also be pleased to find that the back seats recline, as well as fold flat to increase the tiny luggage area.
It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine mated to an electric motor that brings with it electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive system.
Known as the SE, Toyota says this trim features a sports-tuned suspension for a more responsive drive. In addition to a bird’s eye view camera, the new RAV4 will offer the Toyota Safety Sense bundle, which includes a pre-collision system, forward collision warning, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, pedestrian-collision system and adaptive cruise control. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor’s or Prize Supplier’s control (collectively, “Force Majeure Event”). Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. The RAV4 was originally shown in 1989 as a concept, launched as a production two-door in 1994 in Japan and Europe, and its 1996 U.S.
The motor kicks in 141 horsepower (105 kilowatts) at 4,500 rpm in front, 199 pounds feet torque, and the independent rear motor can supply 67 horsepower (50 kilowatts) at 4,608 rpm.
This plus robust (but not published) torque compares favorably with 176 horses for the gas-only versions. For 2016 the Hybrid (and other models) come with a combination of LED headlights, daytime running lights and Hi-Lo Headlights as well as LED taillights.


An eight-way power driver’s seat with memory and lumbar adjustment is included, and the front seats are heated with two stage settings. Toyota says 0-60 mph arrives in 8.1 seconds, almost one full second quicker than the gas-only RAVs and highway power is in no wise anemic – it’s plenty for all-day cruising. This is because the finite electric power does its best work augmenting the gas engine at lower speeds which demand lower power.
As always, the usual caveats apply, and we expect a heavy foot will see numbers in the 20s more often.
By comparison, the all-wheel-drive XLE non-hybrid is $27,670, and the non-hybrid is $32,910, also plus $900 delivery fee. But, it’s still less than a roughly $5,000 gap between Lexus NX non-hybrid and hybrid models which are $39,720 for FWD, and $41,310 for AWD plus $940 delivery fee.
We’ve seen electrification fans say 33 mpg is too little citing EVs like the Tesla Model X, or pending PHEVs like the pending Mitsubishi Outlander. Toyota does not say so, but doing that might cannibalize the rest of the RAV4 lineup because it would probably make too much economic sense. If Toyota has chosen the route of packing its hybrid with all amenities assuming an upscale demographic, we’d also add that others have done similarly, including Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, and many more. You admire the futuristic bodyshells at motorshows or in magazines and wonder what the neighbours would think if one of those actually appeared in your driveway. Loading is easy, thanks to the big rear door which opens (correctly for the UK) from the nearside down to bumper height. Since the car was never sold as an 'off-roader', you're unlikely to find that this is a problem. Fully independent suspension means that the Toyota should ride and handle like a normal saloon or hatchback; you'll need to draw your own conclusions. Toyota says the hybrid RAV4 will be more efficient and powerful than the standard gasoline-powered crossover. The SE trim also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, two interior colors, unique bumper designs, a distinct interior and paddle shifters.
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Nor does the spare wheel intrude on the space available, mounted as it is on the rear door.
If the vehicle seems to have been used a lot in the mud, it's best to walk away as it isn't built to take that sort of treatment.
Three new paint colors, super white, black sand pearl and electric storm blue will be available on the upper part of the RAV4 SE, mated to a classic silver metallic paint on the lower section.
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That's in addition to the two extra rear doors which open wide to accommodate three adults in the back - or two more comfortably.
Only one specification - GX - was initially offered in five-door form and most three-doors were bought in this guise; it's a pretty all-inclusive package.
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