2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Revealed, but Not Detailed

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Revealed, but Not Detailed

Maybe the word “hybrid” added to any given Toyota is enough to pique the interest of the fuel-thrifty masses. That must be the case with this, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, since all Toyota will talk about is that little badge. 

The current version of the RAV4 launched in 2012 and is still one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market today. The introduction of the new hybrid model, at the New York Auto Show today,  is one way for Toyota to continue to maintain market dominance over competitors like Ford and Nissan, while chasing the sales-leading Honda CR-V. The RAV4 also competes with the Hyundai Tucson, Subaru Forester, Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue.  

Toyota has made no bones about the fact that it wants to release a hybrid version of each of its volume cars by 2020; Toyota offers only one other hybrid version in its SUV line up — a hybrid Highlander. While the powertrain is apparently shared with the Lexus NX 300h — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission — Toyota revealed no mileage or horsepower figures, just claiming the end result would be good. 

Toyota also announced that it is upgrading the RAV4’s styling. Visual cues include new silver skid plates, new rear bumper, a refreshed front fascia and available LED headlights and taillights and a whole swath of new colors and wheel options for each of the SE, LE, XLE and Limited editions. The RAV4 SE will get a new exterior option for a two tone—white, pearl or blue paired with a silver metallic paint on the lower trim.

Since Toyota launched the Prius in 2000, the company has made eight other vehicles with hybrid powertrains including four versions of the Prius, the Camry hybrid, Avalon hybrid and finally the Highlander. The all-electric version of the RAV4 was short-lived as was Toyota’s partnership with Tesla to provide the powertrains for that SUV. Less than 2,000 were sold and Toyota stopped production in 2014.

The new RAV4 will hit showrooms at the end of the year as a 2016 model, with price, as many other details, yet to be determined.