The Toyota RAV4’s claim to fame – starting the compact crossover trend – has served Toyota well, even as competitors rose and surpassed it. But then this segment can quickly swing back and forth, so let’s see if the freshened 20-16 RAV4 regains ground.

Styling for this mid-cycle redo is naturally addressed, with a little sharper edge to the front end. The lines are refined even more with a new SE trim package, adding black accents and wheels plus a sportier, stiffer suspension.

But, the big news is the arrival of the RAV4 Hybrid. Here, the corporate 2.5 liter Atkinson-cycle I4 combines with front and rear electric motors for 194 horsepower. The nickel-metal hydride battery pack helps the system to a rating of 33 Combined miles per gallon.  

The front and rear electric motors also give the Hybrid an intelligent all-wheel drive system that provides power to either axle, or both, depending on driving conditions. Toyota calls it, not surprisingly, all-wheel drive with intelligence. 

A trip to Orange County, California helped us get a clearer picture of the RAV4 Hybrid.

GREG CARLOSS: “So how does it drive? Well, it is a hybrid; it’s not supposed to be a high performance vehicle. Having said that, it rides pretty well. We had a long term RAV4 that I spent a lot of time in. And with that, it was a little noisy and it didn’t ride great. Well Toyota has fixed both of those concerns. It is much quieter on the inside, there’s not as much wind noise coming in…And it does ride a little better. So overall, it’s just a more comfortable place to be in.”

JOHN DAVIS: Debuting on all ’16 RAV4s is a new suite of safety tech, with automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, and radar assisted cruise control.

On sale now, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid goes for around $29,000.


  • Horsepower: 194
  • Engine: 2.5 liter
  • Price: Around $29,000 for RAV4 Hybrid