Toyota shows 2016 RAV4 — including first hybrid – USA TODAY
NEW YORK — Toyota seemingly has a gasoline-electric hybrid for every lifestyle with seven models in its lineup, though one omission is a small SUV. Until now, that is. This fall, the automaker expands its hybrid lineup to eight models, adding the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, unveiled on Thursday at the New York Auto Show.
Toyota is stingy with specifics on mileage, performance and price this early. The RAV4 Hybrid will only come with Toyota’s Electric On-Demand all-wheel drive and in XLE and Limited trim levels, which are the middle and higher-end trims on the gas-powered RAV4.
News for the 2016 RAV4 doesn’t stop with the hybrid model. A new, sportier SE trim level joins the LE, XLE and Limited models, plus all versions get interior and exterior updates. The SE trim receives a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels.
The exterior is refreshed with slightly reworked front styling and available LED lighting in front, as well as a new rear bumper and liftgate with optional LED taillights. Most models wear front and rear silver skid plates plus there’s a standard shark-fin antenna replacing the previous model’s short mast-type antenna. There are also new wheel designs and three new exterior colors. The new SE trim wears a paint configuration with silver metallic on the lower trim and three available upper colors — white, black and blue.
Customer feedback pushed Toyota to add more refinement and technology to the cabin, including improving interior quality with premium materials as well as offering new multimedia options. There’s an available 4.2-inch display that sits in the gauge cluster plus a newly available 7-inch touch-screen in the center stack. An additional USB port has been added to the front row and a 12-volt power outlet to the rear.
There are new soft-touch materials on the upper door panels and lower dash. And those owners who complained about the current car’s cupholders must have been a loud group because the RAV4’s new cupholders can accommodate tall mugs with handles, according to Toyota.
Added convenience features include an available smart keyless access system plus Homelink garage door opener, and base LE trim levels now have the option of a cellphone-based navigation system.
The RAV4 Hybrid is said to deliver improved fuel economy along with better acceleration and more horsepower compared with the gasoline RAV4. That shouldn’t be too hard considering the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder RAV4 isn’t particularly quick and its fuel economy trails the segment’s most efficient gasoline-powered competitors: the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.
All RAV4 Hybrids have all-wheel drive. Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, may offer a little insight into the fuel economy of the RAV4 Hybrid considering the Lexus NX300h hybrid’s roots start with the RAV4. The NX300h with all-wheel drive is rated at 33/30/32 mpg city/highway/combined, while the most efficient 2015 RAV4 with all-wheel drive is rated at 22/29/25 mpg.
The RAV4 will be the first Toyota to use Bird’s Eye View Monitoring to provide a top-down view of the RAV4 for easier parking. Like other systems, the RAV4 uses four cameras on the front, the two side mirrors and rear to provide a panoramic view.
Toyota Safety Sense makes its debut on the RAV4 and will feature numerous safety features, including automatic precollision braking. Features included in the optional safety package are forward collision warning, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, a pedestrian pre-collision system and adaptive cruise control. Toyota Safety Sense is standard on the top-tier RAV4 Limited trim.