2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid Review
This hybrid CUV is just all-around good, just not thrillingNo Comments
The RAV4 remains at or near the top of the pack no matter how you look at it.
The compact CUV started with the first RAV4 Toyota produced in the mid-1990s. Today, Toyota is still a dominant force in this space despite some serious competition from basically every single major automaker out there. While there are some seriously nice rides from Toyota's competition, the RAV4 remains at or near the top of the pack no matter how you look at it. It's simply a solid vehicle that sells very well. Essentially, it won't cause your pulse to quicken, but it gets the job done.
Toyota's hybrid version of its venerable CUV adds yet another layer to the RAV4's rich offerings, and we were excited to take this little crossover for a week-long spin. Here's what we found out about the latest iteration of the vehicle that started the crossover craze.
The RAV4's biggest accomplishment is also its biggest downfall. The thing is downright boring to drive, especially on the highway where you can set the cruise, forget it and get lost in the music you've cranked up on the stereo. While this may sound wonderful, after a few days in the car we found ourselves longing for something a little more involved. Still, many people would be happy with this kind of vehicle indefinitely. Ride Quality: Not too soft or hard, with only the biggest bumps doing much to disrupt the RAV4's path down the road. Steering: Numb but still pretty responsive and well weighted at any speed. Acceleration: The RAV4 is no race car, but as far as boring hybrids go, it's reasonably quick. You'll have no issue keeping up with traffic. Braking: The brakes are progressive and powerful. They're not grabby or stiff at all. Handling: This thing is no canyon carver, but it corners pretty flat and allows you to turn confidently.
Front: The front of the RAV4 is interesting with a horizontally split grille and smaller but aggressive front headlights. Rear: The rear is much more subdued that the front, but it still had a focus on horizontal lines. Profile: The RAV4 appears shorter and more compact in profile than it feels thanks to short overhangs on both the front and rear of the vehicle.
Front Seats: The front seats are supportive and well bolstered, and the material on the cloth seats in the model we drive was soft, yet still felt strong and tough. Rear Seats: The rear seats were also supportive and featured plenty of leg room for adults of average height, though larger people will feel a bit cramped. Visibility: Front, rear and side visibility are good, with well-placed pillars throughout the vehicle that aren't too thick.
The cargo room of the RAV4 Hybrid isn't much different than the regular RAV4. Most of the time hybrids lack quite a bit of the cargo area of their non-hybrid brethren, but the RAV4 only loses about three cubic feet of cargo space, meaning you still have plenty of room for your stuff. Storage: There are plenty of storage areas in the RAV4 Hybrid, but some of them feel oddly placed. The cup holders are spread apart, the space for your phone is too far forward and the center space beneath the armrest can be difficult to reach while moving. Trunk/Cargo Room: The RAV4 Hybrid boasts 36 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and 71 with them folded.
The model we drove had quite a bit of optional equipment on it and still had a price tag of about $33K, which is several thousand below the average price for a vehicle in 2016. Considering that you're getting a hybrid powertrain and a heck of a nice vehicle overall, it really is a good deal.
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with Dual VVT-i
Drivetrain/Layout: All-wheel drive, front engine
Power Output: 194 net system hp and 206 lb-ft of torque
Fuel Economy (mpg): 34 city / 31 highway
Base Price: $28,370 (XLE Hybrid trim)
As Tested: $33,385 (incl. $900 destination fee)
Standard Features: Hybrid Synergy drive system; EV, Eco and Sport drive modes; Star safety system: enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology; LATCH-Lower Anchor & Tether for Children; 17' alloy wheels; height adjustable power liftgate; power moonroof, roof rails, rear spoiler; power heated outside mirrors; privacy glass - rear side, quarter & liftgate; dual zone climate control w/air filter; Entune audio plus,6.1' touch screen, Sirius XM All Access Radio; leather-wrapped steering wheel w/ audio and Bluetooth controls; backup camera; reclining & fold-flat 2nd row seats; smart key system with push button start; 12V power outlets (3), USB port (1)
Options on our test vehicle: Convenience package: blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sonar, Toyota safety sense, Pre-collision system w/ pedestrian detection, steering assist, auto high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, Entune premium audio with navigation and app suite - includes Entune Multimedia Bundle (7-in high resolution touchscreen with split screen display and integrated backup camera, AM/FM, MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod Connectivity and Control, Advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless tech), Entune app suite, HD Radio, HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, SiriusXM all access radio; tonneau cover; drop ship indicator; interior light kit; mudguard; wheel locks; body side molding; paint protection film; door sill protector; door edge guard; rear bumper applique; roof rack cross bars; cargo net' carpet floor mats/cargo mat
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