SUV review: 2016 Toyota RAV4 HybridSep 15th, 2016
Recently I had the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited and came away impressed.
In the world of compact SUVs the little RAV4 Hybrid packs quite a punch in terms of both performance and overall fit and finish.
The RAV’s 2.5 liter 4-cylinder powerplant produced 194 horsepower and was more than peppy and strong enough to make short work of most unimproved dirt roads. While not exactly a rock climber, this SUV is comfortable out there and off the pavement.
In addition to the 4-cylinder the hybrid comes with two electric engines — one in the front, the other in the rear. As noted above, the combined system produces 194 horses and 206 lb ft of torque.
The engine systems are mated to an electronically-controlled continuously variable automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.
Topping that is a cool regenerative braking system that works to capture energy and send it back to the 244-volt sealed nickel-metal hydride battery pack.
My tester came with 18 steel alloy wheels, a moonroof, privacy glass all-around and a towing capacity of 1,750 pounds.
Step inside RAV’s cabin and you’ll find a comfortable, driver-first environment including push button engine start/stop, comfortable front leather bucket seating and a 7 inch nav-media screen perched right above the center stack.
My tester came with a very useful rear- and perimeter-scan capable camera.
I found my tester nimble and fairly responsive in city driving and OK off the road generally. Toyota gives the RAV driver in this model three drive modes to select from — EV, ECO and Sport EV.
I kept mine in Sport EV most of the time.
And of course my fuel economy, as you can imagine, was great. I got 34 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 33 mpg combined.
In terms of competition there’s not much out there beyond the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid although you should keep an eye out for hybrids coming from Mitsubishi, Honda and Nissan.
The MSRP on my tester — trimmed out as in the ‘Limited’ category — came in at $34,874.
My recommendation: If you’re looking for a quality, fuel-efficient compact SUV, the RAV4 is hard to beat.