The 2013 Toyota RAV4 may have just debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, but rumors are already swirling over new variants. The 2013 RAV4 is currently powered by a 2.5-liter I-4, and rumor has it a hybrid variant could join the lineup in the future.

RAV4 deputy chief engineer Yoshikazu Saeki told Auto Express that a hybrid variant is definitely a possibility, especially if the market demands such a powertrain. The 2013 Toyota RAV4's 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the same engine used in other hybrid 2013 Toyota RAV 4 cockpit2 300x187 imageapplications including the Camry, where the hybrid system's net power (including the electric motor) produces 200 hp. Toyota could also pull a powertrain from any of the Prius family members like the Prius v, which combines a 1.8-liter 98-hp Atkinson cycle four-cylinder with an 80-hp electric motor.

The outgoing third-generation RAV4 is available with an optional 268-hp V-6, but Toyota has decided not to offer the bigger mill in the new model. Customers wanting more oomph will have to opt for a Highlander or an FJ Cruiser. A hybrid RAV4, however, could prove to be a more popular option compared to the V-6 since consumers are increasingly mindful of increasing gas prices. Toyota says the normal front-drive 2013 RAV4 should receive an EPA rating of 24/31 mpg city/highway, and we expect a hybrid version would reach or at least get close to 40 mpg on the highway. Ford's now-discontinued Escape Hybrid received an EPA-rated 34/31 mpg for the front-drive model.

The RAV4 is also offered with an all-electric powertrain, which went on sale just last month on a low-volume level. The 2012 RAV4 EV was a joint venture between Toyota and Tesla Motors, with the latter providing much of the powertrain, which produces 154 hp and propels the crossover from 0-60 mph in just 7 seconds. It has a range of 103 miles and its 41.8 kW-hour battery reaches full charge in six hours using a level 2 charger. Earlier this year Toyota told us it has no plans yet to electrify the new fourth-gen RAV4, but said it would consider it depending on market demand.

Do you think a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid should be developed for the U.S. market?

Source: tAuto Express