2016 Toyota RAV4 First Look
Embracing the Change
The Toyota RAV4 has been remarkably good at one thing over its 20-year history: its ability to adapt. The model has grown and shrunk and transformed from a two-door model to a three-row utility with a rear-hinged spare tire before eventually establishing itself as a sleek, modern crossover. For 2016, the Toyota RAV4 will face change once again, and although the modifications aren't evolutionary, they promise considerable improvement over the current model.
The RAV4 receives a fresh exterior, and most of the changes happen up front. A cleaner grille conforms to the design of other new Toyota products, and new body lines give it a more fluid look. LEDs are available up front and in back. Most new RAV4 models also come with front and rear silver skidplate garnishes that give off a sportier vibe.
But perhaps the biggest change for 2016 is the addition of a hybrid RAV4. Although we don't know specific powertrain details, Toyota says it brings more horsepower and better acceleration than the gas-powered model. The RAV4 Hybrid, which is now the eighth hybrid offering from Toyota, comes equipped with all-wheel drive and available 17-inch alloy wheels with a unique design. It will be offered in two trim levels, the XLE and Limited, when it arrives in dealerships this fall. Exterior color choices span the palette from white to gray, silver, black, and a stunning blue.
When it comes to the traditional RAV4, expect a higher-quality interior and updated trim levels from the 2015 model. Soft-touch materials now adorn the upper door panel and lower dash, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on all but the base trim gives the model a more mature feel. New technologies include an available 4.2-inch TFT info display, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a bird's-eye view monitor to help with tricky tasks such as parallel parking. There are a few other minor but noteworthy updates: a new sunglasses holder, an additional USB port, and revised cupholders that accommodate tall mugs with handles. For the standard RAV4, three new exterior colors -- Silver Sky Metallic, Black Currant Metallic, and Electric Storm Blue — are also available.
Buyers have more choices when it comes to selecting a model from the RAV4 lineup, and it's not only because of the hybrid model. The SE trim, available on the gas-powered RAV4, adds key features that promise a sportier interior and drive feel. A sport-tuned suspension, 18.0-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, SofTex seats, a revised bumper and lower grille, paddle shifters, and unique interior design are just some of the features that make this model stand out a bit from the crowd.
On the Limited trim level, a new bundle of safety features, dubbed Toyota Safety Sense, becomes standard. This package includes forward collision warning, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. Also included are advanced features such as automated pre-collision braking and a pedestrian avoidance pre-collision system.
Considering the 2016 model is just a refresh, we don't expect many changes under the hood of the standard RAV4. The current Toyota RAV4 makes use of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive.