The United States is crossover crazy. Compact SUVs are all the rage. One of the stalwarts of the segment is the Toyota RAV4. For those who are more fuel conscious, Toyota offers the RAV4 in a hybrid. Is it any good?
Our $38,000 fully-loaded review is top of the tree when it comes to compact crossovers. It has everything you could get from Toyota. It had a premium stereo. There was a 360-degree camera. Adaptive cruise control kept you from getting road rage.
That was all mixed with a hybrid setup that delivers decent fuel economy. Getting 30 miles-per-gallon or more is a tall order for a box on wheels. The window sticker’s 31 mpg on the highway was easy to hit.
Since we’re on the subject of hybrid technology, Toyota’s been doing it the longest. In 2016 there’s no need to worry about the system failing — aside from a manufacturing defect. They are rock solid.
Toyota has also optimized them. They’ve spent years refining and honing the system. For reliability, they’re still a brand you can trust.
Once you’ve decided on a hybrid SUV, that decision limits you to the Nissan Rogue and the RAV4. They both do the same job, but they do it different.
The RAV4 is easy to drive. It’s predictable. The driving comfort is on-par with other vehicles in this class. It’s everything you’d expect from a Toyota.
That means it might not be the most fun or engaging to drive. If you like to carve some twisty roads, the Mazda CX-5 would be a better alternative. Though, that doesn’t have a hybrid option.
The 360-degree camera is ace, and makes maneuverability a breeze. The adaptive cruise control really helps prevent road rage, but I do wish it was a full-stop setup like other manufacturers. Of course blind spot monitoring and lane keeping are on hand.
The RAV4 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2017, thanks to excellent accident avoidance systems and respectable headlights. You can feel confident carrying your family in this SUV.
For a family hauler, the RAV4 can do the job. The hybrid battery pack does take up some space that would be extra storage, but the sacrifice is small.
Visibility is decent from the driver’s seat, and the safety cameras and tech help out where the driver can’t see.
The only other real demerit I’d give to the RAV4 is the infotainment. It works, but looks dated. I’d like to see Android Auto and Apple Car Play support.
If you’re looking for a vehicle like this, I’d encourage you to also drive the new Rogue Hybrid. I find it a little more engaging to drive. Though it suffers from the same infotainment demerits as the RAV4.
If you’re looking for a easy-to-drive, reliable, safe choice, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a solid pick. That’s where Toyota excels.