EDIT: To correct pricing/option information. (Nov. 6; 3:42 pm)
With a refreshed 2016 Toyota RAV4 in stores now, the Japanese hybrid juggernaut has revealed details of that model’s first gas-electric variant, revealed to the public earlier this year at the New York auto show.
The dual-motor powertrain will make the RAV4 Hybrid the most powerful version of its compact crossover, with 194 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque with gas engine and electric motor working together, a notable bump over the gasoline-only model’s 176 hp and 172 lb-ft. Toyota says the extra power is enough to cut almost a full second off the car’s zero-to-96 km/h (0-60 mph) acceleration time, to 8.1 seconds. While the gasser is available with front- or all-wheel drive, the Hybrid powers all four wheels.
Like other Toyota hybrids, this one uses Toyota’s ‘Hybrid Synergy Drive’ system, which (simply put) can vary the power split infinitely between the 2.5L gas engine and electric power, and, for better or worse, offers a driving feel similar to that of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Also commonplace is the RAV4’s use of regenerative braking; electricity is stored in a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack that takes up a bit of cargo space: Toyota says the Hybrid’s trunk measures out to 1008 litres, versus 1087 in the gas-only RAV4.
Toyota pegs RAV4 Hybrid fuel consumption at 6.9/7.6 L/100 km (city/highway), versus 10.5/8.2 (city/highway) for gasoline-powered AWD models.
In Canada, the top-line Limited gasoline-only model gets the ‘Toyota safety sense’ (TSS) suite standard: it includes automatic pre-collision braking, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, pedestrian pre-collision braking, and radar-based dynamic cruise control. In the U.S., this package is an option on SE and XLE grades, but not here. However, Canadians who buy the XLE and SE models do get blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert as standard, and the base LE gets wide-angle side mirrors to improve blind-spot visbility.
Pricing starts at $24,990 for the LE FWD (about a $600 increase over 2015), while the well-equipped XLE AWD comes in at $29,500, or $1,400 less than the same trim last year. RAV4 Hybrid models start $34,465 in XLE trim, the Limited upgrade adds $3,800 to the pricetag, and another $2,775 adds a tech package that includes TSS.
We’ll have our first driving impressions and full Canadian specs for you later this month, after Toyota’s first drive event for the new RAV4.