2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • Great fuel economy
  • roomy interior for people and cargo
  • composed ride quality
  • well-sorted tech interface
  • small price premium over non-hybrid version.
  • Not especially sporty
  • synthetic brake feel.
Other years
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for Sale
List Price Range
$16,500 - $23,963

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With all-wheel drive and hybrid-amplified fuel economy, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid occupies a niche among compact crossovers. Its combination of features, passenger space and everyday utility warrant a closer look if you're shopping for a small crossover.

Vehicle overview

Toyota has been a mainstay in the compact crossover SUV segment for a long time, having created it in the first place with the original RAV4 back in 1996. It's also been a leader in the hybrid field with its fuel-sipping Prius and Camry hybrids. Alas, we've had to wait until 2016 for Toyota to decide to finally marry the two together in the form of the new 2016 RAV4 Hybrid.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid looks very similar to the regular RAV4. Most people won't know you're driving a hybrid.

It turns out that the RAV4 Hybrid is more than just the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class. It's also the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle you can buy. Fitted with a hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Lexus NX 300h and Toyota Camry Hybrid, the RAV4 Hybrid delivers an EPA-estimated 33 mpg combined, which is 8 mpg more than a regular all-wheel-drive RAV4. Interestingly, it also accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph about a second quicker than its non-hybrid stablemate and provides nearly as much total cargo space.

Toyota has positioned the RAV4 Hybrid as a more premium model among RAV4s, and as such the hybrid is only offered in the highest two trim levels. Yet the hybrid powertrain itself commands very little additional outlay over the equivalent non-hybrid RAV4. The hybrid also benefits from the same updates the regular RAV4 gets this year, including subtly massaged exterior styling and a new suite of high-tech accident-avoidance technologies.

If you like the idea of a miserly small crossover but want to shop around, you'll quickly find the new RAV4 Hybrid is pretty much in a class by itself. The only other hybrid SUV in this price range is the 2016 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. It does return similar fuel economy to the RAV4 Hybrid but it's considerably slower and not nearly as roomy on the inside. Toyota took its sweet time coming up with the RAV4 Hybrid, but it's worth the wait.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a five-passenger compact SUV available in XLE and Limited trim levels.

The XLE comes standard with 17-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, a sunroof, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface (Entune), a remote power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface.

Stepping up to the Limited trim level nets you chrome exterior trim, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, front and rear parking sensors, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), driver memory settings, adaptive cruise control, a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, smartphone app integration and satellite ratio.

Toyota packs on the standard features for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid. Leatherette upholstery is exclusive to the Limited trim level, though.

Optional for the XLE is the Entune Premium Audio package, which adds the bigger touchscreen, nav system and smartphone app integration. The XLE's Convenience package bundles those features with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors and the Safety Sense package. Limited models offer an optional Advanced Technology package that includes an 11-speaker JBL premium audio system with a top-down-view parking camera system.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is a new variant in the RAV4 lineup this year. Like all RAV4s this year, it's the beneficiary of a midcycle refresh that brings revised styling and updated features.

Performance & mpg

The RAV4 Hybrid's powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, electric motors front and rear, a nickel-metal hydride battery pack and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In total, this pairing develops a combined system output of 194 horsepower. The RAV4 Hybrid is front-wheel drive in normal operation, but the powertrain automatically engages the electrically driven rear wheels when needed to provide enhanced traction in slippery conditions.

According to the EPA, the hybrid hardware allows the RAV4 Hybrid to deliver 33 mpg combined (34 city/31 highway).


The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length airbags, a driver knee airbag, a rearview camera and an integrated driver blind-spot mirror. A blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert are optional on the XLE and standard on the Limited.

The optional Toyota Safety Sense system (standard on the Limited) includes a forward collision warning system (with pedestrian detection), forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking, a lane-departure warning and intervention system and automatic high-beam headlight control.

Specific crash tests for the hybrid were not available as of this writing, but in government crash tests the regular RAV4 received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal protection and five stars for total side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular 2016 RAV4 the best possible rating of "Good" in the small- and moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test as well as the side-impact and roof-strength tests. It also received a "Good" rating for the performance of its head restraints and seats, as well as the best possible rating of "Superior" for its available forward collision warning and mitigation system.


The RAV4's hybrid powertrain juices up more than just its acceleration and fuel economy. In the bargain it boosts refinement, since the transmission never has any shift shock. It's a smooth and torquey experience that splits the difference, performance-wise, between base four-cylinder crossovers and ones with upgraded V6 or turbocharged engines. The hybrid's thrust off the line won't blow your hair back, but it's noticeably more eager than non-hybrid RAV4s. The additional sound insulation and other refinements introduced to all RAV4s this year have also paid off, since this is a commendably quiet and refined vehicle.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid isn't much fun to drive, but its fuel economy is excellent.

But it's not particularly sporty, since the additional weight of the hybrid parts is noticeable when you carve into a corner enthusiastically. In day-to-day driving, however, it feels composed and delivers good ride quality. The brakes — which blend the regenerative function of the hybrid hardware with the regular brakes — feel a bit synthetic and don't have the reassuring pedal response of traditional non-hybrid brakes.


The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid's interior is a stylized mix of hard silver plastic and soft surfaces that's been around for a few years but is aging well. A few of the audio and climate controls feel slightly flimsy, however, and while the cupholder count is adequate, there aren't as many useful storage nooks and crannies as you'll find in the Honda CR-V. Still, it's a roomy cabin that looks good and works well. If you want genuine leather upholstery, you're out of luck, as the RAV4 comes only with cloth or leatherette.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid loses just a few cubic feet of total cargo space because of its battery pack.

Although all of the RAV4's audio systems have Toyota's Entune branding, only models with the bigger 7-inch screen include the Entune suite of smartphone-connected services, among these Pandora streaming radio and a navigation app. Thankfully, the touchscreen interface itself has straightforward menus, large virtual buttons and faster responses for 2016. All conventional controls are also easy to use.

Rear passengers are presented with a low-mounted bottom cushion, but the upside is that space is abundant even for taller adults. We also like how the 60/40-split seatbacks provide a large amount of recline adjustment.

The RAV4 Hybrid's cargo area measures 35.6 cubic feet, which is ample, if smaller than the non-hybrid models, owing to the packaging of its large battery. Fold down the middle row and the capacity rises to 70.6 cubic feet, which is still right up there with the largest in its class. The power-operated and height-adjustable liftgate is especially convenient.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Definitely a solid buy!
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We purchased the XLE model because we didn't want all of the electronic driving "aids" or the "leatherette" interior that comes on the Limited (that, and we couldn't justify the huge price difference for us). There are 2 items missing on the XLE that we did want though, and there was no way to get them from the factory. Those missing items are automatic headlights and Homelink. We strongly feel that automatic headlights should be a standard safety feature in any vehicle, much less one with a MSRP over $30k (a sunroof and an electric rear hatch is standard, but not a safety item like this?!). Unfortunately, it's not available on this model. We just leave the lights on all of the time, as they turn off shortly after you leave the vehicle or as soon as you push the lock button on the fob. The Homelink issue was easily cured by having an aftermarket Homelink mirror installed by the customizing shop owned by our local dealer. Another minor annoyance involves cup holders. The front console only has 1 cup holder that will accommodate a full sized drink. The other one is partially under the dash and is only suitable for a water bottle. We use an aftermarket console in the back seat, instead of the handy fold down one, because the cup holders are so close that they also will not hold a decent sized drink without risking a lid popping off. It's a minor issue, but maybe one to consider. They do work well for water bottles though. Now for the great parts. First and most importantly, our 2 "kids" can easily get into the back seat and sit comfortably with adequate leg room, which is pretty impressive since they are 6+ feet tall with men's size 13-14 feet! Toyota does well in this area, as they have no issues in the back of our PriusV either. Second, we are impressed by the performance. It is zippy and handles well for an SUV while still having a smooth, quiet ride, which is important since we live in the city and have to both navigate traffic and merge onto the highways. We test drove the gas version as well, and we thought the hybrid seemed to have more torque, despite being AWD. Third, it gets great mileage in the city (so far, approximately what it's rated), and it gets better than what it's rated on the highway (as an owner of 3 other hybrids, do NOT expect this to be the case when the temps are extremely hot or cold). We notice that it stays in EV easily, which helps on the mileage too (if you are not a hybrid person, you need to know that your basic driving habits will greatly affect your mileage, just like the temps). Fourth, the front seats are surprisingly comfortable and supportive, even sporty feeling with the nice bolsters along the seat edges, though a bit more support in the center of the back would have made it even better. Overall, our impression is that it is rather Camry-like in it's feel, which is good since we weren't looking for the truck feel and ride, and we anticipate having the same great reliability.
Under-Cover RAV4 Hybrid!
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
This is my choice as the best small SUV in 30K price range. The features offered in this car convinced me to spend a little more than my 30K limit for the XLE trim with the convenience package. I do recommend the convenience package if you are into newer technologies. Below, I compare Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to other models that I considered prior my purchase. I have tested all these cars. 1- The same model in limited trim: I could not justify the higher price. I prefer cloth seating versus synthetic leather because it's cooler and I live in Texas. My car is slightly lighter, which is a good fact. One size smaller rims translates to better off-road driving. I also prefer the look of rims on XLEs. 2- Honda CRV SEL: I prefer both the exterior and interior in my RAV4. I did not have navigation and all wheel drive capability at the same price if I selected a Honda CRV. Toyota ride is far smoother, more comfortable, and much more quiet compared to CRV. The Hybrid is more powerful and more efficient too. 3- Cherokee V6, Limited: Cherookee is a faster car but much less efficient. Cherokee is much smaller. The interior is too compact. The front window is too steep. 4- Lexux nx200t and Acura RLX: they are faster cars, more luxurious too. However, both are more expensive and lose more value for resale. Both have higher maintenance costs. What I like in RAV4 Hybrid: They improved three major negative points that I did not like in the 15 models: 1- The ugly blue information screen is replaced with a luxurious 4" display. This display completes the car's En-tune system, similar what you see in a Mercedes or a Lexus. It's very handy for the driver. 2- The cheapo looking carbon fiber plastic trimmings are gone from the cabin. 3- The standard RAV4 is slow and lags when you need to accelerate. The hybrid is fast and snappy when you need the power. Bottom line: RAV4 is growing up towards its SUV nature. To me, it looks more of a SUV rather than a cross-over or station wagon. Hybrid model is a rare find that very few people know about it. It's fully assembled in Japan similar to Lexus models. It owns the same power train as Lexus NX300h within a more matured body. You get more space for you and your luggage in a lighter body when compared to the pricy Lexus NX300h! To me, not only RAV4 Hybrid is more valuable, but also is a more optimized design. Driver can ride on this vehicle for either fuel economy or performance. It can do it all! 40MPG or 8s 0-60, it is adaptive in this price range. More Comments: -When you look at my ratings, I have considered the price range and car's class. For reliability ratings, this is what I expect from Toyota. MPG: -I have got MPGs in 40 range for mixed highway-city trips. My total average is less since most of my trips are very short within the city. -What I don't like about this car: the converters in the cargo could be re-arranged for more space. I believe they come from the lexus design. On the positive side, the back seats are more like what NX has; they look upgraded to me compared to the regular RAVs! -Algebraic summation of electric motors and the gasoline engine is much more than 195hp! Toyota could offer more power and performance for this car. There is room for further tweaking this car towards improved performance!
Not your typical hybrid
Trevor Wellman,04/03/2016
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Overall: What a wonderful vehicle! I recently traded in my 2011 Honda Accord EXL 4 cyl (Loved that car) for the new 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid Limited and have no regrets. The Rav4 has just as much, if not more get-up-and-go than the Accord and has far superior gas mileage and cargo capacity (obvi). The interior is a delight! The black/beige letherette interior looks so nice with the Black metallic exterior! Definitely a hot car (but not solid black leather hot like my accord...ouch). Performance and Economy: Off the line, you can either have excellent power and torque, normal acceleration, or electric-only acceleration depending on the mood and situation. If pushed right, the car can be gas-free up to about 35mph in eco-mode! I only use EV mode in parking lots or downtown settings, otherwise your Rav4 handles that for you. For maintaining speed, "Pump and Glide" is the way to go! A light foot in eco-mode will allow it to stay gas-free, but power-mode then eco-mode seems to get me the best mpg from a start. Highway merging is superb! So quick as long as nobody slow is in front to stop you.... Excellent passing power, too! Handling: One of the reasons I bought this vehicle was to take my grandparents places with ease. Step in height is excellent and comfort is superb. At first I thought the seats were a bit firm, but they have softened up since. The ride is very car-like and seems to have a bit better maneuverability than my accord. Steering is a bit synthetic, but I guess that is what power steering does? It does not bother me at all. The steering wheel has a very nice, thick feel in my hands. The sensors and cameras help me stay confident on the road. I have not had the chance to drive in a blizzard, yet (thankfully). Safety and Tech: The electronics and safety tech is plenty and helpful. The car looks so sleek with the LED daytime and headlights! I wish the foglights were LED, too. Toyota Safety package is a must! Just make sure to turn off the features before car washes, or the car will go crazy with beeps. The pre-collision system works, too! I wanted to test it out for fun, and it is very confident. I like how the Navigation has a different volume setting than the audio. The voice is very nice and the Tachometer navigation display is very nice. The backup camera is very helpful with turning guides and cross-detection technology! So wonderful to know when a car is coming and I cannot see them. Entune needs a bit of help, but I only ever use Spotify via bluetooth, so it has not been much of an issue for me. The speaker system is better than I was expecting. Speaker placement is good (my accord rattled due to speaker placement). Could use a little bit more fine-tuning for a Limited model. I did not upgrade to JBL, however... I can see myself owning this car for a very long time! It has great looks, gas mileage, and storage. I will soon be moving cross-country and will update my review after. My accord was an excellent vehicle and survived the cross-country journey last year wonderfully. Excited now to test the Rav4 and see how high I can get the gas mileage. Definitely would and have recommended to anyone looking for a new, fuel-efficient vehicle. Even though XLE may look like a better value, I would highly recommend the Limited for the extra tech and aesthetics.
Convinced me to buy an SUV
Bruce O.,03/02/2016
XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
While I've wanted an SUV for awhile now, I could never justify the cost vs mpg average most have had......at least until now. With a 33 mpg average (for AWD) and only a $700 increase over the gas RAV4, this was a no-brainer! Trying to be practical AND thrifty I decided on the XLE with convenience package. While I would have liked some of the features of the Limited like power faux leather seats with lumbar support, LED headlights and heated seats, it just didn't seem to justify the almost $4000 upcharge. Some have complained about the cloth seats and lack of lumbar adjustment on the XLE....and I thought I would be one of them however, the drivers seat seems to be very comfortable to me and my back feels very secure in the seat back. The ride feels more controlled than I expected and very smooth considering it's an SUV. The convenience package has just about every safety feature you will need: Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, front and rear parking sonar, auto on/off feature for halogen projector-beam headlights, Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation, App Suite and Toyota Safety Sense which adds Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Auto High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. While a $2100 upcharge might seem like a lot to most, when you actually witness what you get, I think it's a steal! Overall the vehicle feels solid on the road, has a masculine look and has plenty of room. With the Hybrid drive I don't see why this SUV won't have just as good of a reliability rating as their Prius. I'm ancious to see what happens once this SUV becomes well know. For anyone who's on the fence right now, I think you owe it to yourself to at least go out and take one for a drive. 9/2/2016 Update: Well, after almost 7000 miles only one thing has really changed. My mpg has gone up an is now averaging right around 37. No problems or repairs to report.

Features & Specs

34 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
34 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
194 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid features & specs
More about the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Overview

The Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: RAV4 Hybrid SUV. Available styles include Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and XLE 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited is priced between $16,500 and$23,963 with odometer readings between 24537 and126182 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE is priced between $16,791 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 48787 and86503 miles.

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Which used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 13 used and CPO 2016 RAV4 Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $16,500 and mileage as low as 24537 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale - 2 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $17,337.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 3 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $22,369.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,432.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 7 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,952.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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