Toyota Confirms RAV4 Hybrid for 2012

UK’s Autocar website reported yesterday that Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motors Sales, confirmed development of a hybrid gas-electric version of the company’s RAV4 crossover SUV. Lentz added that Toyota’s 1.8-liter hybrid system will become the company’s “core powertrain.”

The RAV4 Hybrid is due in spring 2012, but only the five-door model will get the hybrid option. reported last April that the RAV4 Hybrid was in the works. The Toyota Highlander has an EPA rating of 27 in the city and 25 on the highway. As a smaller vehicle, the RAV4 Hybrid could exceed 30 miles per gallon—possibly becoming the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market. Currently, the Ford Escape Hybrid, 34 highway / 31 city, has that distinction. Hybrid fans have been hoping for a gas-electric RAV4 for several years.

The conventional Toyota RAV4, introduced in 1996, was one of the first so-called crossover SUVs, built with some of the capabilities of a truck-based SUV, but focused on many of the creature comforts of a passenger car. Since then, the vehicle has grown in size.

Toyota will unveil minor styling changes to the RAV4 at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. The company describes the modifications as a more “sophisticated” front-end design and more refined interior.

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  • ex-EV1 driver

    Don’t forget that until Tesla went into production, the RAV4EV was the most plentiful production EV in the world since many of them escaped the crusher in the ’90’s. There are 200 to 300 in private hands and about 500 in fleets such as Southern California Edison and the City of Santa Monica, CA.
    They are starting to show their age as the 1999 models go over the 120,000 mile life and routine battery maintenance is not affordably available.
    They are a good compromise vehicle, large enough to be useful yet small enough to still get reasonable fuel economy.
    I only wish Toyota were coming out with the pure electric again or perhaps a PHEV.

  • Charles

    This could be fun. RAV 4 hybrid in spring of 2012 and the new Kuga based Ford Escape sometime the same year. Lets hope Ford can get the hybrid version out at the same time.

    Ain’t competition grand!

  • nancy

    Toyota & Honda dropped the ball on handling the recalls , they should have came forward with a full disclosure. Instead of waiting for a huge media blitz and tons of public pressure. But Toyota & Honda are not alone , I never seen so many car companies having recalls all at the same time. I had no idea my car which is not even a Toyota or Honda, was affected until I searched on and found I had a bad Anti Lock control unit on my 2008 Pontiac G8 , So be careful

  • Size Creep

    Seems the new Rav4 is going through another size creep. This vehicle looks huge!

  • Shines

    Well I hope the hybrid has better towing capacity than the Escape hybrid. Ford doesn’t offer a tow package for the Escape Hybrid although the specs say it has 1000lb towing capacity.
    Size wise it looks the same as the current model to me (maybe a touch taller (to handle the space for the battery).
    Certainly it will be more efficient than the standard ice version.

  • 0815

    I love my RAV4. It already has good gas milage for it’s size (I get 25 City and >30 highway) … can’t wait for the hybrid version.

  • Max Reid

    Equinox & Escape are giving 32 MPG. Already both models have closed in on CRV is sales. IF RAV4 is bigger and gives lesser MPG, people will surely dump it.

    I dont know why people are craving for bigger vehicle when gas prices are increasing. Currently it stands at 2.7 / gallon even before Spring’s arrival.

  • Raum

    I agree. I currently drive a 2000 Rav 4 and think the current ones are the size of the highlander. If this keeps up, I’m going to have to get a matrix just to keep my car size in check.

    I am even considering a yaris hybrid if they ever get around to making a hybrid that small.

    All I need is a commuter vehicle that can, on occasion, ferry the family around. I don’t even care if they are comfortable for the ride. My wife has the big, comfortable vehicle. (gas guzzler)

  • William Jones

    I live in western Wyoming. I’ll buy a RAV 4, hybrid if it has AWD and gets about 50 mpg.

  • kelwin Romero

    Please make DIESEL/ELECTRIC !!

  • jc

    hope to see this in a 4X4.

  • Yegor

    It would be a great Hybrid. I wish it were available sooner. I hope Toyota will fix there RAV4 crash test rating to 5 star. I think that sales will be more than Prius. I had to buy Toyota Venza because there were no RAV4 Hybrid.

  • EVrocks

    I agree.
    I wish i wouldve had the chance of owning the EV.

  • TT

    if only they had kept its compact little size.

    call me a dinosaur but I much preferred the size of the 2002-2005 model RAV4.

  • stewart

    does anyone know if they heard if it will be coming out any sooner -hoping to buy one in 2011 —please comment -if anyone has heard

  • Gingin

    Our 2000 Rav and 1993 Stealth are limping along and we are depending on our 2009 Prius to get us around even to mountain hikes — until the hybrid Rav gets out! We are considering renting cars, etc., while we wait. Our local dealers haven’t heard one official word — but we can’t buy any other SUV. They are too big or they are not Toyota.

    Can’t they release them in fall 2011 instead?

  • Boy

    I have since april this year a Prius, nice perfect relax car, but I prefere a SUV, it was’nt available at that time.
    So, as you all said before, I hope also that Toyota brings the RAV4 Hybrid asap and hopefully before the end of 2011.

  • CJM

    It’s about time, Toyota, particularly since the RAV4 was already hybridized in the ’90s as “ex-EV1-driver” noted above and as mentioned in “Who Killed the Electric Car” documentary (2006, but still worth watching if your blood pressure is too low).

  • zj

    have wanted a RAV4 hybrid for years (a small SUV hybrid.) since they were not available, and i did not like the ford escape hybrid, (the only other small SUV hybrid), i bought the camry hybrid instead, but was not so happy in a sedan…well, sadly, i just lost my camry hybrid to a flood so i need a new car…
    REALLY wishing the RAV4 hybrid would be released asap – like now…as i can’t wait til 2012 for a new car.

  • Kendria

    I have a 2000 RAV4 and have been very pleased with it. Currently over the 120K mark and still working well but I know my time is limited so I’m looking into my next RAV4. Heard about the Hybrid from a co-worker who also owns a 2001 RAV4. Can’t wait for it to come out and test drive.

  • Diane Moyle

    I have a 2002 RAV4 and I have been very happy with it. I’m glad to hear about the RAV4 Hybrid. I hope they make it in 4 wheel drive and not AWD. I’m looking at buying a new vehicle in 2012 and I am looking forward to see what the hybrid offers.

  • rob weaver

    ” but only the five-door model will get the hybrid option “…..aren’t all RAVs 5 door ??

  • Charles

    Can anyone confirm?

    For 2012 Toyota will offer a RAV4:
    Gas Version
    Hybrid Version
    EV Version (


    If so, that has to be the ONLY Toyota Model with all 3 options…


  • Charles

    I asked Toyota. NO Rav4 Hybrid has been announced:
    Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

    We appreciate your interest in the Toyota RAV4.

    Toyota has not yet announced plans to produce a hybrid-powered version of the RAV4 SUV. However, this does not guarantee that such a vehicle is not in development. We have become aware of public interest in a hybrid RAV4 through communications such as yours, and we will make your email available here at Toyota’s national headquarters for review by the appropriate parties. Your feedback will be helpful as we plan future vehicles to better serve your driving needs.

  • Rohit nasit


  • SamShaw

    Where’s the RAV4 Hybrid? It’s 2012….

  • Stan Trent

    I also waiting to hear from Toyota and the supposed RAV4 Hybrid.

  • Penth

    Yes it’s 2012, but it’s May and I think there are some months left in 2012. December 2012 is still 2012!

  • Shri Mataji Meena Ma

    Dear Madam and dear Sir, pls let me know more details about the new RAV Hybrid… will the RAV be with all-wheel-drive, please?

    Wishing You a wonderful happy day
    Best wishes
    Mataji Meena Ma