Today in New York Toyota announced the RAV4 Hybrid due to launch this fall.
The brand’s eighth hybrid uses the same essential powertrain that the new Lexus NX 300h crossover does, a 2.5-liter system with eCVT transmission, and included “intelligent All-Wheel Drive” (AWD-i), which employs an electric motor for rear propulsion duties.
Specific miles per gallon has not been announced, but for reference, the NX 300h AWD is rated 33 city, 30 highway, 32 combined. Unknown is whether weight or aerodynamic differences would result in much of a variance.
Also for reference, the 2015 non-hybrid RAV4 is rated 22 city, 29 highway, and 25 combined and the 2016 RAV’s mpg has also not been published.
The RAV4 itself was launched in 1994 and invented the segment which has grown as a successful sales leader in this family oriented segment said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager.
“Twenty years later, it is still making news,” he said of the RAV4, “as its sales are among the fastest growing in the segment, and I’m not just talking about any segment, but the fastest growing segment in the industry. There is no doubt that the RAV4 is hot right now.”
As has been seen before for Toyota’s hybrids, the base level will be a higher grade than the conventional gas RAV4’s four grades of LE, XLE, Limited and SE.
The RAV4 Hybrid starts at the XLE level and a Limited is to be made available also.
Exterior design-wise the RAVs get a facelift and LED headlights, daytime running lights and hi-lo headlights.
New rocker panel design and rear bumpers with revised tailgate and optional LED taillights add to the look, as do front and rear silver skid plate trim on most models and a shark fin antenna.
Inside, interior trim and design are refreshed and available is a 7-inch touchscreen and 4.2-inch TFT display along with other accoutrements optionally available.
New Safety Tech
At the press announcement, Fay touted the affordability of a new suite of safety technologies called Toyota Safety Sense (TSS.
TSS – standard on Limited grade RAVs – includes: Pre-Collision System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
“And we’ll offer it at a price point that is simply UNHEARD of for this array of technology … around just $500,” said Fay noting by end of 2017 it would be available across Toyota’s model line.
Also offered is a Toyota first, a new “Bird’s Eye View Monitor,” which uses four cameras on the front, side mirrors and rear to give create a panoramic view.
Fay noted Toyota has dominated the hybrid market, and this is true, as it and Lexus hold down around 69 percent in the U.S. and globally it’s sold over seven million hybrids.
“To date Toyota hybrid vehicles have resulted in nearly 50 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions,” said Fay, which is “equivalent to about 170 Empire state buildings” and these have saved hybrid owners over 4.75 billion gallons of gasoline.
Pricing and more details will be available closer to launch.
“While we don’t yet have power and mpg figures for you today, we can tell you that this is a no compromise SUV, delivering more power with more fuel efficiency than the standard gas model,” said Fay. “Mark my words, the RAV4 Hybrid will have segment-leading fuel economy by far.”