Next week at the New York auto show Toyota will be revealing a hybrid version of its RAV4.

No details accompanied a teaser image and mere announcement that this would happen, but there is a relatively good chance it will borrow the powertrain from the Lexus 300h.

This is yet to be verified but the Lexus itself borrows underpinnings from the RAV4 and relies on a 2.5-liter Hybrid Synergy Drive full hybrid drivetrain.

Fuel economy from this Lexus compact crossover SUV varies depending on all-wheel or front-wheel drive versions. Less efficient AWD is EPA rated 33 mpg city, 30 highway, 32 combined. The FWD is rated 35 city, 31 highway, 33 combined.


This is the most-efficient vehicle in its class sold in the U.S. and adding such a powertrain ought to help the popular RAV4 against Honda’s CR-V and pending HR-V – neither of which is hybridized though Honda says it could one day add one of its new elegant systems to either of these or both.

A base 2.5-liter gas-powered RAV4 is EPA rated for FWD at 23 city, 30 highway, 26 combined, and the AWD gas RAV4 is nicked 1 mpg at 22 city, 29 highway, 25 combined.

Like the larger RX and Highlander and Highlander hybrids, the AWD for the Lexus NX 300h hybrid is accomplished by way of an electric motor doing rear wheel drive duties.

Total system power is 194 horsepower for the Lexus’ 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four itself developing 154 horsepower. Two electric motors in te base FWD model add to the combined peak.

2015 standard RAV4.

2015 standard RAV4.

The AWD version gets a third motor, as mentioned, driving the rear wheels. It is operable as needed and there is no drive shaft connecting front to back.

This news follows Toyota’s having ended its collaborative work with Tesla and its limited market RAV4 EV costing in the $50,000 neighborhood.

A standard 2015 RAV4 ranges between roughly $24,000-$28,450 and Toyota tends to charge a bit more for hybrid versions of SUVs than it does sedans, and a guess could be a hybrid surcharge in the neighborhood of $4,000 over base.

Actual details will be revealed next week.