That all changes with the debut of the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid at the 2015 New York Auto Show, and the crossover launches alongside a thoroughly refreshed RAV4 lineu
Similar to the Lexus NX 300h, the RAV4 Hybrid combines a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine running on the Atkinson cycle and an electric motor, and both axles get power thanks to the standard Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System. Toyota is keeping the exact technical specs about the CUV a secret until closer to the fall launch but admits the hybrid setup offers more than the 176 horsepower in the internal combustion model. The electric assistance means quicker acceleration and better fuel economy, as well.
Beyond just the availability of the hybrid powertrain, the 2016 RAV4 gets sharper, more aggressive styling. The changes start at the nose where the foglights are recessed in the front bumper, and the design draws the eye across the lower grille. There are also reshaped lights at the rear and a redesigned lower bumper with silver skid plate trim. Inside, the improvements include niceties like better material quality, an added USB port up front and cupholders for tall mugs.
While the styling looks great, Toyota is also seriously upgrading the available tech for its strong-selling CUV. Buyers can spec a full array of LED lighting, including the headlights, running lights and taillights. There's also the new Toyota Safety Sense suite that adds pre-collision braking, lane departure warning radar cruise control and more. For help with parking, the company has the four-camera Bird's Eye View Monitor, as well.
The RAV4's trims carry over and get a new addition called the SE. Its biggest features are a retuned sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, contrasting exterior trim and a black headliner. It also comes fairly loaded with features with the aforementioned LED lights.