2016 Toyota RAV4 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Apr 03, 2015
  • Revised exterior design
  • Upgraded interior materials
  • Available LED headlights
  • Available front and rear park-assist sensors
  • Available 360-degree surround-view monitor
  • Available smartphone-based navigation for LE trim level
  • Limited trim level adds programmable garage door opener
  • New Toyota Safety Sense equipment for Limited trim level
  • New Perimeter Scan technology
  • Sporty RAV4 SE trim level added
  • New RAV4 Hybrid model debuts
  • Fresh paint and interior colors


At the 2015 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), Toyota introduced a refreshed 2016 RAV4, in the process highlighting a new hybrid version of the 5-passenger crossover SUV that is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the standard version.

Though Toyota did not release specific details about the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid, the automaker confirmed that it will be more powerful, quicker to accelerate, and more fuel-efficient than the standard RAV4. Hybrid buyers will be able to select between XLE and Limited trim levels.

In addition to the new RAV4 Hybrid, a RAV4 SE will also debut for 2016, featuring a sport-tuned suspension, larger 18-in. aluminum wheels, transmission paddle shifters, and unique appearance elements inside and out.

Exterior Features

Toyota has updated the 2016 RAV4's styling for what the automaker calls "a sleeker, more dynamic appearance."

The front styling is new, now equipped with available LED headlights and LED running lights. Design elements tie into the new rocker panel trim along the bottoms of the doors and wrap into a new rear bumper. The RAV4 also gets a new rear liftgate and available LED taillights.

Additional design details include a shark-fin antenna and, on most versions, silver simulated skid plate garnishes on the front and rear bumpers. Front and rear park-assist sensors are now available, new aluminum wheel designs debut, and three new paint colors are available for the 2016 RAV4.

Interior Features

Inside, Toyota says it has improved the quality of the RAV4's cabin materials and has added soft-touch surfaces on the upper door panels and the top of the dashboard. The cupholders are redesigned, a new sunglasses holder is added, and all versions except the LE have a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Toyota also adds another USB port for front-seat occupants and a 12-volt power outlet for rear-seat riders.

The new 2016 RAV4 SE features Sof-Tex leatherette upholstery with exposed contrast stitching, power driver's seat, unique instrumentation, gunmetal-finish interior trim, and a black headliner.

Optional Features

Depending on the trim level, the 2016 RAV4 is equipped with a new 4.2-in. multi-information display within the gauge cluster and a larger 7-in. touch-screen display for the infotainment system. Toyota will also offer LED headlights for the new RAV4, along with a number of new safety and technology systems that are discussed below.

Under the Hood

In addition to a 176-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, the 2016 RAV4 will be available for the first time with a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain. In New York, Toyota would only say that the RAV4 Hybrid is more powerful and accelerates faster than a standard RAV4 while returning better gas mileage. An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is standard with the hybrid drivetrain.

Though Toyota did not divulge details about the new hybrid model, it is likely to employ the same setup as the Lexus NX 300h, which shares the RAV4's underlying platform. In the Lexus, total system horsepower measures 194, and the NX 300h gets 32 mpg in combined driving with AWD.


For the 2015 model year (as of December 1, 2014 production), Toyota upgraded the RAV4's architecture in order to earn a "Top Safety Pick" crash-test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). For the 2016 model year, the automaker offers a new Toyota Safety Sense package for the Limited and Hybrid Limited versions of the RAV4.

The Toyota Safety Sense package equips the RAV4 Limited with dynamic cruise control, forward-collision warning system, lane-departure warning system, and automatic high-beam headlights. It also includes new pedestrian and autonomous braking pre-collision systems.


In addition to the Toyota Safety Sense package, the 2016 RAV4 is available with a new Bird's Eye View monitoring system, which uses four different cameras to supply a top-down, panoramic view of the vehicle's surroundings. This technology also includes what Toyota says is an industry first: Perimeter Scan. Perimeter Scan provides a live, rotating, 360-degree camera view of everything nearby the RAV4.

In addition to these new technologies, Toyota introduces a new Scout smartphone navigation option for the RAV4 LE. Pair a device to the standard display audio system's Bluetooth connection and a smartphone application supplies an inexpensive navigation system for the base version of the RAV4.
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