2016 Toyota RAV4: Our First Impressions - Unhaggle

Posted by | November 04, 2015 | 2015, Reviews | No Comments

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 is a refresh on the 2015 version, so we didn’t expect a major overhaul, but there are some nice touches that make the 2016 model worth a look. The majority of the effort has gone into transforming the interior, but the exterior has gotten a sleek update as well. The biggest upgrade is that the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is now the eighth vehicle in Toyota’s “green” lineup.

Pros: better fuel economy, luxurious interior and 360 degree view with cameras.

Cons: safety package costs extra, and the hybrid powertrain is only available on the Limited and XLE versions, similar to the competitors like the Ford Escape and Lexus NX.

What’s New for 2016

The revised interior offers more space, about the same as the Honda CR-V, but it’s definitely roomier than the competitors. The performance updates have made the 2016 Toyota RAV4 more fun to drive as well, with paddle-shifters for a sportier feel and all-wheel drive for precision and power.

Exterior Design and Trims

While the essential small-SUV shape is maintained, the lines are sleeker and fluid. The grille is cleaner and a front and rear silver skidplate give off more of a sporty look. The 2016 RAV4 goes to work on 18-inch alloy wheels, or 17-inch on the LE and XLE versions. It’s also equipped with LED headlights and taillights. The RAV4 rides fairly low for a compact SUV, and the all-wheel drive offers better performance along with excellent handling and traction in rough weather.

Interior Design and Features

The updated interior of the RAV4 comes with a bundle of new features. The overall aesthetic includes stylish details like a black headliner, contrast stitching on the seats and red lighting and needles on instruments (blue in the case of the Hybrid). The seating is certainly spacious and offers comfortable SofTex seats with supportive bolsters for everyone. The cargo space is vast and the back seats are foldable for extra room, should you need it. The additional sunglasses holder, USB port and revised cup holders show Toyota’s attention to detail.

Some of the more luxurious touches are reflected on the tech included in the higher-end trims. The audio system features four different upgrades of the Entune touchscreen audio, with the top two tiers including App Suite (featuring Bing for searching, iHeartRadio and Pandora for streaming, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable and Yelp for eating out, as well as real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks information).


The new Toyota RAV4 runs on a 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with continuously variable transmission for fuel economy. The optional AWD uses a third 50kW electric motor on the rear axle for extra torque when power is needed. The Hybrid, however, puts out the most power with 194 horsepower and uses the latest iteration of Toyota’s two-motor Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Going 0-to-60 in under nine seconds gives the RAV4 plenty of power and speed for a family passenger car.


The road can be a dangerous place, so safety is essential and Toyota didn’t scrimp on their Safety System package. It’s standard on the Limited version, but available for an extra charge on all other models. It includes forward collision warning, and takes it a step further with automatic braking if the driver doesn’t respond fast enough. The system also has a lane departure alert, radar-based intuitive cruise control, pedestrian pre-collision system and automatic highbeams. Another excellent safety measure is the 360-degree Bird’s Eye View Monitor, which includes four cameras on the front and side mirrors and the rear so you have a good visual of your blindspots. The eight airbags and rear cameras are standard for every version.

The new Toyota RAV4 definitely brings some great updates and improves on the design with smaller touches rather than a huge overhaul. The fact is, after 20 years of this model’s existence, Toyota is bound to get a lot of things right; and for new iterations, a few modifications keep it fresh.

Base Model Info & Pricing:

Coming soon! In the meantime, here’s some info on the 2015 version…

2015 Toyota RAV4

Trim level: LE FWD
Retail price (before taxes): $24,365
Invoice price: See Now, FREE
Mandatory fees: $1,870
Competitors: Honda CR-V, Ford Escape

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About Kristin Bissessar

Kristin is an automotive writer at Unhaggle. Join her as she writes about the basics and beyond with a fresh perspective. She knows what it’s like entering the automotive world for the first time and offers a guiding hand for new car enthusiasts. Her own car of choice? That would be a MINI Cooper, but when her novel series takes off, you can bet she’ll be sitting pretty in a Dodge Viper SRT10 Roadster.

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