2016 Toyota RAV4 Review – The Soft Soft-roader

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior

2016 Toyota RAV4 Restricted

2.5-liter, DOHC I-four, CVVT (176 horsepower @ six,000 rpm 172 lbs-ft @ four,100 rpm)

6-speed automatic

22 city/29 highway/25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

23.9 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $ 25,235*

As Tested: $ 35,625*

* Rates consist of $ 885 destination charge.

Compact crossovers are huge organization and the Toyota RAV4 is one particular of the segment’s corporate all-stars.

In 2015, the RAV4 practically outsold Mazda. I’m not talking about the RAV4 outselling the Mazda CX-5, which it did handily by more than 200,000 units. No, I’m talking about the RAV4 outselling Mazda in its completely. Every little thing Mazda sells. All model sales place together. The RAV4 nearly outsold MAZDA.

Toyota’s fourth-generation crossover has received a nip-tuck to hold it fresh following just three model years on the market place. Its lineup is bolstered this year with the addition of the new RAV4 Hybrid, which we’ll be acquiring our hands on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, let’s take a deep dive into the second very best-promoting CUV in the USA in traditional gas-burner guise.

The RAV4 and Honda CR-V kickstarted the compact crossover craze in the ’90s with unibody cars styled like mini-trucks. More than time, the sector evolved and replaced those rough-and-tumble SUVs with the minivan-esque folks haulers we see these days. To wit: The 2013 Toyota RAV4 decreased ground clearance to six.three inches, ditched the rear tire and squared off its rear to swallow much more cubic feet of stuff.

Dimensions and challenging points for the refreshed 2016 model remain unchanged, and the RAV4 remains one of the longer compact CUVs in the segment at 181.1 inches (close to half a foot longer than the new Hyundai Tucson), but it still does not supply third-row seating like its generational predecessor or the Nissan Rogue.

Numerous automakers adorn their vehicles with frequent corporate styles, and Toyota has resisted that urge — till now. The new front finish borrows cues from the Murai and Prius, and LED headlamps are now optional. While the appear is far more distinctive than the preceding bumper, it is nonetheless not my cup of tea.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-008

Toyota has made no drastic alterations to the RAV4’s innards and has opted to refine the current cabin instead.

Awkward shapes and textures aplenty will distress the OCD crowd, and you’ll nevertheless discover difficult plastics strewn about the RAV4’s cabin. Yet, quality remains high and tougher plastics are generally kept out of reach.

Stitched pleather inserts snazz up the main dashboard considerably like the much more high-priced Toyota Avalon. The previously featured low-rent steering wheel is now restricted to base trims and makes other grades feel far more premium in comparison. But, faux carbon fiber trim located in higher-site visitors places about the cupholder and window switches has a finish that’s far also eager to wear the war wounds of day-to-day service.

The RAV4 refresh does address some complaints I had about the 2014 model. Seats now provide far more bolstering, and a power seat with adjustable lumbar help is now obtainable. Yet these upgraded seats nevertheless can’t be had wrapped in genuine cowhide our limited model utilizes the same SofTex faux-moo that Lexus uses in its base models. Front seats are a small significantly less comfy than those in the Nissan Rogue, but they’re softer and much better suited to my six-foot frame than the average CUV.

Rear legroom and cargo space are exceptional thanks to the RAV4’s overall length. You will find a cargo region that is 33-percent larger in the RAV4 than the segment typical, or roughly the identical size as a Ford Edge or Lexus RX. Folding the rear seats flat increases that volume to 73.4 cubic feet, allowing for storage of 4×6-foot products with the proper amount of juggling.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-002

In a segment exactly where base modes normally receive hand-me-down stereos, Toyota surprises. The LE trim starts with six speakers, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth speakerphone integration, a single-slot CD player, backup camera and full USB/iPod integration with voice commands as common. XLE and SE trims obtain the same screen and quantity of speakers, but a software upgrade to Entune Plus adds HD Radio, smartphone-primarily based navigation, and HD Radio-sourced traffic and weather displays. Limited trim models swap in a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation and smartphone app integration. If you care enough about your tunes to verify an extra option box, there’s an 11-speaker JBL technique with subwoofer in accessible in SE and Restricted grades.

Toyota’s Entune software received important updates back in 2014, and it still compares effectively to GM’s most recent systems with its snappy interface and simple to navigate style. HD Radio downloads traffic and weather data for free, eliminating the need for an XM subscription for these attributes. Toyota has also killed its subscription-primarily based Entune smartphone integrated solutions such as Pandora, OpenTable and Bing. CarPlay and Android Auto integration are suspiciously absent, but you will discover them in the Tucson and new Sportage if the exemption of these by Toyota is a deal breaker.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Engine

Toyota killed off the RAV4’s V6 back 2013, leaving just the 2.5-liter inline-four as the sole powerplant. Toyota’s logic was this: the RAV4’s main competitor is the CR-V and that model is supplied solely as a four cylinder.

Output figures for the 2.5 liter are in line with the competition at 176 horsepower and 172 lbs-ft of torque — however fuel economy figures are middling. You need to expect 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in front-wheel-drive trim, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s two miles-per-gallon behind the CR-V and Tucson Eco.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited Interior-001

Our tester was equipped with the optional $ 1,400 AWD system — and that changed the character of the RAV4 in unexpected techniques.

The method makes use of a multi-plate clutch pack like most crossovers, but Toyota’s software is peculiar in that the driver can totally lock the coupling electronically. It acts like a standard four-wheel-drive system with a locked center differential when driving under 25 mph. You’ll even experience driveline binding if it is engaged on pavement. Go over that 25 mph limit and the lock disengages, allowing a single axle to receive 100 percent of offered engine energy when the other axle is slipping. Even a lot more of a surprise: Engaging sport mode shifts an unexpected amount of power to the rear and tends to make the RAV4 feel more like an all-wheel-drive Audi.

Even though the all-wheel-drive system is an engaging companion, the suspension and steering are far more highway cruiser than corner carver. Our Limited model wore 235/55R18 tires, but its road holding ability was squarely middle of the pack due to its soft suspension manifesting itself with lots of body roll, and a steering rack that was as well overboosted and disengaged for spirited driving.

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior-005

The greatest dynamic challenge for the RAV4 is acceleration. At 3.four seconds to 30 mph and 8.9 seconds to 60, the RAV4 is almost the slowest crossover we’ve tested not too long ago, besting only the base two.-liter Mazda CX-five. The traditional six-speed auto and lack of a turbocharged engine option are the two primary reasons for the lackluster overall performance. The CR-V is only a small a lot more potent, but its CVT helped it run to 60 mph a full second more rapidly than the Toyota. The 25 mpg combined EPA rating and our 24 mpg average have been also notably behind a lot of the competition. On the other hand, the hybrid model will easily return over 30 mpg — making it the most effective — even though also improving acceleration.

Although the Ford, Mazda, Hyundai and even Honda crossovers have become firmer and a lot more “European” over time, Toyota has stuck with a compliant suspension tune. If a lengthy highway trip is in your future, the RAV4 is going to be the most comfy companion by far.

Following the trend of bringing luxury attributes down market place, Toyota now tends to make most of the Lexus feature set optional on the RAV. Our Limited trim had radar adaptive cruise manage, lane maintaining assist, blind spot monitoring, LED headlamps, and an Infiniti-like 360-degree camera method.

2016 Toyota RAV4 LImited Exterior-006

Toyota has a history of playing to the “meat” of each and every segment. Rarely does Toyota build something extreme, be it the least expensive vehicle in its class, the most pricey, quickest, slowest, etc. That describes the RAV4 to a tee. I wasn’t offended following a week with the RAV4 — but neither was I enraptured. Toyota’s trucklet is reasonably priced, ranging from $ 24,350 to $ 35,715, and in most trims represents a decent (but not intense) value compared to the competitors. Yes, the CX-five is a lot more exciting, but the base engine is slower than the Toyota, and the other trims will really price you much more. Hyundai’s new Tucson disappointed me when it came to interior high quality and the way they chose to bundle attributes causes the Toyota to be a much better buy in mid-level trims. The CR-V is quieter, but it is also $ 1,500 to $ two,000 a lot more high-priced.

Oddly sufficient, the RAV4 is a lot more capable than any of these crossovers in mud or snow thanks to the locking center coupling. Although you’ll uncover this feature in some Cherokee models, you will not find a completely locking coupling in the Subaru Forester.

Why are the RAV4’s sales so higher when there are far more fun possibilities out there? The factors can be discovered in its strong value proposition, a soft ride about which journalists typically complain, integrated scheduled maintenance and Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The 2016 RAV4 isn’t going to like several souls on fire, but it provides the typical CUV shopper far more of what they clearly want.

Toyota supplied the automobile, insurance coverage and one particular tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

-30: 3.4 seconds

-60: 8.9 seconds

1/four mile: 16.7 @ 84 mph

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