2016 Toyota RAV4 FIRST LOOK

2016 Toyota RAV4 FIRST LOOK by Auto Critic Steve Hammes

Though much attention has been paid to the new hybrid variant, the rest of the refreshed 2016 RAV4 lineup deserves its own spotlight, with updated exterior styling, a fresh interior design and a new sport-tuned SE grade.

A bolder looking front fascia can be equipped with full LED lighting while new rocker panels and bumpers provide a more chiseled appearance. New front and rear silver skid plates, new wheel designs and a trifecta of new colors round out the RAV4’s new stance.  Look inside and you’ll find a revised gauge cluster, LED illumination on the center console, a 12V power outlet in the rear and new cup holders for tall mugs with handles and a new holder for sunglasses.

Toyota Safety Sense is here too, anchored by automated pre-collision braking, bundling a bevy of driver assistance systems.  Smart Key, a Homelink garage door opener, front and rear parking sonar and a Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan also join the fray for 2016 with the latter providing driver’s with an easy parallel and perpendicular parking assistant.  Cell phone-based and embedded navigation systems are offered depending on trim level.

2016_Toyota_RAV4_Limited_07_A3969907C14D712343EFD67B1E23DD15443780FAAvailable in front or all-wheel drive, grading starts with the base LE priced from $25,235 and tops out at the Limited with an MSRP of $33,795.  The new SE grade boasts a sport-tuned suspension, 18” wheels and paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic transmission.

There’re also exclusive design touches, special paint choices and a sporty, upscale-themed interior.  All RAV4 models run with a 2.5-liter, 176 horsepower 4-cylinder engine with driver selectable operating modes.

Gas mileage is rated at 26mpg in combined driving.  I tackled a serious off-road course in the new RAV4 and was left impressed with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel drive, with power transfer to the rear wheels now activated as soon as the steering wheel is turned.

An AWD lock button fixes the power split at 50:50 at speeds up to 25mph for confident off-road traction.

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