When Innovations Converge

All-new RAV4 Hybrid promises higher MPG and horsepower when it rolls out this fall
by Dan Miller
Mar/Apr 2015
When Innovations Converge
When Toyota unveiled the RAV4 back in 1994, it initiated a groundswell that has since turned the compact SUVs into the fastest growing segment in the industry. Just five years after that auspicious beginning, Toyota broke ground once again—this time with the first generation Prius and its gas-electric hybrid powertrain. Toyota has sold more than 2.5 million hybrids in the United States alone since.

Now, those two innovations have merged into one with the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid, introduced to the automotive media at the New York International Auto Show in April. This no-compromise compact SUV, the eighth hybrid in Toyota’s product lineup, is expected to generate better fuel economy and more horsepower than its gasoline-powered siblings.

Bird’s Eye View Monitor -- A Bird’s Eye View Monitor option gives the driver a panoramic view of their surroundings. The system integrates cameras mounted on the side mirrors and front and rear of the vehicle with Perimeter Scan—an industry first. Together they deliver a live rotating 360-degree view around the vehicle, helping the driver see objects that could be in the way.

“This is a stunning SUV,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Motor Sales group vice president and Toyota Division general manager at the press conference. “Before today, owners turned to RAV4 looking for a compact vehicle that was versatile, had great utility and met the demands of their active lifestyles. Now customers can add to the list all of the great benefits of a hybrid.”

The RAV4 Hybrid will be offered in two grades (XLE and Limited) and six exterior colors (Super White, Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl and Electric Storm Blue). All models will be equipped with an Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive System with intelligence (AWD-i). It’s powered by an electric motor that delivers instantaneous torque to the rear wheels whenever additional traction is needed.

And there’ll be no mistaking the RAV4 Hybrid’s unique identity, from 17-inch alloy wheels and distinctive badging on the outside to an instrument cluster equipped with a hybrid system monitor on the inside.

New SE Grade
Also new to the RAV4 line is a gas-powered SE grade that blends a sportier exterior with a more refined interior. Fay said this combination is aimed at young active couples looking for a compact SUV “with more attitude.” Key contributors to this persona include:
  • Sport-tuned suspension for a more dynamic driving experience
  • Unique bumper and lower grille design
  • Honeycomb mesh grille
  • 18-inch black alloy sport wheels
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • TFT multi-information display with unique meter cluster and red illumination
  • Choice of black or black/tan interior
  • Unique shifter
  • Smart Key
New Toyota Safety Sense
It also promises to break new ground on the safety front. Building on the foundation of Toyota’s long-running Star Safety System, standard on all models, the 2016 RAV4 will introduce Toyota Safety Sense. This new multi-feature, integrated safety package is anchored by automated pre-collision braking. Technologies such as Pre-Collision System, Forward Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams, Pedestrian Pre-Collision System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control will help address three key areas of accident protection:
  • Preventing or mitigating rear collisions
  • Helping keep the driver within their lane
  • Improving road safety during nighttime driving
Initially, these systems—previously available only on super-luxury models—will be standard on RAV4 Limited. But by the end of 2017, Toyota will systematically introduce Toyota Safety Sense across nearly all U.S. models and trim levels. And, depending on the vehicle, the suggested retail price for the system will be just $300-$550.

“Toyota Safety Sense aims to bring advanced safety technologies to the masses,” said Fay. “It will help protect people in the event of a crash. More importantly, it will help prevent some crashes from ever happening in the first place. Toyota is serious about safety.”
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