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.
Available 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.