Let’s cut to the chase: At 31 mpg in our tests, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has the best fuel economy of any SUV that doesn’t plug in.

In an era of two-buck gas (for however long that lasts), you may feel cavalier about that statistic, but don’t ignore the fact that the entire RAV4 lineup’s midcycle update also boasts an improved ride, a quieter cabin, and slightly updated styling.

Regardless of which version you pick, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 provides a strong blend of fuel efficiency, ride comfort, roominess, and reliability.


Read the complete 2016 Toyota RAV4 road test, and see our newreviews of the 2017 Audi Q72016 BMW X1, and 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC300.
 

The interior of the 2016 Toyota RAV4

HIGHS: Room, ride, access, reliability, Hybrid mpg
LOWS: Seats lack support, daytime running lights easy to cancel, child seats hard to secure
POWERTRAIN:
176-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl.; 6-sp. auto. trans. (XLE)
194-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl. hybrid; CVT; all-wheel drive (Hybrid XLE)
FUEL: 24 mpg (XLE); 31 mpg (Hybrid)
PRICE: $29,014 (XLE); $29,753 (Hybrid)

The base 176-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder provides responsive power and a respectable 24 mpg. The hybrid version of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 feels even punchier accelerating away from a full stop.

Toyota changed the RAV4’s overly firm ride into something more cushy, although at a slight sacrifice of handling precision. Toyota also quieted the din of wind, road, and engine noise that seeps into the cabin.

Front and rear seating are spacious—but inferior seat cushion support meant we emerged from the 2016 Toyota RAV4 needing to perform some “good morning” stretches. Also, a power driver’s seat comes only on expensive SE and Limited trims.

Despite some odd price and equipment matchings, the RAV4 is one of the most reliable small SUVs you can buy. Those upgrades keep it among the top-ranked models in its class. 

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.