2016 Toyota RAV4 review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

Toyota RAV4 highlights

Customer rating


  • Spacious interior for five and their luggage
  • Hybrid joins the lineup in late 2016


  • No V6 option if you want more power
  • Some driver aids are options only on top models

Mileage (EPA estimate)

22 city, 29 highway, 25 combined

Pricing for current inventory

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2016 Toyota RAV4 gets fresh new look, a new midlevel trim, and hybrid

In the fast-paced compact crossover SUV space, you can't rest easy, and it's not surprising Toyota made some changes to keep its popular RAV4 top of mind for buyers. The new styling is most obvious, as the 2016 RAV4 looks much sharper than the somewhat forgettable previous model. Elsewhere the changes aren't so transformative, but the revised interior, slight changes to the trim levels, and retuned suspension all add appeal to the already well-rounded RAV4. For those who seek better fuel efficiency, Toyota has introduced a RAV4 Hybrid. Its combination of electric motors and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder creates not just attractive EPA estimates but energetic performance, too.

The trunk remains one of the most spacious among crossover SUVs, and you access it via a huge roof-hinged tailgate. The low load floor helps when you're transporting large items. Passenger space is good, too, with plenty of space to seat five in comfort. There's still only one engine choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that supplies enough power and EPA-estimated fuel economy to compete with, if not best, rivals. Front- or optional all-wheel drive is offered, and all versions use a six-speed automatic transmission. The familiar trim levels of LE, XLE, and Limited are joined in 2016 by the SE. It slots in between the XLE and Limited and adds a sportier suspension. All the trims come well equipped, but we'd aim at least for the XLE, which comes with alloy wheels, a power tailgate, and dual-zone climate control over the simpler air conditioning of the LE. It's regrettable that the most advanced driver aids remain optional or limited to the top-end models, but in every other way the 2016 RAV4 makes good gains for this year, bolstering its appeal among rivals.

All Toyota RAV4 years

Not sure what year to select? Learn about each Toyota RAV4 generation from 2011 to 2024

What is new for the 2016 Toyota RAV4?

  • The RAV4 is available in a new trim called the SE.
  • RAV4 trims have been upgraded with Blind Spot Monitor, Automated Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Parking Sensors as standard equipment this year.
  • Tow Hitch features are now available as options on select trims.
  • The XLE trim now comes with Power Hatch/Deck Lid as standard equipment.

2016 Toyota RAV4 trims

Curious how Toyota RAV4 trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities


  • Features include rear privacy glass, roof rails, cruise control, automatic limited-slip differential, fabric upholstery backup camera, Entune Audio, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, six-way adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split second-row, and more.

  • View all Toyota RAV4 LEs in stock


  • Adds heated mirrors, power tilt and slide moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, height-adjustable power liftgate with jam protection, Entune Audio Plus, and more. Unlocks the trim-exclusive available Convenience package.

  • View all Toyota RAV4 XLEs in stock


  • Adds 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, LED exterior lighting, heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, steering wheel paddle shifters, rear cross-traffic alert, trim exclusive exterior accent finishing, and more. Unlocks the available Advanced Technology package.

  • View all Toyota RAV4 SEs in stock


  • Adds 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, Front and rear parking sonar, Entune Premium Audio with integrated navigation, adaptive cruise control, driver-seat memory function, seven-inch touchscreen, and more.

  • View all Toyota RAV4 Limiteds in stock

5 reasons to buy the 2016 Toyota RAV4

1. Off-road ability in a small package

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: AWD | CarMax

Available across all trim levels, the dynamic torque-control all-wheel drive of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 offers the opportunity for off-road fun in a compact SUV. If you want confident grip when trekking across wet grass or parking up at that muddy festival, look for a RAV4 with all-wheel drive. The dynamic torque control also enhances handling on the road by distributing engine power to the wheels where it's needed most and managing the braking from side to side for optimal control.

2. Hybrid option

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: Engine | CarMax

By adding electric power to the RAV4's engine, you get a competent hybrid SUV. Not only does it improve fuel economy, but you'll enjoy the 194 net horsepower from this powertrain, too. The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.

You also have the option of intelligent all-wheel drive, which uses an electric motor to deliver instant torque to the rear wheels when you need more traction.

3. Plenty of cargo space

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: Cargo | CarMax

The flexible cargo options in the RAV4 make life easy. The 60/40 split-folding rear seat lets you configure the interior to fit your needs, whether you're carrying passengers, things, or both. With all seats in place, you'll get 38.4 cu-ft of space (35.6 cu-ft on Hybrid models) and a total cargo volume of 73.4 cu-ft (70.6 for Hybrid models) with the rear seats folded.

4. Great features for commuters

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: Dashboard | CarMax

If you commute to work or regularly head out on errands or to see friends, the RAV4 has plenty of features to make those drives a breeze. The cabin is quiet and comfortable so you can enjoy some time just you and your thoughts or you can fire up the Entune premium audio system (available on XLE models, standard on Limited) for a singalong. If music is important to you, look out for the optional 11-speaker JBL® system. On top of all this, you can enjoy standard features such as cruise control, remote keyless entry, and more.

5. Comfort across two rows

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: Backseats | CarMax

It's not just the front seats that provide passenger comfort. All rows of the 2016 RAV4 are designed with comfort in mind. You have everything you need within arm's reach but there are plenty of optional features available if you'd like to upgrade the interior to fit your needs. Look out for the heated front seats, power-adjustable driver's seat, and the SofTex® reclining rear seats on SE models and up.

Similar vehicles

If you're interested in the 2016 Toyota RAV4, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.

Image of Volkswagen Tiguan

A unique crossover that focuses on interior details and comfort, the Volkswagen Tiguan is a five-seat SUV that delivers straightforward luxury. For 2016–2017, all Tiguan models are powered by a 200-hp turbocharged 2.0L engine and are well equipped too, including heated front seats from the base trim upwards.

Without straying too far from the previous model's stylish exterior and performance chops, the 2018–2020 second-generation model has more room for rear passengers and cargo. Being a full 10-inches longer than the previous version means it can now offer an optional third row — perfect for carpooling. You'll also find standard tech such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Standard features of the 2016–2020 Volkswagen Tiguan base trim S include:

  • Color touchscreen

  • USB port

  • Rearview camera

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 is a car that is loved by many customers. They like it's easy to get in and out of, the AC system, and the easy to use features. The car is also spacious and sturdy.

RepairPal gave the Toyota RAV4 an overall reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Toyota RAV4 4th out of 29 among Compact SUVs.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 features and specs

LE 2WD 4D Sport Utility

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cloth Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Entune
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Side Airbags
  • Traction Control
  • Alloy Wheels
  • Cloth Seats
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Full Roof Rack
  • Rear Entertainment System
  • Running Boards
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Tow Hitch

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 42.6"/R 37.2"

Head room

F 39.8"/R 38.9"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity


Max towing capacity

150/1500 lbs.



2016 Toyota RAV4 FAQ

More about the 2016 Toyota RAV4

2016 Toyota RAV4 Review: Top Colors | CarMax

Exterior colors:

  • Barcelona Red Metallic (not available on hybrid models)

  • Black (not available on hybrid models)

  • Black Currant Metallic (not available on hybrid models)

  • Black Sand Pearl (hybrid models only)

  • Black Sand Pearl/Silver Sky Metallic (SE only, additional cost)

  • Blizzard Pearl (additional cost)

  • Classic Silver Metallic (hybrid models only)

  • Electric Storm Blue

  • Electric Storm Blue/Silver Sky Metallic (SE only, additional cost)

  • Hot Lava (not available on hybrid models)

  • Magnetic Gray Metallic

  • Silver Sky Metallic (not available on hybrid models)

  • Super White

  • Super White/Silver Sky Metallic (SE only, additional cost)

Interior colors:

  • Ash

  • Black

  • Black/Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

Interior details

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 interior is comfortable with plenty of cupholders and a comfortable driving position. Base models come with cloth seating and manually adjustable front seats. If you're looking for a little more comfort, SE models and up have SofTex leatherette seats, heated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. The top-tier Limited trim gets additional features such as a leather-trimmed shift lever and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Cargo space is generous with 38.4 cu-ft of space behind the rear seats and a total volume of 73.4 cu-ft. On hybrid models, this drops to 35.6 cu-ft and 70.6 cu-ft respectively. Front seat passengers get 42.6 inches of legroom while rear-seat passengers get 37.2 inches.

Child seat details

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 has two full sets of LATCH restraints (upper tether and lower anchors) in the second-row outboard seats, and an upper tether only, for the rear-row middle seat. Lower anchors are found between the seat upholstery, with upper tethers under the upholstery in the middle of each seatback. Two child seats can fit in the rear, from your choice of booster, infant, or convertible front- and rear-facing seats. An easy win for parents or guardians.


All standard 2016 Toyota RAV4s have a 2.5L four-cylinder engine with 176 horsepower. Hybrid models have a 2.5L hybrid engine with a net output of 194 horsepower. The standard gas engine on LE and XLE trims gets an EPA-estimated 26 combined mpg.

Hybrid models get an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined.
In terms of on-road performance, the RAV4 LE has a zero-to-60 time of 8.3 seconds, according to the manufacturer when new.

All hybrid models have intelligent all-wheel drive while gas-only options have dynamic torque-vectoring AWD as an available option.


According to EPA estimates, the 2016 Toyota RAV4 has these tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions:

  • LE and XLE models with FWD and the 2.5L engine have tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of 338 grams per mile.

  • All other models with FWD and the 2.5L engine have tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of 349 grams per mile.

  • Base models with AWD and the 2.5L engine have tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of 357 grams per mile.

  • SE and Limited models with AWD and the 2.5L engine have tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of 362 grams per mile.

  • All Hybrid models with AWD and the 2.5L gasoline engine with the onboard hybrid system have tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions of 274 grams per mile.

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