Toyota’s got another hybrid (we’re not surprised either)

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid teaser
Toyota’s already got plenty of hybrids in its lineup, but it is about to add another.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will debut next week at the 2015 New York Auto Show, providing buyers not satisfied with the carmaker’s numerous other hybrid models another choice.

Toyota has offered hybrid versions of the larger Highlander since the 2006 model year, but the RAV4 hasn’t been treated to an electrified powertrain until now.

Details of that powertrain will be released at the RAV4 Hybrid’s New York debut, but it could borrow from the Lexus NX, which is essentially an upscale version of the RAV4.

The NX 300h hybrid uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission, teamed with two electric motors (one for propulsion, one acting as a generator) and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.

Lexus’ optional all-wheel drive system adds a third electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Total system output with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is 194 horsepower.

The NX’s hybrid system isn’t as aggressive as the one in, say, a Prius, so careful driving is required for any real fuel-economy benefit. It will be interesting to see if the RAV4 Hybrid behaves the same way.

When it arrives in showrooms, the RAV4 Hybrid will not have much direct competition, although there are plenty of other small crossovers that tout fuel efficiency that could prove more attractive to customers who may not want to pay more for a hybrid.

Aside from the new model, no other major changes are expected for the RAV4, which was last redesigned for 2012. The name stands for “Recreational Activity Vehicle with 4-wheel drive,” in case you’re in need of trivia.

Toyota has said it will eventually offer a hybrid version of every model it makes, and with the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid, it will be able to check one more off the list.

Check back next week for full details on the RAV4 Hybrid and everything else from the 2015 New York Auto Show.


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